Constitutional Principles

April 14th, 2022 by James Goudie KC

In Somerset County Council v NHS Somerset (2022) EWFC 31 the President of the Family Division reiterates two fundamental principles of constitutional law : –

  1. A Court Order is valid and enforceable unless and until a Court sets it aside or varies it. There is a fundamental rule of law that there is a legal duty to obey it. It is binding as between the parties. See para 24.
  2. Any unlawfulness by a first actor may invalidate their own act, but it will not directly invalidate the act of a second actor. A second actor unaware of the invalidity can rely on the first act being a fact and an assumption that the first act is valid. An unlawful and null and void administrative act may nonetheless have legal effects. See para 27.

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