Labour’s disciplinary procedures still need reform

JVL Introduction

H/t Jay Blackwood who has drawn attention to the recent CLPD model resolution calling for a right of appeal in disciplinary procedures.

See his Jewish Dissident blogspot

Model Resolution – Right Of Appeal On NCC Decisions

One of the most astonishing things about current Labour Party disciplinary procedures is that there is no right of appeal against NCC decisions, including suspension and expulsion. The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy recently adopted the following model resolution to address this issue.

This branch notes that at the NEC’s meeting on 18 September it was agreed to put to Conference a rule change that brought in a Charter of Members’ Rights and more than double the size of the NCC to speed up the handling of the backlog of disciplinary cases. But proposals for this long-overdue reform to the process did not include the right to appeal against NCC decisions. 

This omission harms Labour’s proud record of being Britain’s party of social justice.

Shami Chakrabarti’s 2016 Labour report into antisemitism and other forms of racism recommended:

“In cases where the NCC has ordered that a member be subject to suspension (for up to two years) or expulsion from the Party, there should be a right to seek a review of the decision on procedural or proportionality grounds to the Legal Panel, three of whom (excluding any member with previous involvement in the case) will consider whether the NCC made any procedural errors or breached proportionality in its prior determination. If this is found to be the case, the Legal Panel will refer the matter back to the NCC for a fresh determination as the case requires. In this way, the ultimate decision remains that of the NCC, albeit that greater protection will be afforded if necessary – both to those subject to the most serious disciplinary sanctions and to the elected Party body who will have a final opportunity to address any deficiencies in its decision-making. – I recommend that the NCC make provision for this right of review in new procedural rules which I recommend are adopted.”

We call on the NEC to formulate a change to the National Constitutional Committee’s procedures to include the Chakrabarti “right of review”.

 
FOR INFORMATION

Chakrabarti Right of Review  Recommendation

In cases where the NCC has ordered that a member be subject to suspension (for up to two years) or expulsion from the Party, there should be a right to seek a review of the decision on procedural or proportionality grounds to the Legal Panel, three of whom (excluding any member with previous involvement in the case) will consider whether the NCC made any procedural errors or breached proportionality in its prior determination. If this is found to be the case, the Legal Panel will refer the matter back to the NCC for a fresh determination as the case requires. In this way, the ultimate decision remains that of the NCC, albeit that greater protection will be afforded if necessary – both to those subject to the most serious disciplinary sanctions and to the elected Party body who will have a final opportunity to address any deficiencies in its decision-making. – I recommend that the NCC make provision for this right of review in new procedural rules which I recommend are adopted.

This is a link to the Report issued by the Shami Chakrabarti inquiry:

Comments (1)

  • Mike Scott says:

    I have to say that I disagree with this motion, though not because I’m a secret Blairite!

    As a retired fulltime TU Organiser, I’m something of an expert on disciplinary procedures and the problem with what’s being proposed by Chakrabarti is that she’s a lawyer, so is coming from a legal perspective. This means that appeals can only be on the basis of flawed process or proportionality – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve explained to union members that Employment Tribunals won’t actually re-hear their case.

    Disciplinary Procedures, however, normally allow appeals on any basis. The difference in practice is that if someone says a witness lied and this was ignored or glossed over by the initial Hearing – as has happened in my CLP recently – and there is strong evidence of bias or pre-judging, the Chakrabarti proposal wouldn’t allow an appeal.

    The Labour Party is part of the Labour Movement, not the legal system and it’s procedures should reflect this.

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