Healy and Another v Wincanton Group Plc (Practice and Procedure : Bias, Misconduct and Procedural Irregularity): EAT 12 Dec 2012

EAT PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Bias, misconduct and procedural irregularity
In 1998 the Employment Judge heard and dismissed a claim brought by a former client of his. He did not know the connection at the hearing but did before the Judgment. The EAT upheld the Claimant’s appeal on the ground of appearance of bias. The Judge should not have heard the case or continued with it after actual knowledge.
In 2011 the same Judge heard and dismissed most of the Claimant’s new case, where he represented three others. He did not remember the connection. The Claimant did, but said nothing as he did not know he could apply to the Judge. When he saw how counsel for the Respondent did this in a subsequent hearing before a different Judge, in between the hearing and the reserved Judgment, he did not know he could at that stage seek recusal.
EAT held an informed observer would see a real possibility of bias. Although the connection was old, the Claimant was not merely a former client, but a litigant who had successfully challenged the Judge on bias.
He did not waive his right to complain. His evidence was accepted. Entire Judgment set aside and case sent for fresh hearing.


McMullen QC J


[2012] UKEAT 0303 – 12 – 1212




England and Wales


Updated: 17 November 2022; Ref: scu.473029