Elon Musk is ready to ditch Donald Trump over Paris Agreement pull-out

Today at 3pm Eastern Time, Donald Trump will announce whether he intends to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Agreement or stay the course on climate change.

While breaking the Agreement would undoubtedly please some of Trump’s base, it wouldn’t endear him to one of the highest-profile members of his business advisory council and his manufacturing jobs initiative: Elon Musk.

Yesterday, in an exchange on Twitter, Musk was asked what would happen if Trump opted to renege on the climate deal, and his response was crystal clear:

If Musk were to abandon the two councils, it wouldn’t be surprising. Much of his current work centers on green-focused technology like zero-emission cars (Tesla) and cheaper, more attractive renewable energy options for consumers (Solar City). In the process, he’s become a leading advocate for pro-environmental policies worldwide.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that if Trump were to back out of the Paris Agreement, it wouldn’t just be a blow to Musk’s sense of morality. It could also hurt his companies’ bottom lines.

After all, if the U.S. says that it’s no longer committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there will be less pressure for agencies, states, cities, and companies to implement emissions-free targets. In Musk’s case, that could keep cars with internal combustion engines rolling off assembly lines far longer than many analysts currently predict.

It could also reduce interest in solar power–not only because consumers might fail to see the value of installing solar systems, but also because subsidies for those systems could become less of a priority with elected officials. Without those subsidies, interest could evaporate.

Our take

The Paris Agreement is far from perfect. Many climate change skeptics have insisted that it will hurt the economy. Environmental activists, on the other hand, complain that the deal lacks teeth, because it allows signatory countries to set their own plans and goals, and there are no penalties for non-compliance. As such, the Paris Agreement doesn’t carry the weight of law, and in the U.S., it’s considered “an executive agreement rather than a treaty.”

That said, for a president who’s having significant problems with his approval rating–even among his base–ditching a climate change agreement seems like a curious move. A recent Gallup poll shows that half of all Americans are deeply concerned about the problems caused by climate change. Another 31 percent believe that, while some of the scenarios painted by scientists seem exaggerated, climate change is a legitimate issue to be addressed. Only 19 percent of respondents refused to believe that it was a problem.

It’s also worth noting that much of Trump’s business advisory council is investing in renewable energy and climate change mitigation policies. If the president backs out of the Paris Agreement, he could see more empty chairs at the next meeting.

Frankly, we’re a little surprised that Musk has stuck around as long as he has. Plenty of his peers (Uber’s Travis Kalanick chief among them) have taken a lot of heat for participating on Trump’s business council.

So far, Musk has been largely insulated from that kind of criticism, but reneging on a climate change deal would seem like a dealbreaker–not just because it might offend Musk’s personal beliefs, but also because it could hurt his companies’ chances for future success.

Policing and Freedom of Assembly

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The police have extensive legislative and common law powers to regulate demonstrative assemblies and processions in English law.
It is through this prism, and a series of significant judicial rulings, that an attempt will be made to evaluate the degree to which English law achieves the correct balance between the affirmative rights in Articles 10(1) and 11(1), the general public interest and the qualifications defined in Articles 10(2) and 11(2) which indicate the circumstances in which the rights of protestors may be legitimately restricted, namely that such restrictions must be prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society for the series of purposes specified in Article 11(2).
Elliott and Thomas highlight that Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights may be viewed as an extension of Article 10, as: ‘facilitating effective forms of public protest…provides a practical means’ by which freedom of expression can be collectively demonstrated and more widely disseminated to the larger community. Lord Bingham in the ‘The Rule of Law’, regards Article 11 as the ‘corollary’ of Articles 8, 9 and 10: ‘we have freedom to be ourselves, to think what we like, to say what we like: we can associate with anyone willing to associate with us’

