Judgments - Regina v. Secretary of State for Health (Respondent) ex parte Quintavalle (on behalf of Prof-Life Alliance) (Appellant)

(back to preceding text)

    50. A secondary question is whether CNR is prohibited by section 3(3)(d). In my opinion it is not. The subsection is directed to nuclear substitution. It prohibits "replacing a nucleus of a cell of an embryo". CRN does not involve any such process.

    51. Of course, Parliament did not positively intend to prohibit CNR, the possibility of which it did not foresee. It might or might not have prohibited it if it had done so. But such considerations are irrelevant. Even if Parliament had intended to prohibit CNR it failed to do so. The court cannot give effect to Parliament's intention if the legislative text does not permit it. The only question is whether CNR falls within the statutory language. It manifestly does not.

    52. Reliance was placed on the limited nature of the prohibition in section 3(3)(d) to argue that logically Parliament must have intended either to leave embryos created by processes such as CNR outside the scope of the Act altogether, thereby compelling a different answer to the primary question, or to prohibit their creation.

    53. The argument assumes that it would be illogical to prohibit nuclear substitution while permitting CNR. This has not been demonstrated to my satisfaction. But in any case the argument from logic is fallacious. Given that Parliament intended to make comprehensive provision for the creation and use of embryos however created and to prohibit the process of nuclear substitution, its failure to bring CNR within the prohibition, even if illogical, is sufficiently explained by the fact that Parliament did not foresee the need to do so.

    54. I would dismiss the appeal.

LORD SCOTT OF FOSCOTE

My Lords,

    55. I have had the advantage of reading in advance the opinions of my noble and learned friends Lord Bingham of Cornhill and Lord Steyn. For the reasons they give, with which I am in full agreement, I too would dismiss this appeal.

 
previous
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Prepared 12 March 2003