Adjournment granted to enable party to obtain alternative representation
The Commission has granted an adjournment in an appeal against the decision of the Commissioner of Police to remove a Police Officer, to enable the applicant to obtain representation and adequately prepare her case.
The appellant was a First-Class Constable in the Western Australian Police Force. The appellant was removed from the Police Force by the respondent on 6 April 2021 and filed an appeal against her removal under s 33P of the Police Act 1892 (WA). The Commission listed the appeal for hearing on 25 November 2021, having regard to the appellant’s request for sufficient time to obtain legal representation and to attend to certain medical matters. On 12 November 2021, the appellant sought an adjournment of the appeal.
The appellant sought an adjournment on the basis of difficulties encountered with her legal representatives. The appellant indicated that she had consulted solicitors and had believed they were going to represent her. It was not until 12 November 2021 that the appellant contended that she discovered this was not so, and her case on the appeal had not been prepared. The appellant contended that she was therefore unprepared to proceed with the appeal and required further time to obtain alternative legal representation. The appellant noted that, in addition to not having undertaken research and preparation for the hearing, she was not medically fit to appear before the Commission. The respondent indicated that it neither consented to nor opposed the appellant’s application.
The Commission noted that it may exercise procedural powers to adjourn a proceeding to any time and place. The Commission outlined that where the refusal of an adjournment would result in a serious injustice to one party, an adjournment should be granted, unless in turn, this would mean a serious injustice to the other. The Commission noted that a lack of preparation for a proceeding is not generally in and of itself a sufficient reason to grant an adjournment
The Commission indicated that whilst it was concerned that the appellant had already been afforded a generous amount of time, it would grant an adjournment to enable her to obtain alternative representation and prepare her case.
The decision can be read here.