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7 Jan 22 Back to Listing

Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Police v Eckland: Court of Appeal judgement concludes that status quo remains

The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Police v Eckland.  Anne Studd QC and Victoria von Wachter appeared for the IOPC as intervener. 

The Chief Constable sought to argue that P v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2018] ICR 560 did not apply to cases heard under Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 both because of the different regime and the unfairness of being liable for a panel over whom he/she had no control. P gave effect to the Framework Directive and allowed for a ‘Marleasing’ interpretation to be given to s42 of the Equality Act 2010 such that the Chief Constable could not only be treated as the quasi employer of police officer for Employment Tribunal purposes but also be liable for the acts of the disciplinary panel appointed by the Appropriate Authority pursuant to Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008. 

In Eckland it was argued that the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 in force at the time of Mr Eckland’s dismissal, were sufficiently different to render the decision in P invalid.  Further it was argued that the court in P had not had the benefit of submissions that there was an alternative litigation forum for an officer aggrieved by such regulatory disciplinary action as applied here. 

The Court of Appeal rejected both arguments making a comparison with the principles of vicarious liability and concluding that the Supreme Court decision in P clearly envisaged that changes to the regulatory process would not alter the need for the Framework Directive to apply equally and effectively to police officers.  Accordingly the status quo remains and Chief Officers acting as the Appropriate Authority remain liable for the acts and/or omissions of the police disciplinary panel insofar as they relate to claims for unlawful discrimination.