Parties – person assisting claimant in Labour Tribunal proceedings found guilty of insulting behaviour – proper parties to appeal – person committed for contempt and Secretary for Justice as respondent, not Presiding Officer
In Labour Tribunal proceedings, the Presiding Officer found X, a person assisting the claimant, guilty of insulting behaviour under s. 42 of the Labour Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 25). X issued a notice of appeal naming the Presiding Officer as the respondent. By consent, X and the Secretary for Justice (the “SJ”) applied for an order that the Presiding Officer cease to be a party to the appeal and that the proceedings be re-intituled “In Re: [X]” with the SJ listed as intervener.
Held, granting the order sought, that:
- The proper parties to appeals of this nature, like an appeal against a summary determination by a presiding judicial officer in respect of a contempt of court, should be the person committed for contempt and the SJ. The presiding officer should not be a party. Nor should the parties to the proceedings below be involved in the appeal (Re Perkins  4 VR 505 applied).
- Here, X was the person committed and the SJ should be the respondent. The role of the SJ in contempt of court cases was akin to that of the Attorney General in England. As guardian of the public interest, he had an important duty to safeguard the due administration of justice in contempt and s. 42 cases.
- While the Court was content to adopt the agreed course proposed by the parties in the appeal, in similar cases in future, the proper course was to name the SJ as the respondent to the appeal.