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Legislation Talking Points
Talking Point 2 (14 Mar 2006)
2. New doctrine of Executive Estoppel
In an article
published on 11 March 2006, Francis Bennion
suggests that a new legal doctrine has emerged, which he calls ‘executive estoppel’.
Under this the executive (that is the Government) is in law prevented from going back
on an assurance as to
its future conduct given in relation to a future Act of Parliament.
‘ This doctrine obviously allows reference to Hansard to be made by the court in order
to establish that the commitment in question was given. The courts need to distinguish
carefully between the giving of such an assurance and the existence of ambiguity or obscurity
in the wording of the enactment.’
Talking Point 1 (12 Jan 06) Deeming
1. How far does deeming go?
In Szoma v Secretary of State for the Department
of Work and Pensions  UKHL 64,  1 All ER 1, at , Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
said ‘. . . it would in my judgment be quite wrong to carry the fiction beyond its originally
intended purpose so as to deem a person in fact lawfully here not to be here at all. “The
intention of a deeming provision, in laying down a hypothesis, is that the hypothesis shall
be carried so far as necessary to achieve the legislative purpose, but no further” – the
effect of the authorities as summarised by Bennion STATUTORY INTERPRETATION (4th edn,
2002), p 815 (section 304)’.