UKPC 42
Privy Council Appeal No 0003 of 2011
Saint Aubin Limitee (Appellant) v Alain Jean Francois Doger de Speville (Respondent)
From the Supreme Court of Mauritius
JUDGMENT DELIVERED BY
23 NOVEMBER 2011
Heard on 31 October 2011
(Instructed by M A Law Solicitors LLP)
Maxime Sauzier SC
(Instructed by Blake Lapthorn Solicitors)
The first set of grounds: jurisdictional and constitutional points
"Except with the permission of the Chief Justice, no Magistrate shall, with or without remuneration, hold any office other than that of the Magistrate and perform any duties other than those relating to his office."
S.124 provides that the Chief Justice may direct another Magistrate to replace any Magistrate incapable of acting for any reason. In the light of these sections and Mr Joseph's Rwandan appointment, the appellant's case suggests that "these conditions went to the root of [the Vice-President's] jurisdiction", and that the Supreme Court's failure to enquire into them resulted in the appellant "entertaining doubts" as to whether the Vice-President was empowered by law to deliver judgment as he did on 14 October 2008.
"Except with the agreement of all the parties, all proceedings of every court …., including the announcement of the decision of the court …. shall be held in public."
The appellant acknowledges that it is established law, both in Mauritius and in the European Court of Human Rights in Pretto v Italy (App. No. 7984/77)  ECHR 7984/77, that a practice of informing the parties by circular that judgment had been filed for inspection in the registry does not offend such a provision. But it argues that this practice is excluded by the special features of the s.11 of the Industrial Court Act, which requires the magistrate to explain to the losing party its right of appeal. The appellant states that the practice actually followed is to hold an oral hearing, at which the magistrate draws attention not only to only s.11, but also to ss.12 and 13 of the same Act (which permit an alternative method of challenge, by way of review by the Chief Justice or a judge deputed by him – a process said to offer a losing party the advantage of an unfettered review of both fact and law).
The second set of grounds: was there a constructive and unjustified dismissal?
"the fact remains that all these reasons do not pertain to the reorganisation of the particular garage of which [Mr de Spéville] was in charge or the whole enterprise of which it formed part. In fact, the distillery was a new enterprise which the defendant believed, as it was entitled to, it could engage in view of the difficulties of the sugar industries that were looming ahead."
"the post of transport and workshop manager and for that matter the garage did not cease to be part of the activities of Saint Aubin Ltée."
However, it added:
"Further, apart from the assertions of Mr Guimbeau, all the evidence pointed to the fact that the distillery was still at a very preliminary stage. It can therefore be hardly said that the better interests of Saint Aubin Ltée required that the contract of employment of Mr de Spéville be substantially modified."