John v Rees and Others; Martin and Another v Davis and Others: ChD 1969

The Court was asked as to the validity of proceedings at a meeting of the members of the local Labour Party which had broken up in disorder. The proceedings were instituted by the leader of one faction on behalf of himself and all other members of the local Labour party other than the three individual defendants who constituted the other faction.
Held: The court refused to strike out the claim.
The rule from ‘the Duke of Bedford’ case with regard to representative actions in Chancery is to be treated not as a rigid matter of principle but a flexible tool of convenience in the administration of justice.
The court observed about the argument that as to a failure to follow proper procedure, ‘it will make no difference’. ‘It may be that there are some who would decry the importance which the courts attach to the observance of the rules of natural justice. ‘When something is obvious,’ they may say, ‘why force everyone to go through the tiresome waste of time involved in framing charges and giving an opportunity to be heard? The result is obvious from the start.’ Those who take this view do not, I think, do themselves justice. As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not; of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained; of fixed and unalterable determinations that, by discussion, suffered a change. Nor are those with any knowledge of human nature who pause to think for a moment likely to underestimate the feelings of resentment of those who find that a decision against them has been made without their being afforded any opportunity to influence events.’ The language used is relevant to the issue whether it is ‘apt . . to exclude the . . expectation of being accorded natural justice.’
A supension can have very severe effects on an employee’s reputation, ‘In essence suspension is merely expulsion pro tanto. Each is penal, and each deprives the member concerned of his enjoyments of membership or office. Accordingly, in my judgment the rules of natural justice prima facie apply to any process of suspension in the same way they apply to expulsion. In my view therefore, it is clear that the suspension of the Applicant is justiciable.’

Megarry J
[1970] 1 Ch 345, [1969] 2 All ER 275
England and Wales
CitedDuke of Bedford v Ellis HL 10-Dec-1900
Ellis and five others sued on behalf of themselves and all other growers of fruit, flowers, vegetables, roots or herbs to enforce rights conferred on them by the Covent Garden Act 1828 against the Duke of Bedford as the owner of the market. The Duke . .

Cited by:
CitedIndependiente Ltd and others v Music Trading On-Line (HK) Ltd and others ChD 13-Mar-2003
The claimants claimed damages for the sale by the defendants in the UK of CD’s manufactured for sale only in the far East. The defendants challenged the right of a claimant phonographic society to have the right to sue on behalf of its members.
ApprovedAmin, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Oct-2003
Prisoner’s death – need for full public enquiry
The deceased had been a young Asian prisoner. He was placed in a cell overnight with a prisoner known to be racist, extremely violent and mentally unstable. He was killed. The family sought an inquiry into the death.
Held: There had been a . .
CitedM Iqbal v Consignia Plc EAT 5-Dec-2002
EAT Procedural Issues – Employment Tribunal
The claimant had had his claims for discrimination rejected. He was found to have been unfairly dismissed, but with nil compensation because of what was found to . .
CitedRegina v Chief Constable of the Thames Valley Police, Ex parte Cotton CA 1990
The Chief Constable’s power to dispense with a probationer’s services under Condition 7 is only exercisable in cases where the probationer constable’s unfitness does not arise from alleged misconduct, for example where it arises from the constable’s . .
CitedInterbulk Limited v Aiden Shipping Co Limited (The ‘Vimeira’) CA 1984
The court considered whether an arbitrator had a duty to raise a point missed by counsel.
Held: Robert Goff LJ: ‘In truth, we are simply talking about fairness. It is not fair to decide a case against a party on an issue which has never been . .
CitedEmerald Supplies Ltd and Another v British Airways Plc ChD 8-Apr-2009
The claim was for damages after alleged price fixing by the defendants. The claimants sought to recover for themselves and as representatives of others who had similarly suffered. The defendants sought that the representative element of the claim be . .
CitedShoesmith, Regina (on The Application of) v OFSTED and Others CA 27-May-2011
The claimant appealed against dismissal of her claim. She had been head of Child Services at Haringey. After the notorious violent death of Baby P, the Secretary of State called for an inquiry under the Act. He then removed her as director. She . .
CitedBank Mellat v Her Majesty’s Treasury (No 2) SC 19-Jun-2013
The bank challenged measures taken by HM Treasury to restrict access to the United Kingdom’s financial markets by a major Iranian commercial bank, Bank Mellat, on the account of its alleged connection with Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic . .
CitedMR, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for The Home Department Admn 10-Mar-2017
The claimant challenged the use of the Royal Prerogative to withdraw his passport. He had as a youth been involved with a terrorist organisation, but said that he now regretted that and was no longer so involved. He had sought to set up a business, . .
CitedGerrard and Another v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd and Another QBD 27-Nov-2020
The claimants, a solicitor and his wife, sought damages in harassment and data protection, against a party to proceedings in which he was acting professionally, and against the investigative firm instructed by them. The defendants now requested the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Employment, Natural Justice

Updated: 15 December 2021; Ref: scu.179754