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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

31 JAN 2013

R (on the application Cubells) v Independent Police Complaints Commission [2012] EWCA Civ 1292; (2012) PLLR 137

Police - alleged misconduct - Independent Police Complaints Commission - rationality of decision

A decision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission was to be upheld where the ground of appeal was that it had failed to take into account an issue that had not been clearly made out to it.

15 October 2012

Court of Appeal

Master of the Rolls; Davis LJ and Treacy LJ

(1)        The mother of the Claimant (C) died whilst in the care of a hospital which later admitted negligence. C alleged that his mother had been purposefully killed as part of a cover-up. The coroner found there was no need for an inquest, and the police found no evidence of a criminal act. The police had commissioned an independent report on which their findings were based. This report assessed the degree of negligence, if any, but the author was not aware of two key pieces of information which suggested that diagnosis could have been made earlier. C complained to the Defendant (the IPCC), who found that the officers concerned had acted appropriately and their conclusion was consistent with the expert opinion available, including the independent report.

(2)        C's sole ground of appeal was that the IPCC had acted irrationally in failing to address that the independent report could not have given an informed opinion about the extent of any negligence or any evidence of a cover-up. C appealed the Administrative Court's refusal to allow a ground of appeal based on Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

(3)        The Master of the Rolls (with whom David and Treacy LJ agreed) held (i) noting that the Court's power was one of review only (R (Muldoon) v Independent Police Complaints Commissioner [2009] EWHC 3633 applied), that the key issue C wished to have considered, that of the information unavailable to the author of the report, had not been raised either with Greater Manchester Police or the IPCC. C had submitted a great deal of complex documentation, in which the relevant issue had not been brought to the forefront. The relevant issue had not been raised on the appeal form to the IPCC. It had to be taken into account that C had not had legal representation, but the issue was not raised clearly in the supporting documentation either. The IPCC had been entitled to reach its conclusion [23] - [27]. (ii) That the renewed application based on Article 2 had been raised too late [29].

Application dismissed; application seeking to renew Article 2 point refused.

Key paragraphs

[1] - [15] - Factual background and related investigations

[16] - [17] - Proceedings below

[18] - [21] - The statutory framework

[22] - [28] - Discussion

[29] - The Article 2 of the ECHR point

[30] - Conclusion    

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