Maubury -v- The Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, [2016] IEHC 224 (2016)

Docket Number:2013 796JR
Party Name:Maubury, The Commissioner of An Garda Siochana
 
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THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW [2013 No. 796 JR]

BETWEEN

SHARON MAYBURYAPPLICANTAND

THE COMMISSIONER OF AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA RESPONDENT

JUDGMENT of Ms. Justice Baker delivered on the 3rd day of May, 2016.

  1. The applicant is a member of An Garda Síochána and brings this application for judicial review arising from the decision of the respondent to transfer her from Killarney Garda Station to Tralee Garda Station on or about the 5th June, 2012. She seeks an order of certiorari quashing the decision and/or a declaration that in seeking to transfer her, the respondent acted without jurisdiction, in breach of fair procedures and in breach of the Garda Síochána Code ("the Code"). The applicant asserts that it was not her wish to move to work in Tralee, and that she did not apply for a transfer. The facts may briefly be stated.

    Facts

  2. On the 5th June, 2012 the applicant was directed by the Chief Superintendent in Killarney to take up duties in Tralee Garda Station on the following day, the 6th June, 2012. The applicant did attend at Tralee Garda Station on the 6th June, 2012 but asserts that she did so as a matter of courtesy, not with a view to accepting the transfer, and as she so communicated to the Assistant Commissioner.

  3. There is a process of appeal within the Code and this admits of appeal or review at a number of levels. The complex stages of the processes for appeals and reviews are set out in Chapter 8. In Noonan v. Commissioner of an Garda Síochána [2007] IEHC 354 McKechnie J. accepted as a matter of principle that members of An Garda Síochána:

    “have a legitimate expectation that the provisions of the Gardaí code would be applied unless there was a legal justification for not so doing.”

  4. Having considered the judgment of the Supreme Court in Glencar Exploration Plc v. Mayo County Council [2002] 1 I.R. 84, he went on to say that the legitimate expectation of a Garda in regards to the operation of the Code:

    “stems from the existence and publication of the Code and that the applicant’s standing to rely upon it arises from his membership of An Garda Síochána to whom the Code is addressed.” (para. 26)

  5. The applicant’s first appeal against her transfer was rejected on the 12th July, 2012 on the grounds that an appeal could not retrospectively alter a transfer which had already occurred. This was based on a view that the applicant had accepted the transfer by attending at Tralee on the 6th June, 2012.

  6. She then asked for the matter to be submitted to the Garda Commissioner in accordance with the provisions of Article 8.13(5) of the Code. This second stage of appeal was commenced on the 7th August, 2012. Her file was referred back by the Commissioner to the same Assistant Commissioner who had earlier reviewed the decision. On the 24th September, 2012 her Chief Superintendent was informed that her appeal was rejected, and on the 7th November, 2012 her solicitor was informed by the Commissioner that this appeal was rejected.

  7. On the 6th November, 2012 the applicant availed of the third procedural stage and applied for a review by the Transfers Review Body pursuant to the provisions of Article 8.14 of the Code. The Transfers Review Body met to hear the appeal on the 22nd April, 2012 and adjourned to the 29th August, 2012. On the 17th October, 2013 the Transfers Review Body informed the applicant that her appeal on review had been rejected.

  8. The applicant asserts that the procedures adopted by the respondent are fundamentally unfair, and that at each stage of review and appeal the decision of the relevant body came to its decision on an erroneous view that she was seeking to retrospectively appeal what had been a valid transfer.

  9. The respondent argues that the applicant had agreed to transfer from Killarney to Tralee as part of a compromise reached with the assistance of her representative association, arising from so-called “performance issues”, and because she would be subject to a greater degree of supervision in Tralee Garda Station. It is asserted that the applicant agreed to transfer at a meeting on the 4th May, 2012 and that she confirmed her agreement on the 5th June, 2012, the day before she attended at Tralee Garda Station.

    Time limits

  10. By way of preliminary objection the respondent objects to the application for judicial review on the grounds that the applicant is out of time. It is asserted that time began to run when the applicant was directed to transfer to Tralee Garda Station on the 5th June, 2012, and that as the leave application was not brought until the 4th November, 2013, the applicant is out of time and has offered no justifying reason which would entitle her to an extension of time.

  11. This issue can best be dealt with by first determining what decision is impugned in the present application for judicial review.

    Which decisions are subject to this application?

  12. The applicant has sought to challenge four decisions: the decision of the 5th of June, 2012 transferring her, the decision of the 12th of July, 2012 by which her first appeal was rejected; and the decision of the 7th of November 2012 when her appeal to the Commissioner was rejected and the final rejection on 17th October 2013 by the Transfers Review Body.

  13. The role of the High Court in a judicial review where an applicant has exhausted internal remedies has been...

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