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Administrative decisions must be reasoned so that a person can decide whether to challenge them

By: James Cross BL

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High Court grants judicial review of the decision the Irish Prison Service refusing to treat a prison officer’s absence from work arising from an incident as an occupational injury, on the grounds that the initial decision and the appeal decision failed to give adequate reasons.

Judicial review – challenge to the decision of the Irish Prison Service refusing to treat a prison officer’s absence from work arising from an incident as an occupational injury – prison office was not entitled to be paid while on leave arising from the incident – injured whilst restraining a violent prisoner – application refused – appeal upheld decision – delay – whether the application was out of time – when time began to run - reasonable for him to decide to wait to contact his solicitor until he had gone to the medical appointment - lack of clarity of the purpose of the CMO intervention – relevant date was the date on which he received a letter referring to his recent telephone call regarding a refusal of an occupational injury and reminds him that in the letter wherein he was advised that no further appeal would be considered - clear that the prison officer is outside the three- month time limit by 5 days - whether there ought to be an extension of time – whether there was sufficient evidence - law on extension of time - whether good and sufficient reasons have been established for the extension of time – reasons in decisions inadequate – this hindered the prison officer’s efforts to instruct solicitors and to decide whether or not to take proceedings by this failure - identified good and sufficient reasons to extend the time by a period of 5 days – applicable policy – impugned decision – adequacy of reasons - not possible to understand why the governor did not issue a recommendation - not open to a decision maker to sit on the fence and seek to have her decision characterised as anything other than what it is – a refusal to make a recommendation in favour of the absence being deemed OID related - administrative decisions must be reasoned is so that a person can decide whether or not to challenge them – appeal - appeal was one in name only and did not involve a substantive review of the first instance decision - presence or absence of a governor recommendation is being treated as determinative - no new look by anybody at the refusal to issue a governor’s recommendation - failure to give adequate reasons for initial decision and appeal – right to be heard - entitled to a reasoned decision - had the obligation to give reasons been observed, the prison officer would have been able to address the issues alleged in disentitling him from relief and put forward any arguments he wished in relation to the question of alleged negligence on his part – reasonableness – lack of equal treatment – alternative remedy – judicial review granted –

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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