July 3rd, 2018 by James Goudie KC

In Taveta v FRC (2018) EWHC 1662 (Admin) Nicklin J made a number of important observations, including:-

“37.    The implied suggestion in the word “leaked” that there was something inappropriate in the media being told about the proceedings was wholly misplaced. Although, as a matter of practical expediency, urgent applications in the Administrative Court are routinely dealt with on paper, that does not in any way suggest that they are secret. The principle of open justice applies to these applications just as much to hearings in open court. As is clear from what is set out above, the Court has been astute to ensure that this matter has been conducted as far as possible in open court.”

“53.    The importance of regulators operating with transparency and openness hardly needs stating. It inspires confidence both in those who are regulated and in the wider public, and it allows areas of concern or weakness to be identified. When a regulator sanctions one of its regulated community, publicity for the sanction (and the reasons for it) promotes the maintenance of standards and protects the public from those whose standards fall below the required level. …”

“68.    I reject the submission that Hoffmann La Roche restricts the ambit of the duty of fairness to the subject of an investigation. The principle is not so limited. Of course, the subject of an investigation, whether under a statutory inquiry or as part of a regulatory process, would have a legitimate expectation that he would be afforded the opportunity to understand what was being alleged against him and to defend himself. But the principle is wider than that. There will be inquiries that do not have an individual as their focus or, as here, where third parties become embroiled in the matters under investigation. Those people may not even participate in the investigation process, but they are just as much in jeopardy if findings of misconduct are made against them in published reports without their having the opportunity to make representations prior to publication. It is that essential unfairness that lies at the heart of the rules of natural justice that have developed so clearly in the authorities to which Mr Green QC has referred me.”

Comments are closed.