Court of Appeal confirms immunity of the Police Misconduct Panel

On 20th January 2016, judgment was handed down in P v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2016] EWCA Civ 2 by the Court of Appeal. Laws, Lewison, Christopher Clarke LLJ confirmed that discrimination allegations could not be brought against the Police Misconduct Panel. The Panel enjoys immunity from suit, and the Claimant’s allegations that the Panel had discriminated against her in reaching its decision to dismiss her for gross misconduct could not be brought before the Employment Tribunal.


EAT summarised the facts of the case:

“The Claimant, a serving Police Officer, was assaulted in 2010 in consequence of which she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. She complained in an application to the ET that she did not have support at work to help her cope with the consequences of that condition, aggravated by the fact that just prior to 12th September 2011 she had worked excessively long hours. On that date, whilst in drink, she was involved in an incident which led to her arrest and dismissal. Her behaviour had bizarre features to it. She asserted that it was heavily affected by her PTSD. After investigation, she was brought on a disciplinary charge before the Police Misconduct Board. There, save for one matter of fact (which the Board resolved in her favour) she accepted that she had been culpably guilty of the misconduct alleged. She had a good record as a Police Officer, and relied on that and her condition in mitigation. The Board nonetheless decided on 12th November 2012 that she should be dismissed from the Force without notice."

Her allegation of disability discrimination were the focus of the Court of Appeal proceedings, as her claim of unfair dismissal had been struck out.

The decision

The decision firmly re-establishes the immunity enjoyed by the Panel as a judicial body, first recognised by the Court of Appeal in Heath v Commission of Police of the Metropolis. The Claimant’s argument that Heath no longer applied in light of the Court of Appeal’s decisions in Lake v British Transport Police and Singh v Reading Borough Council was rejected as “entirely hopeless.”

Jesse Crozier acted for the successful Respondent, the Commissioner’s Directorate of Legal Services. He appeared as sole counsel in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal and was led by Tom Linden QC, Matrix Chambers, in the Court of Appeal. The judgment is available here.

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