Court rules that staff have no right to legal representation at internal disciplinary hearings

08 July 2011
Court rules that staff have no right to legal representation at internal disciplinary hearings

The Supreme Court, England's highest court, has ruled that employees do not have the right to legal representation at internal disciplinary hearings.

The case was previously considered last year, by the Court of Appeal and involved a teacher who was dismissed for gross misconduct and reported to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, effectively barring him from teaching. The Court of Appeal then, held that the internal disciplinary hearing was a "determination of the employee's civil rights" and that, under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the employee was entitled to legal representation at his internal disciplinary hearing.

Now, the Supreme Court has decided that an internal disciplinary hearing does not determine the employee's civil rights. Therefore the employee is not entitled to legal representation.

The consensus among legal professionals now is that most internal investigations now will not give the employee a right to legal representation, other than in very rare instances.

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