COMMISSIONS OF ENQUIRY AND PRINCIPLES OF FAIRNESS

THE DUTY TO ACT FAIRLY AND COMMISSIONS OF ENQUIRY

By Richard Clayton QC


In 2018 Richard Clayton was instructed to defend several judicial review claims in Trinidad brought against a Commission of Enquiry concerning the construction of the Las Alturas Housing Towers. These cases raised a number of interesting fairness challenges to Commissions of Enquiry. The first case to be decided was brought by the former Managing Director of the Urban Development Corporation (the UDC), Mr Calder Hart: see Calder Hart v Commission of Enquiry at Las Alturas Housing Towers CV2016-04448.

The Commission decided that Mr Calder Hart, as Managing Director of the UDC, was instrumental in acquiring the land for the Las Alturas Project. He failed to do what a prudent purchaser would do when land was being acquired. The Commission concluded that Mr Calder Hart’s failure resulted in the land being generally unsuitable for low cost housing and recommended that civil action be taken against him. Mr Calder Hart then judicially reviewed the Commission alleging that it had breached its obligation to treat him fairly.

Richard Clayton QC successfully represented the Commissioners of Enquiry in Trinidad.   The judgment can be found here.

To continue reading details of this case click here.

March 2021

Richard Clayton QC