18 March 2008

Minister of Health, Hawkes Bay DHB and the report on conflicts of interest

> LAWS179: "Minister of Health, Hawkes Bay DHB and 'serious dissatisfaction'" Much of the discussion surrounding the report released yesterday on conflicts of interest in the Hawkes Bay DHB seems to be suggesting that the report vindicates the decision of the Minister to dismiss the Board. I'm not convinced. It seems likely that the issues raised in the report could, theoretically, form a foundation for the Minister's determination of "serious dissatisfaction". However, given these issues (largely) arose before the election of the Board that was dismissed, could the Minister have had regard to these issues? There's an interpretative question about whether dissatification with the Board means the actual Board members dismissed, or whether it extends to the enduring corporate entity of the Board. As an aside, it's clear he didn't base his dismissal on the report itself - because he said he had not seen it at the time; although the generic issue of the management of conflict of interests was put in issue by the Auditor-General's report. There remains questions about whether he was entitled, as a matter of law, to the other matters he based his decision on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you elaborate on the last line of this post.?

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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