Is there a solicitor in the house? British Law...

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  • cherub

    Apologies for the possibly boring subject matter but I find this handforth parish council thing fascinating.

    Recap/Explanation is here.…

    News 4 made a video about it, but they didn't answer their own question. Did Jackie Weaver have the authority? (to remove the chair from the meeting)

    The news 4 video is not useful, but there are some valuable clues to this mystery in the comments:

    Martin Pollard: "He was in breach of the code of conduct for members, by the rules he should have ejected himself. Alas nobody anticipated a chair to disrupt the meeting. Under employment law he basically just exposed the council to a bullying and harassment claim.

    He also put himself in a catch 22 procedurally. If, as he claimed the meeting wasn’t lawful, then he had no authority to chair it, it would be just a random zoom meeting. He probably would have been better off boycotting with his supporters it to deny the meeting quorum."

    My initial thoughts- two goods points. Now the council can be sued. Also, if the meeting wasn't lawful he had no business trying to chair it. Two glaring mistakes.

    Teddy Graham: "@Martin Pollard: Wrong. The standing orders require the chair to first official note disruption and then there is a vote on the next steps. If he did not officially note them, which he didn't, then there could be no vote or any actions taken. Especially not by an unelected clerk."

    Ohhhhh plot twist. Jackie did not put it up for a vote on the next steps. She just did an IRC /kb and booted the chair unilaterally. Uh oh.

    Martin Pollard: "@Teddy Graham: Like I said, the standing orders are flawed..." then he goes on to quote law code on courtesy, bullying, and improper behavior.

    Ok, ok.

    Teddy Graham: "@Martin Pollard: The Commons has a similar issue in its Standing Orders. But it does not mean the Clerk could expel the Speaker because the Speaker was behaving so outrageously that he was acting in breach of employment law. I think you are conflating several legal issues, when in reality we're dealing with one: the standing orders. In law, there is not always a sensible outcome! Also the code of conduct is a set of guidelines -- the bullying rules you mention might have monitoring consequences, but breach has no procedural effect."

    So two things. One, following the law doesn't always produce a sensible outcome. Two, the code of conduct is only a set of guidelines.

    Whew! I'm in over my head. I'm calling for backup.

    I realize we have no proper solicitors here. But based on the facts available, what do you think?

    Did Jackie Weaver have the authority?

  • cherub-1

    A proper solicitor turned up.