Reflecting on a constitutional controversy: new perspectives on the House of Lords’ decision in R (on the application of Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No.2) [2008] UKHL 61

The flaws of a constitution can sometimes be seen in a particularly controversial judicial decision, where judges, perhaps following the constitutional status quo, arguably permit a ‘wrong’ outcome and do little to check the powers of constitutional actors. This paper will seek to draw new perspectives on one such decision. The House of Lords’ decision in R (on the application of Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No.2) [2008] UKHL 61 concerned the ability of the United Kingdom’s government to use the royal prerogative to make laws for a remnant of the country’s colonial empire. The House of Lords’ decision in Bancoult (No.2) concerned the original removal of the Chagossian people from the Chagos Islands. In the paper I draw on my empirical research which has involved interviewing those involved with the litigation and thus enabling me to combine a critique of this constitutionally flawed decision, with a much-needed human element.