R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School  EWHC 504 HC
human rights | disciplinary hearing | request to be accompanied by a lawyer
The High Court has held that an employee should have been allowed to be accompanied by a lawyer at a disciplinary hearing in circumstances where a consequence of the hearing could be the addition of his name to the register of individuals deemed unsuitable to work with children.
G was employed as a music assistant at X School. Allegations were made against him that he had kissed a 15-year old boy. The school's disciplinary procedures were instigated against G, culminating in a disciplinary hearing during which it was found that his conduct constituted an abuse of trust. He was summarily dismissed. He was informed that his dismissal would be reported to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on the basis that he might be unsuitable to work with children. He sought a declaration that the disciplinary hearing was in breach of his right to a fair and public hearing under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that he should be afforded a hearing during which he had legal representation.
In judicial review proceedings, the High Court found that the disciplinary hearing had breached G's human rights. The gravity of the allegations made against G (sexual impropriety with a person under 18 and abuse of a position of trust), taken together with the very serious impact upon G's future working life if he was placed on the register of individuals deemed unsuitable to work with children, meant that he could not fairly be expected to represent himself. It was not sufficient that he be accompanied by a trade union official or a work colleague under s.10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 and he should have had legal representation. The High Court ordered that the disciplinary committee's decision to dismiss should be quashed.
Case transcript of R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School (on the BAILII website)
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