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Challenges to a failure to adjourn seem to be popping-up at the moment. There was the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Solanki v (1) Intercity Telecom Ltd (2) Guidinglight Finance Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 101 – where a judge had failed to give adequate reasons for rejecting medical evidence justifying an adjournment. By contrast, in the recent decision of Lindsay v Solicitors' Regulatory Authority [2018] EWHC 1275 (Admin), the respondent in misconduct proceedings failed to advance adequate evidence to support such an application. What lies deeper beneath, however, is whether an appeal against a decision not to adjourn requires the appellate court or tribunal to consider whether the original decision lay within the range of reasonable responses open to the decision maker below or, alternatively, has to determine the question of fairness / correctness itself.

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The determinations of Selected Medical Practitioners (SMPs) made under the various Police Pensions Regulations and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 are, in many cases, supposed to be final unless or until they are appealed. Subsequent SMPs, Police Medical Appeal Boards and, on occasion, the lawyers acting for both officers and police pension authorities, seem prone to forget this principle. When they do, the High Court always welcomes them with open arms and a consistent eagerness to remind them that careful adherence to the statutory procedures for injury on duty awards is in everyone’s long-term interest. 

The case of R (Evans) v Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary and Police Medical Appeals Board [2018] EWHC 952 (Admin) is the latest case to confirm this principle. While there is little in the decision that ought to come as a great surprise, the judgment does include an unambiguous critique of the decision in R (Doubtfire & Anor) v Police Medical Appeal Board [2010] EWHC 980 (Admin), which ought no longer to be regarded as good law. It also gives clear advice to SMPs and PMABs, who may be considering the question of an injury on duty award years after the first determination under the Police Pensions Regulations 1987.

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The Family Division of the High Court in G v G (Chief Constable of Dorset Police intervening) [2018] EWHC 1100 (Fam) ordered that the service and disclosure of a CAFCASS report be delayed for a week in order to allow an effective police investigation into allegations that the father had sexually abused one of the children. The judgment of 4 May 2018 was delivered in private and Holman J gave leave for an anonymised version to be published one week later, stating that the decision had been made upon the Court “being asked to take a very unusual course” in “a very unusual application”.

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Just a very short point on proceeding in misconduct hearings in the absence of defendant officers, following the judgment in Sanusi v GMC [2018] EWHC 1388 (Admin). 

The position on proceeding in absence of a defendant officer in police misconduct hearings was always thought to mirror that in criminal proceedings - and for good reason. The central authority of R v Jones (Anthony) [2003] 1 AC 1, setting out the very high bar to proceeding in criminal actions was followed by Tate v The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons [2003] UKPC 34, which adopted that test for disciplinary hearings. It is worth noting that although Tate was heard by the Privy Council, it did so as a first (and only) tier appeal tribunal. Regardless, the position in Tate no longer holds.

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The Divisional Court in R (Mason) v (1) Winchester Crown Court (2) Chief Constable of Hampshire [2018] EWHC 1182 (Admin) has set out proper procedures to follow in appeals heard in the Crown Court concerning the refusal or revocation of firearm and shotgun certificates. This brings some structure to what has sometimes appeared to be the Wild West of shotgun hearings.

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Dogs and property throw up some of the more unusual and difficult issues on which a police lawyer is asked to advise. In the decision of Henderson v Comr of Police of the Metropolis [2018] EWHC 666 (Admin) and the subsequent costs decision at [2018] EWHC 1092 (Admin), the court visited two issues - the standing of a person to intervene in a case concerning the destruction of a potentially prohibited breed and kennelling costs during the course of an appeal by way of case stated / judicial review to the High Court.

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The Secretary of State for the Home Department has recently published two Codes of Practice – one new and one revised – which provide guidance on the appropriate and proportionate use of powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ('POCA') - note that the enactments on legislation.gov.uk have not, at the date of this blog post, been updated to reflect recent amendents. These Codes came into force on 16 April 2018. They were drafted in order to take account of various amendments made to POCA by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 ('CFA'), which received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017. 

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The Employment Appeal Tribunal has handed down judgment in the appeal case of Hextall v Leicestershire Police UKEAT/0139/17/DA. Mr Hextall is a police officer who took Shared Parental Leave. However, under the informal national policy that exists at the current time in relation to the payment of such leave, he was paid only at the statutory rate and not the enhanced rate paid to mothers taking maternity leave.

Mr Hextall argued that that policy put men at a particular disadvantage compared to women because it acted as a financial disincentive to their taking such leave where mothers had the alternative option of taking maternity leave. As such, he said, it constituted unlawful indirect sex discrimination. Hextall is linked to another (non-police) case, Capital v Ali UKEAT/0139/17/DA. 

In short, the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that a failure to pay a male police officer taking Shared Parental Leave the same rate of pay as a female police officer taking Maternity Leave potentially constitutes indirect sex discrimination. Jonathan Davies represented Leicestershire Police in both the employment tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

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Where a police officer makes an unsuccessful application for a panel to recuse itself on the grounds of perceived (or actual) bias, can he apply for judicial review of the decision before exhausting his 'internal' right of appeal (under rule 4(4)(c) of the Police Appeals Tribunal Rules 2012)?

The law in foreign, common-law jurisdictions is different but a similar question in relation to a doctor and a misconduct panel was answered affirmatively by the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa in Basson v Health Professions Council of South Africa [2018] ZASCA 1.

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The hits for the police keep on coming. The decision in Commissioner of the Metropolis v (1) DSD (2) NBV [2018] UKSC 11 confirms that the police can be liable in proceedings for a breach of article 3’s prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment (and possibly article 4’s prohibition on slavery) where they fail to perform an adequate criminal investigation into alleged serious ill-treatment.

This decision was less of a surprise than Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2018] UKSC 4 – given the strength of the earlier judgments both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal. That said, it is hard to say anything other than that the courts are slowly but surely eroding out of existence the police’s ‘immunity’ from claims arising out of the performance of its core duties.

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