• In the case of R Anufrijeva v Home Secretary [2003] UKHL 36 2004 1 ac 604, it was found that the right to notice of an administrative decision is categorised as a fundamental and constitutional common law right.

Facts of the Case

  • C, an asylum seeker, whose income support was terminated because the Home Secretary rejected her asylum application, sought judicial review of the decision.
  • The Home Secretary’s decision to end C’s income support was not communicated to C beforehand.


  • Is C entitled to receive income support?
  • Was the Home Secretary right or wrong to terminate C’s income support?

Held by the House of Lords

  • The House of Lords allowed C’s appeal and concluded that C was entitled to be in receipt of income support until proper notice is provided.

Lord Steyn

  • His Lordship emphasised the importance of notice to be provided beforehand. It is not satisfactory for income support to be terminated without having informed the recipient.
  • “Notice of a decision is required before it can have the character of a determination with legal effect because the individual concerned must be in a position to challenge the decision in the courts if he or she wishes to do so. This is not a technical rule. It is simply an application of the right to access to justice. This is a fundamental and constitutional principle of our legal system.” [26]
  • It was also found, with reference to the principle of legality in Simms, that the right to notice cannot be overridden unless by statute or necessary implication.
  • “The antithesis of such a state was described by Kafka: a state where the rights of individuals are overridden by hole in the corner decisions or knocks on doors in early hours. That is not our system.” [28]

Editor’s Notes:

  • It is important to recognise the importance of authoritative figures to provide notice to recipients of something before making decisions with huge implications.