A deputy master at the Court of Appeal has failed to secure an injunction against the Ministry of Justice to prevent a disciplinary hearing being held against him.
Robert Hendy, employed by the MoJ as a lawyer since 2002, was suspended in December 2011 after allegations by two solicitor colleagues of bullying and undermining of other members of staff.
Hendy denied and continues to deny the allegations.
But an investigation report by the MoJ found evidence of serious misconduct and Hendy was dismissed in March 2013.
He appealed the decision on the basis that the complainants were not sufficiently cross-examined by investigators. He said his responses to the allegations were not put in full to those who had complained about him.
A second investigation upheld the finding of gross misconduct, prompting Hendy to serve an application seeking injunctive relief.
Following a four-day hearing in the High Court (Chancery Division) last month, Mr Justice Mann found that Hendy’s application for an interim injunction restraining the pursuit of the disciplinary process had failed and ought to be dismissed.
Mann said the MoJ had done enough to test the complainants’ credibility, even without putting Hendy’s case on all allegations. ‘The process is not akin to a major trial, at which the whole factual case of one party is (by and large) expected to be put to the other,’ said Mann.
‘An investigator cannot be expected to do that, and it is not necessary or reasonable to require it.’
Mann said it was ‘sufficiently plain’ that the investigator’s procedures were fair enough to prevent there being a breach of contract, as Hendy had argued.
The judge also made it clear employees cannot assume the court will always intervene whenever there is perceived unfairness in a disciplinary procedure. ‘The court cannot micro-manage employment disputes,’ added Mann.
Hendy had been appointed in 2007 as acting senior lawyer in the civil appeals office and in 2008 was appointed deputy master at the Court of Appeal.
Two female lawyers in the Court of Appeal made written complaints against Hendy in December 2011. Hendy’s case was, and remains, that the complainants ‘trumped up’ allegations against him.