Singh v The Secretary of State for The Home Department: CA 27 May 2016

The claimant said that the Judge in the first Tier Tribunal had made remarks before the hearing which suggested bias against the claimant.
Held: The appeal failed. There was in this case no adequate evidence of the tribunal having shown bias.
The court set out the following observations on granting permission to appeal on such grounds in the absence of rules on the topic for the Tribunal: ‘(1) An allegation of bias or misconduct can only too easily be raised by a disgruntled litigant. It is therefore important that any application for permission to appeal, if based (in whole or part) on such a ground, is closely scrutinised when consideration is given as to whether permission to appeal should be granted. Such an allegation, if to be sufficient to merit the grant of permission at all, should ordinarily be expected to be properly particularised and appropriately evidenced.
(2) If an allegation of bias or misconduct is raised which is adjudged sufficient to merit the grant of permission to appeal then it should be normal practice for the Upper Tribunal thereafter to obtain the written comments of the judge concerned: both in fairness to the judge and to provide the Upper Tribunal with a fuller picture.
(3) Such written comments of the judge, where obtained, should be provided to the parties for the purposes of the appeal hearing in the Upper Tribunal. In addition, such written comments should be retained on the file pending any possible further appeal to the Court of Appeal (the present case indicates the potential awkwardness arising from that failure).
(4) Proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal are not ordinarily recorded (it is not a court of record) and no transcript of the hearing will be available. There may be some cases where it may also be necessary to obtain the Tribunal Judge’s own note or record of the entire hearing.
(5) It will normally be likely in such as the present cases to be of assistance to the Upper Tribunal to know what the advocate for the respondent has to say as to what happened or what was said before the First-tier Tribunal. In the present case neither the Upper Tribunal nor this court had the assistance of any such observations. It should be borne in mind that to provide such observations is the more likely to help produce a fuller and more accurate picture of what actually happened or was said in the First-tier Tribunal. There may be cases where the advocate concerned has no precise note or recollection. In that case, the Upper Tribunal at least can be so told.
(6) Whether oral evidence is needed at the hearing of the appeal on the issue of what happened or was said below should be carefully considered by the parties.
(7) Reflecting all the foregoing, it is likely to be important, in appeals of this nature, for the file to be reviewed and any directions given by an Upper Tribunal Judge in good time before the substantive appeal hearing.’

[2016] EWCA Civ 492, [2016] WLR(D) 294
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
CitedPorter and Weeks v Magill HL 13-Dec-2001
Councillors Liable for Unlawful Purposes Use
The defendant local councillors were accused of having sold rather than let council houses in order to encourage an electorate which would be more likely to be supportive of their political party. They had been advised that the policy would be . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Natural Justice, Litigation Practice

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.565356