Ridge v Baldwin (No 1): HL 14 Mar 1963

No Condemnation Without Opportunity For Defence

Ridge, a Chief Constable, had been wrongfully dismissed without being given the opportunity of presenting his defence. He had been acquitted of the charges brought against him, but the judge at trial had made adverse comments about his behaviour. He now accepted that he should leave, but sought to be allowed to resign rather than be dismissed, thus preserving his pension rights.
Held: There should be no order to reinstate the Chief Constable as if he had never been validly dismissed. The House found value in the distinction between administrative and judicial decisions as a factor in the susceptibility of a decision to judicial review. The House considered its ability to look to decisions of non-statutory tribunals and was asked as whether an order for specific performance of a contract of employment was possible at common law: ‘There cannot be specific performance of a contract of service, and the master can terminate the contract with his servant at any time and for any reason or none.’
As to the nature of natural Justice: ‘In modern times opinions have sometimes been expressed to the effect that natural justice is so vague as to be practically meaningless. But I would regard these as tainted by the perennial fallacy that because something cannot be cut and dried or nicely weighed or measured therefore it does not exist’.
Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest said: ‘It is well established that the essential requirements of natural justice at least include that before someone is condemned he is to have an opportunity of defending himself, and in order that he may do so that he is to be made aware of the charges or allegations or suggestions which he has to meet: Kanda v Government of Malaya. My Lords, here is something which is basic to our system: the importance of upholding it far transcends the significance of any particular case.’


Lord Reid, Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest


[1964] AC 40, [1963] UKHL 2, [1963] UKHL 2, (1963) 61 LGR 369




Municipal Corporations Act 1882 191(4)


