Regina 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 mental or physical condition, such as being overweight.
Bingham LJ said: ‘As to the fairness of the Chief constable making such a decision, the absence of prejudice may be a relevant factor in the denial of a remedy, but to deny a remedy as a matter of discretion in such a case should be a rarity. While cases may arise where denying the subject of a decision an adequate opportunity to put his case is not in all the circumstances unfair, I would expect these cases to be of great rarity. There are a number of reasons for this. 1) Unless the subject of the decision has had an opportunity to put his case it may not be easy to know what case he could or would have put if he had had the chance 2) As memorably pointed out by Megarry J in John v Rees [1970] Ch 345 at p.402, experience shows that that which is confidently expected is by no means always that which happens. 3) It is generally desirable that decision-makers should be reasonably receptive to argument, and it would therefore be unfortunate if the complainant’s position became weaker as the decision-maker’s mind became more closed. 4) In considering whether the complainant’s representations would have made any difference to the outcome the court may unconsciously stray from its proper province of reviewing the propriety of the decision-making process into the forbidden territory of evaluating the substantial merits of a decision. 5) This is a field in which appearances are generally thought to matter. 6) Where a decision-maker is under a duty to act fairly the subject of the decision may properly be said to have a right to be heard, and rights are not to be lightly denied.’
Bingham LJ
[1990] IRLR 344
England and Wales
CitedJohn 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 . .

Cited by:
CitedBoddington v British Transport Police HL 2-Apr-1998
The defendant had been convicted, under regulations made under the Act, of smoking in a railway carriage. He sought to challenge the validity of the regulations themselves. He wanted to argue that the power to ban smoking on carriages did not . .
CitedRegina v Carroll and Al-Hasan and Secretary of State for Home Department Admn 16-Feb-2001
The claimants challenged the instruction that they must squat whilst undergoing a strip search in prison. A dog search had given cause to supect the presence of explosives in the wing, and the officers understood that such explosives might be hidden . .
CitedNational Association of Health Stores and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v Department of Health CA 22-Feb-2005
Applications were made to strike down regulations governing the use of the herbal product kava-kava.
Held: The omission of any transtitional provisions had not affected anyone. Nor was the failure to consult as to the possibility of dealing . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 September 2021; Ref: scu.187082

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