Smoking battle hots up

The House of Lords has given leave for the smokers' champion, Peter Boddington, to bring before them a challenge to his conviction for smoking on a non-smoking train.

The question is whether someone such as Boddington is entitled to raise as a defence to a criminal charge a contention that a bylaw or an administrative decision, made pursuant to powers conferred by it, is outside the law. If the Lords decide that it is, they will then be asked to decide whether criminal courts are entitled to consider whether such bylaws or administrative decisions are reasonable, and what criteria should be used to decide such a decision.