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Case details

Chief Fire Officer and another (Respondents) v Felix-Phillip and others (Appellants) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0024

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary


Did the Fire Service act unlawfully in passing over the Appellants for permanent promotion?


In 2008 the Chief Fire Officer of Trinidad and Tobago promoted a large number of fire officers to their next most senior rank by acting appointments "until further notice". However, when considering permanent promotions in 2009 and 2010 the Chief Fire Officer passed over most of these officers.

38 fire officers sought judicial review of the Fire Service’s decision to pass them over for promotion. They made two arguments. First, their appointments were made "until further notice", i.e. indefinitely, and therefore should have been treated as permanent appointments. Second, the Fire Service’s points-based system for promotions was irrational, unfair and contrary to the Public Service Regulations which required it to give preference to those who had been appointed to the posts on merit on an acting basis.

Madame Justice Charles accepted both these arguments, holding that the Fire Service had acted unlawfully in failing to promote the 38 officers. The Court of Appeal reversed her decision. The officers now appeal to the Privy Council.



Felix-Phillip and others


Chief Fire Officer, Public Service Commission



Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lady Arden

Hearing start date

03 Mar 2020

Hearing finish date

03 Mar 2020

Watch hearing
03 Mar 2020 Morning session

Judgment details

Judgment date

04 May 2020 (not delivered in court)

Neutral citation number

[2020] UKPC 12