Before you read the Chief Officer’s affidavit, we thought it would be beneficial for readers to understand why the Royal Court did not look at - or rule on - the “original” suspension of Chief Officer Power invoked by the previous Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis.
The law on judicial review by the courts positions - a judicial review as a "last resort" option when all other alternatives have been tried and have failed ... a court will refuse an application, whatever its merits, where there is an "alternative remedy" available. In the case of Chief Officer Power the court ruled that the review of the suspension by the current Home Affairs Minister was an "alternative remedy" which effectively cancelled out the original suspension decision.
It could therefore only argue against the "most recent decision" which was the decision of the current Home Affairs Minister, Ian Le Marquand that he was renewing the suspension on his own authority. He did this through a process lasting a couple of days.
The court ruled that he (ILM) followed a fair process in reaching his decision. The court does not pass judgement on whether his decision was the best decision he could have taken, whether it was wise, or whether there was a cheaper alternative. The court just ruled that he acted within his powers. It was a decision he was entitled to take in the way that he took it, whatever its merits.
They held that the review held by ILM in February and March 2009 constituted an "alternative remedy" and so it effectively removed any right of the court to review the first decision. All that said, the court did an unusual thing. Having ruled themselves unable pass judgement on the first decision they decided to make comment upon it nevertheless. They could not formally rule that it was illegal, but they recorded the view that it did not meet the required standards.. The language used by the court is a little obscure, but it might be translated by some, that the judgement was saying that if the first suspension had ever come to court it would have been ruled to be illegal.... read more
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