England and Wales


CitedKanda v Government of the Federation of Malaya PC 2-Apr-1962
A police Inspector had been dismissed on a finding of an offence against discipline. . He complained that he had not been allowed to see the report of the Board of Inquiry which contained prejudicial material and which had been relied upon by the . .
CitedRex v Mayor of Stratford 1670
The Corporation dismissed a Town Clerk who held office durante bene placito.
Held: As the person having the power of dismissal need not have anything against the officer, he need not give any reason. . .
DoubtedThe Queen On The Prosecution Of Wray v The Governors Of The Darlington Free Grammar School 27-Nov-1844
. .
CitedDean v Bennett ChD 22-Dec-1870
By the deed of settlement of a Baptist chapel, it was provided that every minister should be liable to be forthwith removed by the decision of the church made at one meeting, and confirmed at a second meeting called by a notice which should . .
CitedTerrell v Secretary of State for the Colonies 1953
A judge of the Supreme Court of Malaya had been appointed in 1930 on the understanding that the retiring age should be sixty-two. When Malaya was overrun by the Japanese in 1942 he was retired on a pension, some time before he had reached sixty-two, . .
CitedWillis v Childe 14-Jan-1851
Injunction granted to restrain trustees of a grammar school removing the master. . .
CitedBaggs Case 1675
. .
CitedThe King v G Gaskin, D D 17-Apr-1799
A return (to a mandamus to restore) insufficient, because it did not state that the party had been summoned to answer to the charge before he was removed, . .
CitedWillis v Childe 14-Jan-1851
Injunction granted to restrain trustees of a grammar school removing the master. . .
CitedEx Parte Ramshay Esq 1852
The Lord Chancellor was empowered if he should think fit to remove a county court judge from his office on the ground of inability or misbehaviour, but Lord Campbell CJ said that this was ‘ only on the implied condition prescribed by the principles . .
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 . .
CitedHogg v Scott KBD 1947
A police officer complained as to his dismissal without a hearing
Held: A Chief Constable could dismiss without hearing him an officer who had been convicted of felony.
Statutory limitation periods are not directly applicable to . .
CitedCooper v Wilson 1937
Police officers can be removed from office only by a valid exercise of the statutory power of dismissal. The principles of natural justice applied in the dismissal. . .
CitedFisher v Jackson ChD 7-Mar-1891
The deed of trust establishing an endowed school provided that the master of the school should he appointed by the vicars of three specified parishes, and power was given to the three vicars to remove the master for certain specified causes. The . .
CitedCooper v Wandsworth Board of Works CCP 21-Apr-1863
A house owner had failed to give proper notice to the Board they had under an Act of 1855 authority to demolish any building he had erected and recover the cost from him. This action was brought against the Board because they had used that power . .
CitedJames Dunbar Smith v The Queen PC 12-Mar-1878
(Queensland) This was an action of ejectment on the alleged forfeiture of a Crown lease in Queensland. The Governor was entitled to forfeit the lease if it had been proved to the satisfaction of a Commissioner that the lessee had abandoned or ceased . .
CitedHopkins and Another v Smethwick Local Board of Health CA 1890
Willes J said: ‘In condemning a man to have his house pulled down, a judicial act is as much implied as in fining him pounds 5 ; and as the local board is the only tribunal that can make such an order its act must be a judicial act, and the party to . .
CitedWood v Woad CEC 1-Jun-1874
Declaration, alleging that the plaintiff was a member of a mutual insurance society, which insured members against losses to ships entered and insured in the books of the society, on a deposit being made of 5l. per cent, on the amount insured ; that . .
CitedFisher v Keane ChD 2-Dec-1878
The committee of a club, being a quasi-judicial tribunal, are bound, in proceeding under their rules against a member of the club for alleged misconduct, to act according to the ordinary principles of justice, and are not to convict him of an . .
CitedDawkins v Antrobus CA 1-Feb-1881
The Court will not interfere against the decision of the members of a club professing to act under their rules, unless it can be shewn either that the rules are contrary to natural justice, or that what has been done is contrary to the rules, or . .
CitedWeinberger v Inglis and Others HL 1919
A member of enemy birth was excluded from the Stock Exchange, and it was held that the Committee had heard him before acting.
Held: The power to admit persons to membership was held to be both an administrative power and a fiduciary power. The . .
CitedSpackman v Plumstead District Board of Works 1885
The certificate of the superintending architect of the metropolitan board of works made under Metropolis Management (Amendment) Act 1862 section 75 and fixing the general line of buildings in a road was conclusive as to a building erected before the . .
CitedLapointe v L’ Association De Bienfaisance Et Retraite De La Police De Montreal PC 27-Jul-1906
(Quebec) The appellant, who was a member of the respondent benevolent and pension society, had been obliged to resign from the police force. Under those circumstances he became entitled according to the rules to have his case for a gratuity or . .
CitedDe Verteuil v The Hon Samuel William Knaggs Acting Governor and Another PC 21-Mar-1918
(Trinidad and Tobago) the Governor of Trinidad was entitled to remove immigrants from an estate ‘on sufficient ground shewn to his satisfaction ‘.
Held: Lord Parmoor said that ‘the acting Governor was not called upon to give a decision on an . .
CitedEx Parte Ramshay Esq 1852
The Lord Chancellor was empowered if he should think fit to remove a county court judge from his office on the ground of inability or misbehaviour, but Lord Campbell CJ said that this was ‘ only on the implied condition prescribed by the principles . .
CitedRex v Electricity Commissioners, ex parte London Electricity Joint Committee Co (1920) Ltd CA 1923
The Commissioners had a statutory duty to make schemes with regard to electricity districts and to hold local enquiries before making them. They made a draft scheme which in effect allocated duties to one body which the Act required should be . .
CitedRex v Legislative Committee of the Church Assembly 1928
It was sought to prohibit the Assembly from proceeding further with the Prayer Book Measure, 1927. I think that the Church Assembly has no such power, and therefore no such duty.’
Held: In order to invoke the court’s jurisdiction to review a . .
CitedAnnamunthodo v Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union PC 26-Jul-1961
The plaintiff complained that he had been wrongly expelled by the general council of his union. The union replied that any defect had been cured when his expulsion was confirmed by the Union’s Annual Conference.
Held: The decision of the . .
CitedBlisset v Daniel 1853
The court considered the limits on a power of expulsion from a partnership.
Held: (Page-Wood V-C) Construing the articles, two-thirds of the partners could expel a partner by serving a notice upon him without holding any meeting or giving any . .
CitedAndrews v Mitchell HL 16-May-1904
Sect. 68 of the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, which enacts that every dispute between a member of a friendly society and the society shall be decided in manner directed by the rules of the society, and that the decision so given shall be binding and . .
CitedRex v Nat Bell Liquors Ltd PC 7-Apr-1922
(Alberta) Lord Sumner said: ‘Long before Jervis’s Acts statutes had been passed which created an inferior court, and declared its decisions to be ‘final’ and ‘without appeal’, and again and again the Court of the King’s Bench had held that the . .
CitedRex v Neal CCA 1949
‘If some irregularity comes to the knowledge of Counsel before the verdict is returned, he should bring it to the attention of the court at the earliest possible moment so that the presiding judge may consider whether or not to discharge the jury . .
CitedBarnard v National Dock Labour Board CA 31-Mar-1953
The appellant sought a declaration that the employer had imposed disciplinary measures improperly, in that they had been put in place by a port manager who possessed no relevant disciplinary powers.
Held: The delegation by the London Dock . .
CitedCapel v Child 1832
A bishop issued a requisition under statute, requiring the Vicar of W to nominate a Curate with a stipend, on the ground that it appeared to the bishop, of his own knowledge, that the ecclesiastical duties of the vicarage and parish church of W were . .
CitedRex v North; Ex parte Oakey CA 1927
Proceedings in the Consistory Court were found to be: ‘without jurisdiction’ and prohibition lay.
Scrutton LJ said: ‘In my view an order that anyone shall pay the cost of restoring work which has been obliterated without a faculty is in the . .
CitedRussell v Duke of Norfolk CA 1949
Tucker LJ said: ‘There are . . no words which are of universal application to every kind of inquiry and every kind of domestic tribunal. The requirements of natural justice must depend on the circumstances of the case, the nature of the inquiry, the . .

