Christou v LB Haringey [2013] EWCA Civ 178

Christou is part of the litigation following the Baby P affair. Two social workers involved in the case of Baby P had, immediately after the event, been disciplined relatively lightly. Following the criminal trial and the large amount of media attention that followed, the decision was taken to subject the social workers to more searching isciplinary proceedings the the result of which was their summary dismissal.

The main ground of the claimants’ appeal was a “double jeopardy” type argument that they ought not to have been subject to a second set of disciplinary proceedings.

The CA held that disciplinary proceedings carried out by an employer are not an adjudicative process. Rather, they are an investigation which helps the employer to ascertain what action they should take under the contract of employment. As such, no criticism could be made of the decision to commence the second set of disciplinary proceedings and to dismiss the social workers.