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Judicial Proceedings Immunity

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[Thanks to Anna Thomas of Devereux Chambers for preparing this case summary] 

The EAT (Underhill P) has handed down its decision in Parmer v East Leicester Medical Practice, which is authority for the proposition that judicial proceedings immunity applies to all kinds of discrimination, including victimisation.

Mr Justice Underhill (President) dismissed an appeal brought on the basis that the ratio in Heath v Commissioner of Metropolitan Police did not apply to victimisation claims. Heath (Court of Appeal) made it clear that judicial proceedings immunity (i.e. immunity from any action brought on the basis that evidence is false or careless) extended to claims under the discrimination legislation. Dismissing the appeal brought by a Claimant seeking to argue that false witness statements had been made for the reason that he had brought proceedings, Underhill P held: 

  • it is not right that different rules apply to claims of primary discrimination as to claims of discrimination by way of victimisation, all the more so since victimisation is proscribed essentially in order to protect that primary right
  • there is no question of an EU-derived right being treated differently from a domestic right
  • there is no conflict with underlying EU principles; and
  • there is no inconsistency with the jurisdiction to award aggravated damages which can be seen as falling outside the judicial immunity rule