… and he has suffered “anguish, apprehension and £3 million in losses” since being removed from his judicial appointment at the property tribunal. And there’s the “impact on his human rights”
Mr Mire, a chartered surveyor and the CEO of Trust Property Management of Colindale, north London, was seeking a judicial review into a decision by RICS on September 5 2014 to go forward with a disciplinary hearing following an investigation that began in 2013.
Mr Mire came to public attention following complaints by leaseholders into his holding a part-time judicial appointment on the property tribunal while frequently appearing before it as a property manager.
As a result, Mr Mire was the subject of a Judicial Conduct Investigations Office hearing in 2013, but he resigned his judicial appointment before its conclusion.
In an exceptional move, the JCIO made clear that he would have been sacked in any case. It said:
“Mr Mire had failed to observe the standards that could reasonably be expected of a judicial office holder and that this failing was sufficiently serious to justify his removal from office.”
In September 2014 RICS informed Mr Mire that it was going ahead with an investigation into his professional conduct.
The high court was told that two points were at issue:
– that Mr Mire had failed to declare that he was a tribunal panel member in cases where he appeared as an advocate and /or witness.
– that he sought to gain commercial advantage as a surveyor from his position as a panel member of the property tribunal.
A total of 57 cases of possible conflict of interest are indicated in the JCIO report, the court heard.
Counsel for Mr Mire suggested that the RICS investigation “raised the question whether there is an impact on his human rights and that it would cause anguish, apprehension and potentially interfere with his psychological and physical condition as well as imperilling his reputation”.
Since the JCIO made its investigation public, Mr Mire had suffered £3 million of losses, it was argued. He would be willing to supply an additional affidavit concerning his mental state, and that of Mrs Mire, as a result of the JCIO findings and the proposed RICS disciplinary hearing.
But the judge said there was no particular evidence that Mr Mire would be subject to additional stress or anxiety than any other person facing a RICS disciplinary hearing.
Costs of £6,483 plus VAT were awarded to RICS, and it can be assumed that the costs of Mr Mire, who was also represented by counsel, would be comparable.
After the hearing, Sir Peter Bottomley said:
“Mr Benjamin Mire’s actions have caused too much harm to too many.
“It is appropriate that he has been refused repeated judicial review applications.
“His professional competence has been challenged. It is right that his professional regulator can do its duty without hindrance or interference.”
Sebastian O’Kelly, of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, publicly raised the issue with Siobhan McGrath (right), senior president of the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS), at yesterday’s annual conference of the Leasehold Advisory Service.
Without naming Mr Mire whose high court case was at that moment still in progress, he asked whether she was confident that other professional panel members of the property tribunal may not be similarly conflicted.
Judge McGrath said that she was confident that procedures had been improved at the tribunal service.
This was not, however, a spontaneous apology, but one that resulted from a recommendation by Sir John Brigstocke, the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman, who upheld Mr Dennard’s complaints that both the RPTS and the JCIO had let him down.
“I recommend that the head of the JCIO and the senior president [McGrath] write to Mr Dennard to apologise for the failings that have been identified in my report,” Sir John wrote.