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CS, Re Judicial Review; QBNI 30 Apr 2015

References: [2015] NIQB 36
Links: Bailii
Coram: Horner J
QBNI This is a judicial review of decisions made on 24 September 2014 and 1 October 2014 by Queen’s University Belfast (‘QUB’) to ‘temporarily withdraw’ the applicant from the University for the duration of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (‘SOPO’) which expires on 5 September 2019, after which period the applicant could apply to the University for re-admission. It is important to emphasise that this is not an appeal on the merits. This is an application for judicial review.
[2] The court has declined to grant the judicial review for the following reasons:
(i) It has concluded that the Board of Visitors has exclusive jurisdiction to hear the applicant’s appeal from the decisions of which he complains, subject to four exceptions. These are that the Board can be subject to judicial review when it exceeds its jurisdiction, abuses its powers, breaches the principles of natural justice and/or does not protect the rights a party enjoys under the European Convention of Human Rights (‘the Convention’).
(ii) Regardless of the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board, the court requires the applicant to exhaust his remedy before that Board prior to seeking any judicial review.
(iii) The judicial and extra judicial support from many eminent legal figures for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board of Visitors offered over hundreds of years, remains as true today as when it was originally offered. Indeed, there are good grounds for concluding that the judicial tide flows even more strongly in favour of hearings taking place before such bodies. Of course, as a public authority the Board is now obliged to act in a Convention compliant way.
(iv) In any event the challenge is premature. The process has not yet run its course. At common law and under the Convention, the whole process has to be considered in assessing whether there have been breaches of the applicant’s convention or common law rights. The court is not in a position, nor should it try to determine whether the applicant’s common law or convention rights have been infringed. This should only take place after there has been a full hearing before the Board of Visitors.
Statutes: European Convention of Human Rights

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