|Judgments - Westminster City Council v National Asylum Support Service
HOUSE OF LORDS
Lord Steyn Lord Slynn of Hadley Lord Hoffmann Lord Millett Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
OPINIONS OF THE LORDS OF APPEAL FOR JUDGMENT
IN THE CAUSE
WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCIL
NATIONAL ASYLUM SUPPORT SERVICE
ON 17 OCTOBER 2002
[2002[ UKHL 38
Again, there is no need to establish an ambiguity before taking into account the objective circumstances to which the language relates. Applied to the subject under consideration the result is as follows. Insofar as the Explanatory Notes cast light on the objective setting or contextual scene of the statute, and the mischief at which it is aimed, such materials are therefore always admissible aids to construction. They may be admitted for what logical value they have. Used for this purpose Explanatory Notes will sometimes be more informative and valuable than reports of the Law Commission or advisory committees, Government green or white papers, and the like. After all, the connection of Explanatory Notes with the shape of the proposed legislation is closer than pre-parliamentary aids which in principle are already treated as admissible: see Cross, Statutory Interpretation, 3rd ed (1995), pp 160-161. If used for this purpose the recent reservations in dicta in the House of Lords about the use of Hansard materials in aid of construction are not engaged: see R v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Ex p Spath Holme Ltd  2 AC 349, 407; Robinson v Secretary of State for Northern Ireland  UKHL 32, The Times, 26 July 2002, in particular per Lord Hoffmann, at paragraph 40. On this basis the constitutional arguments which I put forward extra-judicially are also not engaged: "Pepper v Hart: A Re-examination" (2001) 21 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 59.
LORD SLYNN OF HADLEY
The Secretary of State gave a general direction that local authorities should make arrangements for persons ordinarily resident in their areas or in urgent need to be provided with care and attention. The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, section 9, provided that housing accommodation under the Housing Act 1985 should not be provided for persons subject to immigration control unless they were of a class specified in an order of the Secretary of State and the orders made did not include asylum seekers who claimed asylum after entry into the United Kingdom. By the Housing Act 1996 a person subject to immigration control is also declared to be ineligible for housing assistance unless otherwise provided in Regulations made by the Secretary of State.
(a) because he is destitute; or
Despite the arguments that Parliament must, in the interests of fairness to local authorities have wished to lay down that all provision of accommodation should be for the national authorities and despite the terms of section 95 it seems to me that the present question is concluded by this provision. However difficult it may be in particular cases to decide whether the need for care and attention has arisen "solely" because the person is destitute or because of the physical effects or anticipated physical effects of destitution, it seems that it has to be accepted that Parliament intended this distinction. The word "solely" can lead to no other conclusion.
LORD RODGER OF EARLSFERRY