This is of greater significance since the Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated Convention rights into domestic law, and with them the duty of both the police and the courts as public authorities to act compatibly with the Convention in the exercise of their duties, and which enshrined in English law for the first time a positive obligation on the State to facilitate Convention articles , the traditional Diceyan approach being a negative liberty to do anything not proscribed by law.
The Public Order Act 1984 (POA) enshrined in statute a series of public order offences previously covered by the common law including in Sections 1-3 riot, violent disorder and affray and under Sections 12 and 14, powers to regulate moving ‘processions and static ‘assemblies’ that the police believe may result in serious disorder.
Police powers under the POA 1986 include the requirements for advance notice of demonstrations if reasonably practicable and powers to direct the route of processions, if they believe such processions will result in serious public disorder, serious damage to property , serious disruption to the life of the community, or that the organisers have a purpose of intimidation. In exigent circumstances, a ban can be obtained if the senior police officer believes that the powers to impose conditions under s.12 will be insufficient to prevent serious public disorder, an imposition that requires the consent of the Home Secretary although significantly, the power to proscribe a procession is subject to judicial review under Section 31 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 and Part 54 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

In addition, s. 14A of the POA empowers the police to proscribe ‘trespassory’ assemblies, protests held or impinging on private land. An order under s.14A can be used to extend civil liability into a criminal offence where trespass by protestors may be viewed as causing the serious disruption listed under s.12, or may cause damage to buildings or structures as illustrated by the ruling in DPP v Jones (Margaret) [1999] 2 AC 240, [1999] 2 WLR 625, HL.

However, it is in relation to police powers under the breach of the peace doctrine, that there exists considerable controversy and concern about an adequate balance being achieved. Some commentators argue that an over-reliance on this Common law principle, operated largely at the discretion or personal judgment of police officers in order to legally intervene at public protests, has undermined legitimate adherence to legislative provisions , where the scope and limits of police powers have been subject to democratic parliamentary scrutiny and debate before enactment.
While breach of the peace is not a crime, the ruling in R v Howell [1982] QB 416 at 426, [1981] 3 All ER 383 at 389, CA, per Watkins LJ provided the definitive set of circumstances that encapsulate the doctrine’s scope.
Breach of the peace gives rise to two consequences, police powers to arrest, or irrespective of arrest, the police can apply for the power to have an individual to be: ‘bound over to be of good behaviour and to keep the peace’ under the Justices of the Peace Act 1361 as amended by the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 s.115.
The ECtHR ruling in Hashman and Harrup v United Kingdom (2000) 29 EHRR 241 examined the compatibility of ‘binding over orders’ with Article 5 right to liberty and Article 10.
In Beatty v Gillbanks (1882) 9 QB 308 members of a march could not be ‘bound over’ despite the potential of liability of attack by other parties, a ruling effectively reversed by Percy v Director of Public Prosecutions [1995] 3 All ER 124 which determined that lawful conduct could constitute breach of the peace if words spoken could provoke a real risk of provoking third party violence.

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Two recent contrasting rulings by the House of Lords demonstrate the courts sometimes divergent attitudes to police application of the doctrine.
In R (on the application of Laporte) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary [2006] UKHL 55, [2007] 2 All ER 529, the House considered the legality of a police decision to stop and search a coach full of protestors before it reached an air base, and order its direct uninterrupted return to London effectively detaining the protestors.
The decision was based on a police judgment that a breach of the peace would become imminent if the coach was allowed to continue to its destination as the police believed some of the protestors belonged to groups associated with causing civil disorder.
The Lords in Laporte examined the full scope of rights under Articles 5, 10 and 11 in relation to the ‘prescribed by law’ qualification and tested both the issue of ‘proportionality’ and the Conventions granting of a ‘margin of appreciation’ to individual States.
The Lords found that the claimant’s exercise of her Article 10(1) and 11(1) rights could not be restricted because of the potential conduct of other protestors, and the police intervention was found; not to be prescribed by law, disproportionate, not necessary in a democratic society, and that the breach of the peace doctrine must be confined to ‘actual violence’ and that this violence must be ‘about to happen’ .
In Austin v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [2009] UKHL 5, [2009] 3 All ER 455, the ruling was in complete contrast with regards the use of ‘ kettling’ by the police during mass demonstrations in Central London, an action undertaken to prevent an ‘imminent’ breach of the peace.

The ‘kettling’ tactic, which has been used subsequently involves the police forming a rigid cordon detaining protestors and passers-by for multiple hours, often in inclement weather without access to food, water or toilet facilities.
While there had been disorder, the claimant in Austin asked to be released but was refused on the grounds that some protestors were threatening a breach of the peace. The controversial ruling by the Lords in Austin held that ‘kettling’ can be justified under Article 5, lawful deprivation of liberty and at common law, where the police reasonably believe that confinement of protestors in one location without arrest is necessary to preserve the peace.
Laporte and Austin demonstrate that the Superior Courts rulings can vary considerably in terms of the judicial margin of appreciation granted to discretionary police Common law powers. Helen Fenwick commenting from one perspective has described the ruling in Austin as a ‘familiar tendency to defer heavily to police decision-making on the ground’ ,and that in Laporte: ‘Common law standards were subjected to the demands of proportionality and their application found wanting.’

It is clear that the issue is both political and objective.
In legislative terms, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 has provoked much public debate, specifically Sections 132 to 138, which allow highly restrictive additional police powers in relation to regulating protests in the vicinity of Parliament which some critics view as failing to achieve the requisite balance.
Lord Hope in assessing the Article 5 implications of ‘kettling’ in Austin referred to the ECtHR ruling in N v United Kingdom (2008) 47 EHRR 39 in which the Strasbourg Court reaffirmed the fact that underpinning the entire Convention is a search for the optimum fair balance between the general interest of the community as a whole and the protection of fundamental individual rights.
As Elliot and Thomas highlight, the competing interests in relation to Articles 11 and 10 are more complex than between individual rights and the public interest, they are ‘multidimensional’ and include:
‘…the rights and interests of the protestors themselves, those of counter-protestors…those living and working nearby…and wider society…for example, the demands placed on the public purse by policing protests and the economic loss caused by the disruption occasioned by protests.’
When faced with these disparate factors, as stated in W201 Manual 2, p. 93, The police are ‘interfering with Convention rights whichever choice they make’.
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Bingham, T. (2010) The Rule of Law, Penguin Books, London.
Elliott, M. and Thomas, R. (2014) Public Law (Second Edition), Oxford University Press, United Kingdom.
Hutton, S. and Tayleur, T. (2015) Open University W201 Law: the individual and the state Manuals 1 and 2 (Third Edition2), The University of Law, Guildford, United Kingdom.
Thompson, B. and Gordon, M. (2014) Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law (11th Edition), Oxford University Press, United Kingdom.

Halsbury’s Laws of England – CONFIDENCE AND INFORMATIONAL PRIVACY (VOLUME 19 (2011)) – 1. CONFIDENCE – (4) SPECIFIC CATEGORIES OF CONFIDENTIAL RELATIONSHIP – (ii) Personal Confidences – 26. Public figures. (Accessed 30 November 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS (VOLUME 88A (2013)) – 4. THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS – (7) RIGHT TO RESPECT FOR PRIVATE LIFE – (iii) Interference with the Protected Right (Accessed 2 December 2015)

Halsbury’s Laws of England – RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS (VOLUME 88A (2013)) – 1. ORIGINS OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS – (2) RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS DEFINED – 12. ‘Absolute’ and ‘qualified’ rights, and competing rights. (Accessed 3 December 2015)

Halsbury’s Laws of England – TORT (VOLUME 97 (2015)) – 4. TORTS TO REPUTATION AND PRIVACY – (2) INVASION OF PRIVACY – 562. Tort of disclosing private information without lawful authority. (Accessed 4 December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS (VOLUME 9 (2012) PARAS 1–704; VOLUME 10 (2012) PARAS 705–1336) – 4. FAMILY PROCEEDINGS – (5) INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN IN CERTAIN PROCEEDINGS – 270. Privacy for children in proceedings. (Accessed 4 December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – CONFIDENCE AND INFORMATIONAL PRIVACY (VOLUME 19 (2011)) – 1. CONFIDENCE – (7) BREACH OF CONFIDENCE – (i) Breach of Obligation of Confidence > 68. Breach of confidence. (Accessed 6 December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – CRIMINAL LAW (VOLUME 25 (2010), PARAS 1–426; VOLUME 26 (2010), PARAS 427–792) – 6. PUBLIC ORDER OFFENCES – (7) PUBLIC MEETINGS – 539. Disturbances at public meetings. (Accessed 12th December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – CONSTITUTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW (VOLUME 20 (2014)) – 4. THE EXECUTIVE – (1) LEGAL STATUS AND POWERS OF THE EXECUTIVE – (iv) The Royal Prerogative – A. THE PREROGATIVE; IN GENERAL – 168. Relations of prerogative to common law and statute. (Accessed 12th December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – POLICE AND INVESTIGATORY POWERS (VOLUME 84 (2013), PARAS 1–431; VOLUME 84A (2013), PARAS 432–800) – 8. ARREST, DETENTION, ENTRY, SEARCH AND SEIZURE – (4) ARREST AND DETENTION – (iii) Arrest – B. ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT – 493. Common law power of arrest to deal with or prevent breaches of the peace. (Accessed 14th December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS (VOLUME 88A (2013)) – 4. THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS – (11) FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY – (iii) Interference with the Protected Right – A. CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE MAY BE RESTRICTED – 451. Prevention of crime and disorder. (Accessed 14th December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – CRIMINAL LAW (VOLUME 25 (2010), PARAS 1–426; VOLUME 26 (2010), PARAS 427–792) – 6. PUBLIC ORDER OFFENCES – (6) PROCESSIONS AND ASSEMBLIES – 536. Trespassory assemblies. (Accessed 15th December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England – RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS (VOLUME 88A (2013)) – 4. THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS – (11) FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY – (i) Domestic and International Context – 436. Freedom of assembly under the European Convention on Human Rights. (Accessed 20th December 2015)
Halsbury’s Laws of England > HIGHWAYS, STREETS AND BRIDGES (VOLUME 55 (2012)) > 5. PUBLIC RIGHTS OVER HIGHWAY LAND > (1) PUBLIC RIGHT OF PASSAGE > 200. Extent of right. (Accessed 21st December 2015)

Fenwick, H. ‘Marginalising Human Rights: breach of the peace, ‘kettling’, the Human Rights Act and public protest’ (2009), Oct, Public Law, pp. 737-765. (Accessed 12th December 2015)
Moreham, N.A., ‘Privacy in the Common Law: A Doctrinal and Theoretical Analysis’ (2015), Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Papers, Paper No. 112/2015, Volume 5 Issue No. 24. (Accessed 20th December 2015)
‘Demonstrating respect for rights? A human rights approach to policing protest’ (2009) House of Lords / House of Commons: Joint Committee on Human Rights, Seventh Report of Session 2008-09 Volume 1, HL Paper 47-1 HC 320-1, 23rd March 2009. (Accessed 24th December 2015)
MEAD, D. ‘The Right to Peaceful Protest under the European Convention on Human Rights – A Content Study of Strasbourg Case Law’ (2007) European Human Rights Law Review, 2007 (4) pp. 345-384 (Accessed 28th December 2015)

The rules of statutory interpretation

Lord Donaldson MR’s statement in Corocraft Ltd v Pan-American Airways [1968] 2 All ER 1059 at 1071, HL provides a concise exposition of statutory interpretation:

“The duty of the courts is to ascertain and give effect to the will of Parliament as expressed in its enactment. In the performance of this duty the judges do not act as computers into which are fed the statutes and the rules for the construction of statutes and from whom issue forth the mathematically correct answer. The interpretation of statutes is a craft as much as a science and the judges, as craftsmen, select and apply the appropriate tools of their trade. They are not legislators, but finishers, refiners and polishers of legislation which comes to them in a state requiring varying degrees of further processing.” 

It defines the clearly distinct roles of Parliament and the courts. Statute may be novel, consolidated or codified in nature, public or private in scope. The English courts role is integral to Parliamentary enactment because legislation in its statutory form is essentially latent requiring courts to implement rules of interpretation to refine, activate and determine a statutes practical application in law.

The rules of construction are principles adopted by the judiciary in addressing three key challenges to cogent interpretation.

These are (1) the inherent uncertainty of language as a communication tool (2) the dichotomy presented by the legislative drafting process and (3) preserving judicial autonomy in observing the declaratory theory of law. The last challenge, the separation of powers and maintaining Parliamentary Sovereignty, is a key theme of Dominic Grieves 2012 speech.

Prior to examining the rules of interpretation, it is important to establish that as Lord Reid highlighted these “are not rules in the ordinary sense of having some binding force” Maunsell v Olins [1974] 3 WLR 835 at 837, HL. They are guidelines or conventions adopted by judges and are typically set out in the following sequence: literal, golden, mischief (Rules of Construction) and the purposive approach.

The former Attorney General clearly propagates the literal or plain meaning rule as the essential starting point for interpretation. He qualifies this with a caveat: only the presence of ‘genuine ambiguity and uncertainty’ may necessitate departing from this rule and implementing ‘extraneous material’.

‘Ambiguity and uncertainty’ are in fact a certainty in addressing with the first two challenges. Language is by nature imprecise and ambiguous and the drafting of legislation is dichotomous; “the need for generality can only really be achieved at the expense of clarity and precision of language” (Slapper and Kelly, The English Legal System (2013), p96).

‘Extraneous material’ is here an unqualified generality, however this could encompass (1) the alternative rules of interpretation, (2) the 3 rules of language used to help qualify legislative terminology, (3) the intrinsic aids to interpretation which enable the entire statutory structure to be considered (4) extrinsic aids which after the ruling in Pepper v Hart [1993] AC 593, [1993] 1 All ER 42 permitted reference to Hansard and other evidential material  and (5) the judicial presumptions protecting against alteration of the common law, the retrospective operation of statutes and preserving court jurisdiction.

The literal rule guides courts to consider specifically the statutory text and not to ascribe their own meaning to that text. The principle here is that “the words selected by Parliament to express its intention in passing the legislation were exactly what it wanted to express.” (Slapper, G, How the Law Works (2007), p.160)

However, as stated, language is by its nature imprecise and equivocal. The instances where application of the literal rule to ambiguously worded legislation, result in an outcome clearly contrary to parliamentary intention and counter to the interests of justice and reason are multiple and well documented. Fisher v Bell [1961] 1 QB 394[1960] 3 All ER 731  demonstrates how the limitations of the literal rule necessitate an alternative.

The golden rule is considered an extension of the literal rule. This rule again qualifies that the words and provisions of the statute should be assigned their ordinary meaning, unless this interpretation leads to what Lord Blackburn in The River Wear Commissioners v. Adamson and Others (1876) 1 Q.B.D. 546 described as “an inconsistency, or an absurdity or inconvenience”. The ‘narrow’ application of the golden rule operates to ensure that preference is given to the definition of ambiguous terminology that avoids an ‘absurd’ outcome, as demonstrated in Adler v George [1964] 2 QB 7,[1964] 1 All ER 628. The ‘wider’ application of the golden rule operates when there is only one clear meaning of a legislative provision, but the literal interpretation of that provision would lead to a legal anomaly contrary to the public interest Sigsworth, Re, Bedford v Bedford [1935] Ch 89, [1934] All ER Rep 113

The mischief rule and the purposive approach can be considered together as they each attempt to ascertain fundamental legislative intent.

The mischief rule directs judicial focus retrospectively to determine the root defect or ‘mischief’ within the common law which the legislation under consideration attempts to remedy, a primary purpose of early legislation being to supplement provisions in the common law. The staged process for identifying and correcting common law defects by statutory interpretation was first established in Heydon’s Case (1584) 3 Co Rep 7a. The rule was applied definitively by the High Court in Corkery v Carpenter [1951] 1 KB 102, [1950] 2 All ER 745 and more recently in a high profile case before the Supreme Court in R (on the application of the Electoral Commission) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and another [2010] UKSC 40, [2011] 1 All ER 1.

More recently, legislation has become the major source of law and its purpose is considerably broader in scope, addressing positively legal, social and technological advances. Courts may be said to be adopting a ‘purposive approach’ when interpreting legislation to fulfil these criteria.

The purposive approach directs judicial focus prospectively. In ascertaining the statutes fundamental purpose, its potential to address challenges not initially envisaged by the legislature can be achieved. The freedom afforded to alter the actual text of restrictions imposed by strict literal interpretation was highlighted by Lord Griffiths in Pepper v Hart [1993] 1 All ER 42 at 50, HL

The foundation of the purposive approach lies in European civil law tradition, and the legal principles deduced from the codified body of rules that constitute European law. Consequentially, this approach adopted by English courts can ensure domestic legislation is interpreted and effected consistently with the principles of EU law, and in compatibility with the European Convention rights incorporated into English law by the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998. This is clearly demonstrated in Pickstone v Freemans plc [1989] AC 66[1988] 2 All ER 803, HL.

Purposive interpretation might appear as an interpretative panacea, however, Lord Scarman in Shah v Barnet London Borough Council [1983] 2 AC 309, [1983] 1 All ER 226 at 238, HL cautioned that “Judges may not interpret statutes in the light of their own views as to policy“

Therefore a purposive reading of the legislative text must be qualified by the two distinct criteria established by Lord Wilberforce in Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom v Department of Health and Social Security [1981] AC 800 at [822], [1981] 1 All ER 545, HL.

While Lord Denning advocated that “filling in the gaps” in “making sense of the enactment” was an interpretative prerequisite justifying purposive reading of statute in Magor and St Mellons RDC v Newport Corporation [1950] 2 All ER 1226 at 1236, this viewpoint was received critically by the House of Lords, Lord Simonds articulating on review of this case ([1952] A.C. 189 [1951] 2 All ER 839 at 841) that Lord Dennings proposal represented a “usurpation of the judicial function”.

In promoting the literal rule as being an interpretative necessity, Grieve seems to consciously paraphrase Tindal C.J.s’ exposition of this rule in the Sussex Peerage Case (1844) 11 Cl & Fin 85 at 143, HL. However Grieves’ proposition has an inconsistent duality, while theoretically logical it is potentially professionally regressive.  It appears to marginalise the alternative rules and aids which have proven essential to interpretation, in particular the ascendancy of purposive reading. This viewpoint alongside concerns his speech highlight about the increasing influence of EU law and the ‘macro-political’ implications of the HRA 1998 appear as partisan rather than legal analysis.

The post of Attorney General, a political appointment should not empower Grieve with the authority to pre-determine judicial protocol. In statutory interpretation, there is no correct rule or correct hierarchical application of rules and aids. This fact is cogently stated by Evans L.J. in R v Fellows; R v Arnold [1997] 1 Cr App Rep 244, [1997] 2 All ER 548 at 554:

“Whilst the court’s decision in a particular case may indicate what can be described as a ‘purposive’ as distinct from a ‘literal’ approach, it would be wrong in our view to say that one or other of these two methods should be pre-determined or is correct.”



Adler v George [1964] 2 QB 7, [1964] 2 WLR 542, [1964] 1 All ER 628

Corkery v Carpenter [1951] 1 KB 102, [1950] 2 All ER 745, 48 LGR 648

Corocraft Ltd and Another v Pan American Airways Inc [1969] 1 QB 616, [1969] 1 All ER 82, HL

Duport Steels Ltd and others v Sirs and others [1980] 1 All ER 529 at 541, HL, [1980] 1 WLR 142

Fisher v Bell [1961] 1 QB 394[1960] 3 All ER 731

Heydon’s Case (1584) 3 Co Rep 7a

Magor and St Mellons Rural District Council v Newport Corporation [1952] AC 189, [1951] 2 All ER 839, 115 JP 613, [1951] 2 TLR 935

Maunsell v Olins [1975] AC 373 at 389[1975] 1 All ER 16 at 24, HL

Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) Respondent v Hart Appellant [1993] A.C. 593, [1993] 1 All ER 42 at 50, HL

Pickstone v Freemans plc [1989] AC 66[1988] 2 All ER 803, HL

The River Wear Commissioners v. Adamson and Others (1876) 1 Q.B.D. 546

R (on the application of the Electoral Commission) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and another [2010] UKSC 40, [2011] 1 AC 496, [2011] 1 All ER 1

R v Fellows; R v Arnold [1997] 1 Cr App Rep 244, [1997] Crim LR 524, [1997] 2 All ER 548

R (on the application of Quintavalle) v Secretary of State for Health [2003] UKHL 13,[2003] 2 AC 687,[2003] 2 All ER 113

Shah v Barnet London Borough Council and other appeals [1983] 2 AC 309, [1983] 1 All ER 226, HL

Sigsworth, Re, Bedford v Bedford [1935] Ch 89, 104 LJ Ch 46, [1934] All ER Rep 113

Smith v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and another [2006] UKHL 35, [2006] 3 All ER 907 at [33], [2006] 1 WLR 2024

Sussex Peerage Case (1844) 11 Cl & Fin 85 at 143, HL



Manchester, C. and Salter, D. (2011) Manchester and Salter on Exploring the Law: The Dynamics of Precedent and Statutory Interpretation, Sweet and Maxwell, London

Open University (2014) W200 Understanding law Manual 1, Units 1 – 7 (3rd Edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford

Slapper, G. and Kelly, D. (2013) The English Legal System, (14th edition), Routledge, Oxon

Elliot, C. and Quinn, F. (1998) English Legal System (Second Edition), Addison Wesley Longman Ltd, Essex, England

Slapper, G. (2007) How the Law Works, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London

A Pop-Art Skyscraper

Centre Point is a building in Central London, comprising a 33-storey tower; a 9-storey block to the east including shops, offices, retail units and maisonettes; and a linking block between the two at first-floor level.[1] It occupies 101–103 New Oxford Street and 5–24 St Giles High Street, WC1, with a frontage also to Charing Cross Road,[1] close to St Giles Circus and almost directly above Tottenham Court Road tube station. The site was once occupied by a gallows.[2]

The building is 117 m (385 ft) high, has 34 floors[3] and 27,180 m2 (292,563 sq ft) of floor space. Constructed from 1963 to 1966, it was one of the first skyscrapers in London and as of 2009 is the city’s joint 27th tallest building.[4] It stood empty from its completion until 1975,[5] and was briefly occupied by housing activists in 1974. Since 1995 it has been a Grade II listed building.[6] In 2015 it was converted from office space to luxury flats

The building was designed by George Marsh of the architects R. Seifert and Partners,[5][8][9] with engineers Pell Frischmann and was constructed by Wimpey Construction from 1963 to 1966.[10][1] for £5.5 million.[11]The precast segments were formed of fine concrete utilising crushed Portland Stone and were made by Portcrete Limited at Portland, Isle of Portland, Dorset. They were transported to London by lorry.[12]

Centre Point was built as speculative office space by property tycoon Harry Hyams, who had leased the site at £18,500 a year for 150 years. Hyams intended that the whole building be occupied by a single tenant, and negotiated fiercely for its approval; he was eventually approved to build 32 floors in return for providing a new road junction between St. Giles Circus, Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, which the LCC could not afford to build on its own.


On completion, the building remained vacant for many years, leading to its being referred to as “London’s Empty Skyscraper”.[13] With property prices rising and most business tenancies taken for set periods of 10 or 15 years, Hyams could afford to keep it empty and wait for his single tenant at the asking price of £1,250,000; he was challenged to allow tenants to rent single floors but consistently refused. At that point, skyscrapers were rare in London, and Centre Point’s prominence led to its becoming a rallying symbol for opponents.[13] Some campaigners demanded that the government of Edward Heath intervene and take over the building, and at one point in June 1972 Peter Walker (then Secretary of State for the Environment) offered £5 million for the building.[citation needed] Eventually, Hyams agreed to lease the building by floors but the arrangements were stalled.


In 1974 an umbrella group of Direct Action housing campaigners, including Jim Radford, Ron Bailey and Jack Dromey, organised a weekend occupation of Centre Point from 18 January to 20 January to draw attention to its being deliberately left empty during a housing crisis in London. (Two of the occupiers had obtained jobs with the Burns Security Company, who were guarding the building.)[14] The publicity around the occupation increased the political pressure on the government and local authorities to press for the development to be occupied and used.[citation needed] The housing charity Centrepoint had been formed five years earlier, and was named for the fact that its first night shelter was at the centre of the Soho parish, but after the occupation, the coincidence of its name with the building led to it being associated with the building as a symbol of the plight of the homeless.

From July 1980 to March 2014, Centre Point was the headquarters of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI); at 33 years and seven months, they became the longest-standing tenant.[4

In October 2005, Centre Point was bought from the previous owners, Blackmoor LP, by commercial property firm Targetfollow for £85 million.[3] The building was extensively refurbished. It has since been purchased byAlmacantar, who have received planning permission to further refurbish the building to plans by Rick Mather Architects.[11] As of 2009 occupants included US talent agency William Morris; the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia, Aramco; Chinese oil company Petrochina; and electronic gaming company EA Games.[4]

In 2015 work began on conversion of the building to residential flats