Judicial Review Could Be Sought Over Chief Exec’s Suspension

Council Chief Executive, Philip Hygate

Philip Hygate’s legal team has informed the Council that they are considering applying for a judicial review over the suspension of the Chief Executive.

They’ve issued what’s termed a pre-action protocol letter.

They don’t believe that the Policy and Resources committee had the authority to suspend the Chief Executive, a point made by Mr Hygate’s advisor in that Council meeting.

We understand that the Council has been asked to reply by the 15th November and the authority’s legal advisors are handling the matter.

It’s also emerged that two councillors proposed alternatives to the suspension of Mr Hygate during the P&R meeting, held on October the 30th.

In the private part of the meeting, after the public and press were asked to leave, Cllr Fred Ticehurst wanted to start a, “process of conciliation…with the intention of improving the understanding and relationship between the Chairman of Council and the Chief Executive.”

Christine Savill backed that suggestion, but the proposal was defeated when members voted on it.

The next option, to suspend and investigate Mr Hygate’s conduct, was supported by Cllrs McCarthy, Mumford, Martin, Pearson, C Thomas and O’Neill. Cllrs Christine Savill and Fred Ticehurst voted against it.

Mr Hygate denies the allegations about him.

Council Chairman, Mike Hicks told us that he expected the investigation process to last between 6 and 8 weeks, but should a judicial review be pursued and granted, it could take significantly longer to bring this matter to a conclusion.


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