Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for the Civil Service

[1984] 3 All ER 935 (1984)

From our private database of 46,100+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for the Civil Service

United Kingdom House of Lords
[1984] 3 All ER 935 (1984)

KS

Facts

In the United Kingdom, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was a public-service entity charged with securing military and official communication. The staff of the GCHQ worked with secret information of vital importance to the national security of the United Kingdom. The prime minister was ex officio the minister of civil service. Since 1947, the staff of GCHQ had been allowed to join national trade unions. Between February 1979 and April 1981, GCHQ staff participated in industrial action that significantly disrupted the agency’s operations and caused a near shutdown of the office. In 1984 and in response to the earlier labor problems, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (defendant) issued an order in council (the order) prohibiting GCHQ staff from membership in national trade unions. The order was an act of royal prerogative made by the prime minister. The council of civil service unions (the unions) (plaintiff) sought judicial review of the order, arguing that to issue such a mandate without consulting the impacted parties was unfair and procedurally invalid. The trial court held that the order was procedurally insufficient because the prime minister failed to consult with the impacted employees before issuing the prohibition. The prime minister appealed. The court of appeal reversed. The unions appealed to the House of Lords, which served as the court of last resort at the time of the decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fraser, J.)

Concurrence (Diplock, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 747,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 747,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 46,100 briefs, keyed to 987 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 747,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 46,100 briefs - keyed to 987 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership