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6 Dec 19 Back to Listing

Russell Fortt acts for Chief Constable of Northumbria in successful judicial review challenge to the PAT’s decision to reinstate an officer

Russell Fortt acts for Chief Constable in successful judicial review challenge to the PAT’s decision to reinstate an officer R (On the Application of Chief Constable of Northumbria) v Police Appeals Tribunal and Barratt (Interested Party) [2019] EWHC 3352

The case, in which the PAT had reinstated a constable who had been dismissed by a misconduct panel for using racially offensive language in an Indian takeaway, attracted widespread adverse publicity. The PAT had suggested that dismissal had been a ‘knee jerk reaction’ and that public confidence in the police would be better served by the imposition of a final written warning.  It also held that the reasons of the Panel for dismissal were inadequate.  John Beggs QC for the officer argued that the PAT should be afforded deference as an expert panel and that the PAT had applied the correct legal test.  The Administrative Court (Freedman J) concluded that the Panel’s reasons were clearly set out and contrasted with the absence of reasons expressed by the PAT.  It also held that no reasonable PAT could have come to a decision that determined anything other than dismissal was appropriate.