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Bunting's appeal thrown out

Published:Friday | October 30, 2015 | 5:50 PMBarbara Gayle

THE COURT of Appeal has thrown out an appeal by the minister of national security and the attorney general, who were seeking an order to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that gave attorney-at-law Herbert Hamilton the go-ahead to pursue a claim for loss of income against them.

Hamilton's appointment as a member of the Firearm Licensing Authority was terminated by the minister in May 2012.

In 2010, then Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson appointed Hamilton to the position for three years. It was agreed he would be remunerated at $910,500 per annum.

Hamilton filed a claim in the Supreme Court contending that there was a breach of contract and he should be paid $1.1 million for the remaining 15 months of the contract, with interest at 12 per cent.

Challenged claim

The respondents challenged the claim, seeking to have it struck out on the grounds that Hamilton's claim was an administrative order. The lawyers for the respondent argued that Hamilton should apply for judicial review to quash the minister's decision to terminate the appointment.

Hamilton contended that his claim was one in private law and that he was not seeking to reverse the minister's decision to terminate his appointment. He said he was only seeking payment for the unexpired term of his contract.

Justice Frank Williams heard the application, and on February 3, refused to grant an order striking out Hamilton's claim. The judge held it was a private law remedy that was being sought and then fixed the hearing for November 20.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal upheld Williams' ruling, dismissing the appeal, and awarded legal costs in Hamilton's favour.