There was a dispute between P, a doctor, and D, the fees-committee of a public health authority, regarding whether the committee had failed to pay P as much money as he was entitled to (decision hinged on whether P had dedicated a “substantial” amount of time to general practice). P sought to use a private claim (breach of contract) and D sought to have it struck out on the basis that P’s claim would involve showing that a decision taken by a PA was wrong and therefore his claim ought to be made through judicial review. HL held that a litigant possessed of a private law right could seek to enforce that right by ordinary action notwithstanding that the proceedings would involve a challenge to a public law act or decision. P’s relationship with the committee, whether contractual or statutory, conferred on him private law rights to remuneration in accordance with his statutory terms of service; and that, accordingly, the bringing of an ordinary action to enforce the right to receive that remuneration did not constitute an abuse of process.
Lord Bridge: Where the question to be determined is purely a matter of public law right, then the exclusivity principle remains. However in examining the “existence and extent of the private right asserted may incidentally involve the examination of a public law issue cannot prevent the litigant from seeking to establish his right by action commenced by writ or originating summons, any more than it can prevent him from setting up his private law right in proceedings brought against him.” He says that this follows from Winder. This and Winder constitute a significant limitation on the scope of the exclusivity rule.