Case No. 10/15
IN THE CHARITY TRIBUNAL FOR NORTHERN IRELAND THE CHARITIES ACTS (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2008-2013
THE CHARITY TRIBUNAL RULES (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2010
THE CHARITY COMMISSION FOR NORTHERN IRELAND Respondent
1. The application lodged with the Tribunal on 12 January 2016 by the Applicant is not a valid application in law and may not be admitted for hearing.
2. No Order as to costs.
1. A Directions Hearing in these proceedings,at the instance of the Tribunal,was held on 29
January 2016 to determine,inter alia,whether the application lodged on behalf of the Applicant by his representative on 12 January 2016 was a valid application and could be admitted for hearing and,if so,whether time should be extended to admit the application for hearing since it was late application.This was a preliminary question that fell to be determined by the Tribunal.
2. The Applicant was not present but was represented by his stated representative.The
Respondent was also represented.
3. The Attorney-General had been invited by the Tribunal to participate in the hearing in the particular circumstances ofthis application and his previous involvement in a matter touching upon the Applicant.However,the attorney-General declined to participate and was not represented.
4. The Tribunalheard oralsubmissions from the representatives of the Applicant and the Respondent on the issue of whether the application lodged by the Applicant (notwithstanding the fact that no application document signed by the Applicant was before the Tribunal) could be accepted as a valid appeal.The Applicant's representative also,on the day of the hearing produced a written submission that was also considered by the Tribunal.
5. The Applicant had,on 4 September 2014,lodged an application challenging the decision of the Respondent made on to institute a statutory inquiry into the institution known as the Disabled Police Officers' Association of Northern Ireland ('the Charity'). This application was
application was not extended. In addition,the Tribunalmade a decision that the Applicant did not have standing to challenge the institution of the said statutory inquiry.The application of the Applicant was not, therefore, admitted for hearing. The Applicant did not seek leave to appeal either decision to the High Court. At all material times,the Applicant had the benefit of legal advice.
6. The Attorney-General sought, and was granted,leave to appeal the latter decision of the Tribunal to the High Court by the Tribunal. In a decision delivered on 4 December 2015,the High Court allowed the appeal and set aside the said latter decision of the Tribunal,that is, that a trustee did have standing to challenge a decision of the Respondent to institute a statutory inquiry into a Charity. However,the High Court noted that the outcome of the appeal to it was somewhat academic and further noted that the Applicant had no interest, that is,a legalinterest,personally,in the outcome of the appeal. It is important to note that the Attorney-General did not bring his appeal to the High Court on behalf of the Applicant but on his own behalf pursuant to his statutory role in relation to charities in Northern Ireland generally,in the public interest,as set out in Section 15 of the Charities Act
(Northern Ireland) 2008 and Rules 22 and 35 of the Charity Tribunal Rules (Northern Ireland)
7. The Applicant had resigned as a trustee of the Charity on 20 April 2015:he was not removed from the office of trustee by an Order of the Respondent.
8. Nevertheless,it was on foot of the decision of the High Court that the Applicant now sought to bring a fresh application to the Tribunal to challenge the institution of the said statutory inquiry into the Charity. This was misconceived on his part. Moreover,this was the only
basis upon which the Applicant sought to bring his fresh application.
9. The Applicant had no basis in law, in any event,to bring the fresh application since the Tribunalhad not extended time to allow him to bring his original application and that decision had not been the subject of an application by the Applicant for leave to appeal to the High Court,nor was it the subject of the appeal by the Attorney-General to the High Court.
10. On both bases, therefore,the doctrine of res judicata operates to prevent the Applicant bringing his fresh application: the Applicant's application seeking to challenge the said decision of the Respondent made on 14 February 2014 to institute a statutory inquiry into the Charity cannot be re-litigated since a decision on the matter the subject of the application now before the Tribunalhad already been made by the Tribunal.
11. Pursuant to Rule 14(3) of the Charity Tribunal Rules (Northern Ireland) 2010,the Tribunal was satisfied that determination of this preliminary question substantially disposed of the application and has treated the Directions Hearing on that preliminary question as the hearing of the application and makes this Order disposing of the application.
12. There is no valid application before the Tribunal: the application dated 10 January 2016 is not a valid application and is not admitted for hearing.
13. In light of this decision,it was not necessary to go and consider whether the fresh application was late and,if so,whether time should be extended to allow the application to proceed.
representative assured the Tribunalthat the Appellant had signed the application document and that it was in the possession of the representative but had not been brought to the hearing. The Applicant's representative maintained that the appeal document,signed by the Appellant,had been sent to the Tribunal. The Tribunal was satisfied that no signed appeal document had been received by it from the Applicant or his representative and that only a version upon which the Applicant's name had been typed had been so received.The Applicant was directed to formally furnish the Tribunal with the application document that was signed by the Applicant by Friday,5 February 2016.The Applicant complied with this Direction.
Dated 15 February 2016
DAMIEN J. MCMAHON, President.