The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in G v X School, confirming that Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights requires that an employee should be allowed legal representation at a disciplinary/appeal meeting in circumstances where his profession is threatened.

G was a teaching assistant at X school. An allegation was made that he had had sexual contact with a 15 year old boy. The school governors conducted a disciplinary hearing and dismissed him, reporting his dismissal to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) so that it could determine whether he should be placed on a ‘barred’ list of those unsuitable to work with children. G brought judicial review proceedings, challenging the governors’ decision not to allow him legal representation at a disciplinary or appeal hearing.

The Court of Appeal found that the right to practise a profession was protected by the Convention and that an ISA listing would fundamentally limit G’s ability to practise his profession. It also decided that the school’s internal process would have a “substantial infl uence or effect” on the decision-making of the ISA. G was therefore entitled to legal representation at the disciplinary and appeal hearings. Currently this case is of direct effect only to public sector employees who can rely on the Convention.

G v X School