a1 Former Judge of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (1979–1990), and previously Professor of constitutional law at Leyden University (1967–1978), presently Advocate General of the Hoge Road of the Netherlands; also fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
(1) According to ancient common law precedents, fair hearings are required by natural justice. In 1723, a somewhat difficult scholar, Dr. Bentley, who had been deprived of his degrees by the University of Cambridge because of grave misconduct, was reinstated by the King's Bench, on the ground that he had not been asked to make his defence as required by the laws of God and men. More than two centuries later, the House of Lords held that the dismissal of Brighton's Chief Constable was void for similar reasons: the town's Watch Committee had given him no notice of any charge against him and no opportunity to make his defence. Lord Reid, giving the leading speech, said that the Brighton authorities had been exercising a power affecting a person's rights, and that they were therefore ‘subject to the principles of natural justice’—whether they were acting in a judicial or in an administrative capacity.