R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School

The Supreme Court has handed down its much­ anticipated decision in R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School. G, a 24 year­ old teaching assistant, was the subject of disciplinary proceedings following an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 15 year­old boy.  The School refused to allow G, who was summarily dismissed, to be legally represented at the proceedings and indicated it was obliged to report his dismissal to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), who had the authority to bar him from ever working with children. G sought Judicial Review of the decision to refuse him legal representation on the grounds that it violated his rights under Article 6
of the ECHR.

By a majority of 4 ­ 1 the Supreme Court held that there is no right under Article 6 to legal representation at a disciplinary hearing where dismissal could lead to a process barring a person from their profession if, as in this case the barring decision is sufficiently independent of the decision to dismiss.

Whilst the decision does not completely close the door on legal representation at disciplinary hearings it does afford employers some comfort that, for the most part, lawyers will not be allowed to invade internal proceedings.

Note however this decision will not remove the rights of doctors and dentists to representation if their contacts incorporate the requirements of MHPS.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur
June 2011


Disclaimer

This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.