Cited by:

CitedKirklees Metropolitan Borough Council v Wickes Building Supplies Ltd HL 1992
A public authority is not required as a rule to give a cross undertaking in damages in a law enforcement action. As to the legal status of the statutory instrument in question, the courts could ‘declare it to be invalid’ if satisfied that the . .
CitedDurayappah v Fernando PC 1967
An order had been made by a minister that the council of a local authority be dissolved. The council did not seek to challenge the order, but the appellant, the mayor, brought proceedings in his individual capacity to challenge the minister’s . .
CitedPercy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission HL 15-Dec-2005
The claimant appealed after her claim for sex discrimination had failed. She had been dismissed from her position an associate minister of the church. The court had found that it had no jurisdiction, saying that her appointment was not an . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v MB; Same v AF HL 31-Oct-2007
Non-derogating control orders – HR Compliant
MB and AF challenged non-derogating control orders made under the 2005 Act, saying that they were incompatible with their human rights. AF was subject to a curfew of 14 hours a day, wore an electronic tag at all times, could not leave a nine square . .
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 . .
CitedSchmidt and Another v Secretary of State for Home Affairs CA 19-Dec-1968
The plaintiffs had come to England to study at a college run by the Church of Scientology, and now complained that their student visas had not been extended so as to allow them to complete their studies. They said that the decision had been made for . .
CitedMackaill and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Independent Police Complaints Commission Admn 6-Oct-2014
The three claimants were police officers. They met a senior MP at Sutton Coldfield. They emerged from the meeting and were said to have made misleading statements as to the content of the meeting. The IPCC referred the matters back to local forces . .
CitedRegina v The Secretary of State for the Environment, ex Parte Ostler CA 16-Mar-1976
Statutory Challenge must be timely
The applicant had not taken objection to a proposed road scheme believing wrongly that it would not affect his business. Other objectors had withdrawn because of secret re-assurances given to them by the respondent.
Held: The court was asked, . .
CitedGilham v Ministry of Justice SC 16-Oct-2019
The Court was asked whether a district judge qualifies as a ‘worker’ for the purpose of the protection given to whistle-blowers under Part IVA of the 1996 Act, and if not then was the absence of protection an infringement of her human rights.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Natural Justice, Administrative, Police, Judicial Review

Leading Case

Updated: 21 April 2022; Ref: scu.187070