Thomas V University of Bradford

By | 26th April 2017

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Thomas V University of Bradford

Thomas V University of Bradford

The lecturer sought an order for the University to comply with what he understood were its own rules. The House considered the availability of a remedy of certiorari in challenging a decision of the University visitors.
Held: A university is not a public body and its decisions are not subject to judicial review. Where an applicant’s Convention Rights, in particular Art 6, are not engaged then the matters in dispute would presently fall exclusively within the visitorial jurisdiction of the university – subject only to the possibility that any ultimate decision of the Board of Visitors might itself be judicially reviewable. Someone such as a professor may be both office holder and employee.
Lord Griffiths said: ‘the exclusivity of the jurisdiction of the visitor is in English law beyond doubt and established by an unbroken line of authority spanning the last three centuries from Philips v Bury (1694) Skin 447 to Hines v Birkbeck College (1985) 3 All ER 15L.’ and ‘I now turn to consider the scope of the visitatorial jurisdiction. The jurisdiction stems from the power recognised by the common law in the founder of an eleemosynary corporation to provide the laws under which the object of his charity was to be governed and to be sole judge of the interpretation and application of these laws either by himself or by such person as he should appoint as a visitor.’