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Supreme Court rules on legal representation at disciplinary hearings

29 June 2011

The Supreme Court has ruled that employees at disciplinary hearings do not have an automatic right to be legally represented.

The case R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School followed a complaint made against a teaching assistant (G) for inappropriate sexual conduct which eventually led to his dismissal. G was not allowed legal representation at the disciplinary hearing or the appeal hearing.

This decision is highly significant because in cases such as this, there is no entitlement for a teacher to take a lawyer to an internal disciplinary meeting.

Despite the majority opinion, this is not necessarily the end of the debate so far as other professions, such as the legal profession, are concerned. If the disciplinary process involved could determine definitely the ability of a person to carry on their profession, then there is still an argument to be had that legal representation should be allowed.

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