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Judicial Review not normally appropriate in employment cases

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 Thanks to Barnaby Large of No.18 Barristers Chambers for preparing this case summary.

Is judicial review a mechanism for examining employment practices?

On the face of the Court of Sessions' decision (Lords Essie's lead judgment) in Gray v Watson, generally no.

Mr Gray, managing director of Braid Logistics UK (BULK) and shareholder its parent company Braid Group, had a contract providing for summary dismissal.

The Group's board of directors met and appointed a committee, including First and Second Respondent, to investigate Mr Gray's alleged misuse of an expense account. He was not invited to the meeting.

The Second Respondent suspended Mr Gray and the first issued disciplinary proceedings. The Second Respondent then summarily dismissed Mr Gray, offering the right of appeal to the remaining Respondents, temporarily appointed as directors of BULK.

The Petitioner applied to strike down suspension, disciplinary proceedings and dismissal and to restrain the remaining Respondents from further action on the grounds that the committee's appointment was procedurally flawed and the Respondents' apparent bias.

Applying West v Secretary of State for Scotland, the Court dismissed the petition.

The Respondents' use of powers were as agents of BULK, there was no tripartite relationship. Furthermore, they were not exercising quasi-judicial functions.

Finally, supervisory jurisdiction was available only in absence of other remedy. Reference to final decision on appeal in the contract was to the internal process, not excluding judicial jurisdiction. Remedy lay in employment law so supervisory jurisdiction could not be invoked.