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Right to Legal Representation at Disciplinary Hearings

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The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in G v X School, which is authority for the proposition that Article 6 ECHR requires that a claimant should be afforded an opportunity to be legally represented at a disciplinary/appeal hearing where it was determinative of a right to practise a profession. 

G was a teaching assistant at X school. An allegation was made that he had had sexual contact with a 15 year-old boy. The school governors conducted a disciplinary hearing and dismissed him, reporting his dismissal to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) so that it could determine whether he should be placed on a 'barred' list of those unsuitable to work with children. G brought judicial review proceedings, challenging the governors' decisions not to allow him legal representation at a disciplinary or appeal hearing. 

The Court of Appeal, following its decision in Kulkarni v Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Trust [2009] IRLR 829 found that (1) the right to practise a profession was a "civil right or obligation", (2) an ISA listing would fundamentally limit G's ability to practise his profession and (3) the school's internal process would have a "substantial influence or effect" on the decision-making of the ISA. G was therefore entitled to legal representation at the disciplinary and appeal hearings.