The following was extracted from the Facebook page of Christ Church West (BLP), posted by Lynette Eastmond, one of the lawyers representing Maria Agard in the unprecedented matter of a sitting MP expelled […]from a political party.
WHICH ONE OF YOU DOES NOT WISH TO BE TREATED FAIRLY?
Every individual sojourning in this fair land of ours has the right to be treated fairly. This is a right born out of our natural sense of what is right and wrong and has been set down through case law. Natural Justice is a part of the Common Law inherited from the British. When you become an employee of a company or if you become a member of an unincorporated association the cloak of Natural Justice remains your right. You continue to be clothed by it. There is no carve out for associations or their leadership even in circumstances where they consider themselves special or above the law.
There are a number of principles which would seem obvious to individuals whether they are lawyers or not. We have heard it said time and time again that you can not be a judge in your own cause and this is one of the basic tenets of natural justice. Let us take a hypothetical case. A membership organisation appoints an Executive Committee to lead the organisation. The Executive Committee decides that it might wish to discipline a member. It sends one of its members out to investigate and lay the charges. The Executive Committee endorses these charges and then invites the member to a meeting to be heard or to be disciplined. This would seem to me to be in breach of the rules of natural justice where you can sit as prosecutor, judge and jury. The disciplinary panel must appear to be biased. And yet another point. Individuals who have a pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest in the outcome should not sit on a disciplinary panel. For example if the person who chairs the disciplinary panel can determine the professional future of even one of those comprising the panel, then certainly there is a possibility that that panel will be biased. And that is all the law requires, a possibility of bias.
THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING.