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Apr 19, 2021

Smith Says Seniority Is Just One Factor the Court Considers

Godfrey Smith

According to Smith, there is a legal doctrine known as “legitimate expectation” which Haylock could have presented to the court, if there had been some promise made that he would have succeeded Griffith as Comptroller of Customs.


Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Government

“Essentially, that principle is that through an actual promise made to you or through some policy of the department that’s contained in some document or through some established practice that you can point to, to show the existence of something so you can rely on it.  In this case, he would have had to show either that some responsible official in the executive promised that it would be him or that there was some policy that the senior most deputy would automatically and without… ascend to be comptroller or there was some practice that the next in line proceeded to that position then it could perhaps have grounded legitimate expectation.  But seniority is but one factor to be considered in deciding who should be the Comptroller of Customs which is just one of a number of other factors.  And so, no policy could be pointed to, no promise nor any practice that it was an automatic process.  So the government’s position was, while Mr. Haylock was indeed one of three deputies and perhaps a bit more senior than the others, and while he had quite outstanding academic achievements and was clearly a highly accomplished individual, there was no legal right, no legally enforceable right that he was to be appointed or even that he had a right to be consulted in relation to this process.”

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