Jason Beer QC and Russell Fortt successful in Court of Appeal in functus officio argument
The Court of Appeal today handed down its judgment in R (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis) v Independent Police Complaints Commission EWCA Civ 1248. The case concerned the power of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (“IPCC”) to re-open an investigation (following the discovery of errors in it) after it had decided not to recommend or direct disciplinary action against a police officer. The Metropolitan Police argued that the IPCC had no such power – it was functus officio. The Divisional Court (Burnett LJ and William Davis J) dismissed that claim. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Metropolitan Police’s appeal, holding that “…the desirability of finality for the individual officer concerned can[not] make the decision irrevocable. The officer is the object of the complaint, and the IPCC exists…to promote public confidence in the complaints and misconduct process. Of course, finality from the police officer’s point of view is highly desirable, but it cannot dictate a requirement that the process is dissected into individual stages which he is justified as regarding as conclusive and irrevocable.”
The judgment can be found here.