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Decision to Expel Trainee Nurse Unfair

Gregory Jones QC

R (on the application of Griffiths) v Lewisham College [2007] All ER (D) 297; Queens Bench Division (Administrative Court)

The defendant, a further education college, was incorporated under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The claimant challenged the decision to expel from the college for permission to seek Judicial Review. At a rolled-up hearing the College argued that it was not susceptible to JR. Collins J held that it was settled law indicated that the combination of the source of a body's power, and the nature of the functions it performed were bases upon which it could be determined whether that body was a 'public body' for the purposes of judicial review. In the instant case, it was clear that the college was a public body, given that it had been created by statute, and that its functions had been provided for, by an order of the Secretary of State. Further, the fact that the college had received substantial funding by way of a public grant indicated that it was a public body amenable to judicial review. Permission granted.

In the circumstances, the decisions to expel the student arising out of both the disciplinary hearing and the appeal hearing had been manifestly unfair to the claimant. In the disciplinary hearing, the principal had shut his mind to the proper procedures. In addition to having fast-tracked the claimant to the disciplinary hearing stage, he had not laid out the full allegations against the claimant, the incident had not been properly investigated and the claimant had not been afforded her entitlement to put her case. In respect of the appeal hearing, it was highly material, for the Vice-Principal to have had considered the circumstances which led to the alleged breach of the contract. Further, it was clear beyond doubt that the appeal hearing had not cured the defects of the disciplinary hearing.

Gregory Jones (instructed by AP Law) appeared for the claimant.