R v Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, ex p Massingberd-Mundy

Reference: [1993] 2 All ER 207

Court: Divisional Court

Judge: Neill LJ and Roch J

Date of judgment: 20 Dec 1989

Summary: Judicial Review - Availability of remedy - Whether decision susceptible to judicial review

Appearances: Patrick Milmo QC - Leading Counsel (Respondent) 

Instructing Solicitors: Penningtons for the applicant; Charles Russell for the respondent

Facts

The applicant was a local steward appointed by the Jockey Club to regulate race meetings and approved to act as chairman of stewards. The Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, following the investigation of a complaint made by the applicant concerning the administration of an earlier racing inquiry, decided to withdraw his name from the list of those eligible to act as local stewards’ chairmen, but permitted him to act as a local stewards panel member. The applicant applied for judicial review of the disciplinary committee’s decision by way of a quashing order.

Issue

Whether the Jockey Club was a body whose decisions were amenable to judicial review and if so, whether the decision to withdraw the applicant’s name could be challenged.

Held

Dismissing the application; the decisions of the Jockey Club and its disciplinary committee did not fall within the sphere of public law. The proceedings before the committee were based on a consensual submission to the jurisdiction. The decision whether or not to approve the applicant to act as a local stewards’ chairman did not have a public law element or affect any public law right of the applicant.

Comment

The importance of a body in national life does not determine whether it will be held to be amenable to judicial review, but Neill LJ stated that if the issue had been free of authority the ‘near monopolistic’ powers of the Jockey Club in a prominent public activity would have encouraged him to hold the Club reviewable.