Additional written evidence submitted by the National Association of Legally Qualified Chairs (POP0099)




  1. As the Home Affairs Select Committee (“HASC”) is aware, on 25 November 2022, at its invitation I made written submissions on behalf of the National Association of Legally Qualified Chairs (“NALQC”) regarding its inquiry into policing priorities.
  2. In paragraphs 36 to 49 of the written submissions, I set out the reasons why the NALQC has been pressing the Home Office to introduce legislation providing all members of panels conducting police misconduct hearings with appropriate immunity from suitParagraph 46 contained the NALQC’s proposal for appropriate legislative immunity.
  3. In paragraph 47, I referred to the advice the NALQC Executive Committee has given to its members since November 2021, viz not to accept further appointments to chair misconduct hearings until the Home Office has committed to the introduction of appropriate legislative immunity for panellists.
  4. I have been asked whether, at this date, the NALQC’s Executive Committee’s advice to members remains the same.  The short answer is that it does.
  5. I have appended to this document the correspondence that has passed between the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire and the NALQC since last November.  While the initial letter from the Minister was encouraging, subsequently there has been little or no “movement” from the Home Office.  If anything, the Minister’s most recent letter appeared to set out further reasons for not addressing the issue of providing appropriate statutory immunity for all panel members.
  6. The NALQC recognises that it is not possible for appropriate legislation to be passed immediately.  However, over the last two and a half years various excuses have been put forward by the Home Office why it was not able to introduce appropriate legislation – despite being provided with a simple, straightforward proposal from the NALQC.
  7. Accordingly, what the NALQC presently seeks is a clear and open public commitment from the Home Office to introduce and pass such legislation. 
  8. At the forefront of the reasons advanced by the Home Office for not legislating has been the current, temporary provision by Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) of an indemnity to LQCs and IPMs.  However, as stated in paragraph 45 of the NALQC’s written submissions to the HASC, just under 40% of PCCs have been unable to confirm their financial ability to meet the indemnity if called upon to do so.
  9. The NALQC remains seriously concerned about the ability of PCCs to meet the indemnity if called upon to do so.  Their sincerity in offering the indemnity until June 2024 is not in doubt.  However, it is clear from discussions that have been held that a number, if not most, PCCs are simply taking a chance that they will not be called upon to meet the indemnity.
  10. It is, with respect, fundamentally important to understand the concept of an indemnity – something that is not always understood.
  11. If a successful financial claim is brought against an LQC or any panel member, the successful claimant will seek to enforce that award against the LQC or panel member personally.  The successful claimant has no right to seek to enforce the award against the PCC providing an indemnity.  It is for the LQC or panel member to seek to recover from the PCC what they have had to pay the successful claimant.
  12. If the PCC is unable to meet the indemnity, the LQC or panel member “loses their house”.  This is not a risk the NALQC Executive can advise its members to accept. It is why appropriate legislative immunity from suit is being sought.
  13. Ironically, were a PCC to “default” and not be able to meet the indemnity, it is unlikely that the relevant LQC or panel member would be able to bring a claim against the PCC.  The PCC would be protected by statutory immunity similar to that presently sought by the NALQC on behalf of all panellists.
  14. In paragraph 48 of the NALQC’s written submissions to the HASC, I referred to the number of cases where, as of last October, it had not been possible to appoint LQCs to chair following the advice to members.  An update was provided by the APCC to the PAB(EW) Discipline Sub-Committee on 18 April last.  I am unable to provide the HASC with the precise numbers as the information was provided confidentially.  Suffice it to say, the backlog of hearings remains significant.  (It may be that the APCC or the APACE can provide the information to the HASC.)
  15. By way of a “postscript” to the above, it may be of interest to the HASC to know that all LQCs in the Eastern Region (including myself) received a letter dated 31 March 2023 from the Deputy CEO of the Hertfordshire OPCC, purportedly on behalf of all PCCs in the Eastern Region.  The letter concerned the re-appointment of current LQCs in that Region, but contained the following sentence: Those LQCs who have declined to sit because of concerns about the Home Office view of the status of LQCs and indemnity from suit will not be reappointed”.
  16. Having taken the matter up on behalf of Eastern Region members of the NALQC, I was told that, despite its apparently unambiguous terms, this was a proposal on which comments were being invited.
  17. Needless to say, it is of great concern to the NALQC that a proposal, that appears to unfairly discriminate against LQCs who have followed the NALQC Executive’s advice, should even be “put out for consultation”.
  18. As before, the NALQC trusts the above submissions will assist the HASC in its inquiry.
  19. If required, it is happy to provide further information and to provide oral evidence to the HASC.



John Bassett

(President, NALQC)


May 2023