March 2019
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Rex v Nat Bell Liquors Ltd; HL 1922

References: [1922] 2 AC 128
Coram: Lord Sumner
Lord Sumner said: ‘Long before Jervis’s Acts statutes had been passed which created an inferior court, and declared its decisions to be ‘final’ and ‘without appeal’, and again and again the Court of the King’s Bench had held that the language of this kind did not restrict or take away the right of the court to bring the proceedings before itself by certiorari. There is no need to regard this as a conflict between the court and Parliament; on the contrary, the latter, by continuing to use the same language in subsequent enactments, accepted this interpretation which is now clearly established and is applicable to Canadian legislation, both Dominion and Provincial, when regulating the rights of certiorari and of appeal in similar terms. The Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1848, was intended to produce and did produce its result by a simple change in procedure without unduly ousting the supervisory jurisdiction of the superior court.’ An error on the face of a judgment could not be said to make the decision a nullity. The error ‘however grave, is a wrong exercise of the jurisdiction which he has, and not a usurpation of a jurisdiction which he has not’
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