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R v Civil Service Appeal Board, ex parte Cunningham

[1992] ICR 816

Case summary last updated at 07/01/2020 13:46 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Civil Service Appeal Board, ex parte Cunningham

P was dismissed from his job as a PE teacher at a detention centre. He was dismissed under legislation that stated that those who provide “police services” are not entitled to go to industrial tribunal. He appealed to the civil service appeals board who accepted that P had been unfairly dismissed but maintained his dismissal without giving reasons and simply gave him compensation of less than half his yearly salary. CA granted judicial review, saying that as a body subject to judicial review it had to satisfy the requirement of fairness/natural justice and provide reasons so that the parties could know how the decision was arrived at and that it had done so lawfully. The award was so low as to be prima facie irrational. 
 
Leggatt LJ: He recognised the fact that “the duty to act fairly in this case extends to an obligation to give reasons.” 
 
McCowan: He said that in certain circumstances the duty of fairness would include giving reasons and these factors militated towards such a conclusion: (1) Where there is no appeal, as was the case here; (2) DM is carrying out a judicial function; (3) DM is susceptible to judicial review; (4) Where a recommendation without reasons is insufficient to achieve justice; (5) There is no statute requiring the court to tolerate that unfairness; (6) The giving of short reasons wouldn’t frustrate the purpose of the code on civil service pay and conditions; (7) The giving of reasons would not be harmful to the public interest. 

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