Khanum v Mid Glamorgan Area Health Authority: EAT 1979

In a domestic tribunal such as that a disciplinary hearing, all that is required is that the three basic requirements of natural justice be fulfilled; namely (1) that the person should know the nature of the accusation against him or her; (2) that he should be given an opportunity to state his case; and (3) that the tribunal should act in good faith.
Bristow J said: ‘We appreciate, of course, the force of the proposition that it is desirable to test evidence by cross-examination in order to get at the truth. We find it difficult to understand how, short of that, there can be the sort of virtue in having the patients’ story told in person which makes a failure to insist upon this a breach of natural justice. On the authorities cited to us it is clear that in some circumstances it may amount to a breach of natural justice to refuse a party the right to cross-examine a witness who has given evidence, or not to afford the opportunity for cross-examination: see e.g., Osgood v. Nelson (1872) L.R. 5 H.L. 636; Marriott v. Minister of Health [1937] 1 K.B. 128 and Nicholson v. Secretary of State for Energy, The Times, August 6, 1977. See also the Canadian decisions of Strathcona (County) No 20 and Chemcell Ltd. v. Provincial Planning Board, City of Edmonton (1970) 75 W.W.R. 488. It is equally clear on authority that in some circumstances the failure to afford the opportunity for cross-examination is not a failure to follow the rules of natural justice: see e.g., T.A.Miller Ltd v. Minister of Housing and Local Government [1968] 1 W.L.R. 992 and Ceylon University v. Fernando [1960] 1 WLR 223.
Some of the authorities are not easily reconciled and we do not think it would be helpful to try to do so, for in the end how nearly a domestic disciplinary inquiry, or any other inquiry by a statutory body, a public statutory inquiry, or any other inquiry which has to make decisions must approach to the full-blown procedure of a court of justice in order to comply with the rules of natural justice is not doubt a matter of degree. But in our judgment as regards the sort of domestic tribunal with which we are concerned in this case the law is as it was expressed by Harman J. in Byrne v Kinematograph Renters Society Ltd [1958] 1 W.L.R. 762, 784 and approved and applied by the Privy Council to the context of a University Vice-Chancellor’s inquiry into cheating in examinations in Fernando’s Case . . If you apply the law as so expressed to the proceedings of the domestic disciplinary inquiry at both levels in this case, each of the three requirements are amply fulfilled. We think it right to add that it would be surprising to find that a hearing conducted, as the appeals panel hearing was expressly conducted, in accordance with agreed draft Whitley Council procedures turned out to have been conducted in breach of the rules of natural justice.’
Bristow J
[1979] ICR 40
England and Wales
CitedByrne v Kinematograph Renters Society Ltd 1958
The court formulated the principles of natural justice: ‘What then are the requirements of natural justice? First, I think that the person accused should know the nature of the accusation made; secondly, that he should be given an opportunity to . .
CitedOsgood v Nelson HL 1872
The officer in question was an officer of the Corporation of the City of London, and he had been charged in general terms with neglect in the performance of his duty as Registrar of the Sheriffs’ Court. There was statutory power for the Corporation . .
CitedMarriott v Minister of Health 1936
. .
CitedMarriott v Minister of Health CA 1936
Nottingham Corporation on June 4th 1930, resolved that a certain area should be a clearance area, and on the same day made a compulsory purchase order in respect or part thereof. On that part of the area there were 39 houses of which 27 were the . .
CitedThe University of Ceylon v EFW Fernando PC 16-Feb-1960
(Ceylon) The plaintiff had complained of his suspension as a student by the appellant. The suspension had been lifted and the Inquiry leading to it had been set aside as null and void. It had been alleged that he had had advance knowledge of an exam . .
CitedBentley Engineering Co Ltd v Mistry EAT 1978
In employment disciplinary proceedings, natural justice required that a man should have a chance to state his own case and to know sufficiently what was being said against him, so that he could put forward his own case properly.
Slynn J said: . .

Cited by:
CitedSantamera v Express Cargo Forwarding (T/A IEC Ltd) EAT 26-Nov-2002
The claimant appealed against a decision that she had not been unfairly dismissed. She had been dismissed after complaints by a colleague, but had not been given the opportunity to examine him during the process.
Held: An employer was not duty . .
CitedADT Auctions Ltd v Nayar EAT 7-Apr-1998
The EAT considered a complaint by the dismissed employee that he had not been given the opportunity to cross examine the witnesses who had provided statements against him. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 September 2021; Ref: scu.341168