Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 13th May 1996.
Ministers (Unlawful Actions)
Mr. Beith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the occasions on which Government Ministers have had their actions declared unlawful since 1973 in (a) United Kingdom courts, (b) the European Court of Human Rights and (c) the European Court of Justice.
The Attorney-General: I have been asked to reply.
As regards cases in the United Kingdom and in the European Court of Justice, the information requested by the hon. Member is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. In any event, most actions in the European Court of Justice are either references from national courts, in which the European Court of Justice does not declare actions to be unlawful, or infraction proceedings commenced by the Commission, where the case is against the United Kingdom and in practice it rarely, if ever, happens that action taken by a particular Government Minister is in issue. As regards the European Court on Human Rights, proceedings are against the United Kingdom, rather than individual Government Ministers. In practice, it is difficult to say that a breach of the convention has arisen solely because of action taken by a particular Government Minister.