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DHSC appeal over disclosure in Ranson case dismissed

Deemster rules solicitor can give evidence to tribunal

The Department of Health and Social Care has lost its bid to stop a lawyer giving evidence about the disclosure of documents in the tribunal of the former medical director.

It had launched an appeal in August concerning the information which Anna Heeley, of the Attorney General’s Chambers, could provide.

At Douglas Courthouse last week lawyers for the DHSC, and those representing Dr Rosalind Ranson, met in the High Court in front of Deemster Corlett so the appeal could be heard.

You can find out more HERE.

Miss Heeley, who is not a Manx advocate, is a solicitor on the staff of the AG’s Chambers and represented the department until recently in the Employment and Equality Tribunal brought by Dr Ranson.

Earlier this year that tribunal ruled that the former DHSC employee had been unfairly dismissed from her role and had ‘suffered detriments’ as a result of having made protected disclosures.

Issues with the information disclosed during the tribunal are part of an ongoing investigation – the DHSC had lodged the appeal arguing that Miss Heeley would be breaching legal professional privilege (LLP) if she was to give evidence.

However Deemster Corlett ruled that it was not an issue and had not been one since 9 August when the tribunal had made a clarification over the wording used in an order it issued.

However the DHSC had maintained that, not withstanding that clarification, there remained an issue and that it was an ‘error of law’.

Deemster Corlett highlighted that the tribunal’s ‘major concerns’ about disclosure ‘cannot be in any doubt’ adding that he was confident Miss Heeley could provide details without a breach of LLP.

He added that the employment tribunal was entitled to come to the view that ‘their best hope of getting near to the truth about disclosure’ was to require Miss Heeley to provide information about how she had, personally, approached disclosure.

This, Deemster Corlett said, was due to key witness Kathryn Magson – the department’s former chief executive - being out of jurisdiction and ‘seemingly reluctant to provide information voluntarily’.

He determined that Miss Heeley was, and is, capable of providing factual and relevant evidence to the tribunal.

Dismissing the DHSC appeal Deemster Corlett said he was aware the issue of costs ‘may prove to be contentious’ and a hearing will be fixed to determine the point.  

You can find the full judgement HERE.

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