1.6.5 The use of case law by parties to a hearing
It is important that parties to a hearing keep any use of case law relevant to the issue. If an opposition has been lodged because of an applicant’s character, they need to make sure that any case law quoted is relevant to this point.
Parties cannot ignore case law that doesn’t support their position. Rather, they can refer the committee to case law that supports their view, and also advise the committee of any contrary case law. They can say, for example, “I refer you to Smith v Jones, in which it was decided that all hotels be painted red. There are 25 other judgments in support and one in opposition, which states that all hotels should be painted blue.”
Where parties are seeking to distinguish a precedent case (particularly one which is binding ie, a High Court decision), they will need to set out why it does not apply in this instance. For example, they need say to the court, “The [agency] submits that the finding in [case] does not apply in this instance. This is because [cite reasons].”
Where a party refers to a case, you should read the entire decision as you might have only been referred to the part that is helpful to the party. Also, ensure you check whether the quoted decision was appealed, has had other negative comment even if not appealed, and its status – was it an interim or final decision? What was the result?