F DENTEH v (1) COMMISSIONER OF POLICE FOR THE METROPOLIS (2) E SNOW (3) C HULME (4) J PARKER (5) M HARDING (2003)
PUBLISHED June 20, 2003
There was no appearance of bias where following an adjournment the respondents had stayed behind with members of the Employment Tribunal in the absence of the appellant whilst packing up their papers.Applicant's ('D') appeal from a decision of the Employment Tribunal ('the tribunal') dismissing his claim for race discrimination, victimisation and constructive unfair dismissal. D was employed by the Metropolitan Police Service from April 1998 until his resignation in November 1998. At the hearing, an adjournment was granted so that D could obtain further evidence. D alleged that following the adjournment he left the court room, but the respondents and their legal team remained together with the members of the tribunal for 15 to 20 minutes. He alleged that during this period, further evidence was received by the tribunal and that such evidence formed the basis of the tribunal's final decision. D appealed on the grounds that the tribunal permitted the appearance of bias in allowing the respondents and their legal team to remain in the hearing room at the conclusion of the hearing.HELD: (1) The correct test for determining whether an appearance of bias was made out was that formulated by Lord Philips MR in Re Medicaments and Related Classes of Goods No 2 (2001) 1 WLR 700 and approved by Lord Bingham in Magill v Porter (2001) UKHL 67. The test required the court to: (i) ascertain all the circumstances which had a bearing on the suggestion that the judge was biased; and (ii) determine whether those circumstances would lead a fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased. (2) In the present case, the facts showed that the respondents had stayed for only a short time after D had left, primarily to pack up its papers. There were no circumstances that gave rise to an appearance of bias on the part of the tribunal. The tribunal's decision was fair and there was no evidence to indicate any bias on its part.Appeal dismissed.