Sunday, February 07, 2010

Conflicts of Interest for Adjudicators?

From the former Department for Constitutional Affairs website re: Adjudicators.
Once you have read it then you can decide whether the fact that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal Chief Adjudicator, Caroline Sheppard is employed by Manchester City Council represents a conflict of interest. More ...

The governing principle is that no person should sit in a judicial capacity in any circumstances which would lead an objective onlooker with knowledge of all the material facts, reasonably to suspect that the person might be biased. As a general principle therefore, a barrister or solicitor advocate ought not to sit or to appear before a tribunal, at a particular hearing centre, if he is liable to be embarrassed in either capacity by doing so.

As a general rule, it is undesirable for judicial office holders who are solicitors to sit at a tribunal or hearing centre where they or any partner or employee of theirs regularly practises. This is to help avoid them being assigned to adjudicate in a case (or several cases) from which they would have to stand down. If a fee-paid (part-time) judicial office holder who is a solicitor does sit at such a hearing centre or a tribunal, then the Lord Chancellor regards it as the judicial office holder's personal responsibility (and not that of the staff of the tribunal or the hearing centre) to ensure, as far as possible, that he avoids any potential conflict of interest which might require him to stand down from a particular case.

Fee-paid (part-time) judicial office holders should not sit in a case involving their own firm or client, or otherwise where to do so could give rise to the perception of prejudice in the administration of justice. They should comply with the existing case law governing pecuniary or other interests in deciding whether to declare an interest in, or to stand down from, a particular case e.g. Locabail (UK) Ltd v Bayfield Properties Ltd and Another [(2000) QB 451; in re medicaments and related classes of goods (No 2) (2001) 1 WLR 700; and Lawal v Northern Spirits Limited (2003) UKHL35].

Fee-paid (part-time) judicial office holder should not sit on a case if he has a personal, professional or pecuniary interest in that case; or if any business or practice of which he is a member in any capacity has such an interest.

Judicial office holders are expected to refrain from any activity, political or otherwise, which would conflict with their judicial office or be seen to compromise their impartiality, having regard for example to the comments of the Court of Appeal in the case of Locabail. Fee-paid (part-time) judicial office holders should also be aware of the risk of a perceived lack of impartiality arising from published articles or public pronouncements, etc. (Timmins v Gormley [(2000) 2 WLR 870]).

Fee-paid (part-time) Adjudicators should exercise caution in any reference to their appointment on, for example, letterheads or in chambers advertising literature.

Fee-paid (part-time) Adjudicators hold office only when he or she is serving judicially and should not use their office as a means of pursuing personal, professional or commercial advantage

No comments:

Blog Archive

only search Neil Herron Blog