The Treasury’s appeal against the award of more than £30,000 to two former MHKs has failed.
Geoffrey Boot and Martyn Perkins were both awarded £33,778.50 by the employment and equality tribunal in November.
Following the 2021 election, in which the former MHKs were unsuccessful in securing re-election, the men were informed that due to their age, they would not be receiving the usual payout.
That payment, made under the Resettlement Grant Scheme, provides that if a member under 60 years of age who has served at least two years is unsuccessful in seeking re-election to either the Keys or the Legislative Council, he or she will be paid the equivalent of six months’ basic salary.
The tribunal, chaired by Douglas Stewart, agreed that the pair had been discriminated against and duly ruled in their favour.
However, in December 2022, the Treasury, through its advocate Anna Heeley, sort an appeal on the grounds that an administrative error had been made, that the panel was mistaken in its view of the law, that new evidence had come to light that couldn’t have been foreseen at the time of the hearing and that it was in the interests of justice to review the decision.
Ms Heeley argued that the compensation paid to Mr Boot and Mr Perkins should have been limited to £22,561, as the new figure would only have been applicable to MHKs or MLCs being elected after July 2021.
This point was not argued at the original hearing and so the tribunal said it has no reason to believe that the lesser figure of £22,561 might be payable, as opposed to the £33,778.50 it awarded.
Mr Stewart also rejected the idea that this was new evidence that couldn’t have been known about before October 2022.
He also disagreed that it would be in the interest of justice to reopen the issue.
Ultimately, Mr Stewart disagreed with all of the Treasury’s arguments and determined that ‘there was no reasonable prospect of the decision being varied or revoked’.
The latest ruling said: ‘The chairman did consider whether it would be appropriate to reconvene the full panel and to receive oral submissions to enhance those already fulsomely provided.
‘He determined this not to be necessary or consistent with the overriding objective because the grounds advanced by Ms Heeley had little or no merit and certainly insufficient merit to justify the expense of holding a review hearing.’