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Bhatt Murphy Solicitors

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Our Public Law Cases

  1. Deaths in custody/ Inquests

  2. R (on the application of Keith Lewis) v. HM Coroner for Mid and North Division of the County of Shropshire
    [2009] EWCA Civ 1403
    The Court of Appeal found that in order to satisfy the requirements of Article 2 ECHR, inquests must identify system failings that might have prevented deaths in custody even where it can never be known whether the defects in the system would have prevented the death.

    R (on the application of Pounder) v HM Coroner for North and South Districts of Durham and Darlington
    [2009] EWHC 76 (Admin)
    The Court found that a Coroner acted unlawfully when conducting an inquest into the death of Adam Rickwood, a 14 year old boy who died in Hassockfield STC. The Coroner for the North and South Districts of Durham and Darlington refused to rule on the legality of the force used on Adam shortly before his death and Mr Justice Blake considered that this resulted in a flawed inquiry and verdict. A new inquest was required

    R (Al-Skeini and others) v Secretary of State for Defence, CA 2005
    Judgment for the Claimants: Intervention on behalf of REDRESS in challenge to the refusal of the Defendant to apply Article 2/3 standards to investigation of civilian deaths at the hands of British soldiers in Iraq, invoking an extension of the jurisdiction of the ECHR and the HRA to those deaths in certain circumstances.

    Metropolitan Police Commissioner v Christine Hurst, CA 2005
    An important test case concerning retrospectivity under the Human Rights Act. We successfully argued that section 3 of the Human Rights Act (on interpreting Acts of Parliament to comply with Convention rights) should operate to ensure a Convention compliant inquest concerning systemic contributors to the death albeit that the death had occurred before the Act came into force. Re McKerr distinguished. The case itself concerns failures on the part of the Metropolitan Police and others to take steps to protect the deceased who was at risk from a third party.

    R (Scholes) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, AC 2006
    Unsuccessful challenge to the SSHD’s refusal to order a public inquiry into the death in custody of 16 year old of Joseph Scholes following his sentence of imprisonment and allocation into Prison Service accommodation. Consideration now being given to an application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

    C v Metropolitan Police Commissioner, London Boroughs of Haringey, Brent & Ealing, and Central Middlesex & North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trusts 2003
    Substantial settlement achieved in respect of the death of child aged 8 years at the hands of her carers in circumstances indicating gross neglect of duty on the part of the Defendants.

    Roger Sylvester, dec’d: R (Anderson and others) v HM Coroner HC 2004
    Judgment for the Claimants: Representation of family in contesting police officers' challenge to inquest verdict of unlawful killing in relation to restraint related death of Roger Sylvester in custody of Met Police.

    R v DPP ex parte Manning 2000
    Successful challenge to refusal of new DPP to prosecute prison officers involved in unlawful killing of Alton Manning in custody – ground breaking judgement by the LCJ anticipating the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998.

  3. Prison law

  4. R (on the application of Cain) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] EWHC 900 (Admin) & R. (on the application of Roberts) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] EWHC 697 (Admin);
    Both cases concerned challenges by Category A prisoners to decisions made by the Directorate of High Security Prisons regarding their categorisation and the need for an oral hearing to consider categorisation.

    R (on the application of McGetrick) v Parole Board [2013] EWCA Civ 182
    The Court of Appeal upheld an appeal by a prisoner concerning prejudicial material submitted by the Secretary of State. The prisoner succeeded in his argument that the Board does have the power to hold an interlocutory hearing and to exclude such material in appropriate cases. The Board did not consider that such a power existed.

    R (on the application of Francis) v Secretary of State for Justice [2012] EWCA Civ 1200
    An important case concerning the rights of foreign national prisoner and release on Home Detention Curfew. The Divisional Court granted a declaration that the Justice Secretary's policy in respect of HDC for those in relation to whom deportation was being considered, Prison Service Order 4630 para.11.1. However, the Court of Appeal claim for damages for loss of a chance of bail failed where it was highly unlikely that Home Detention Curfew would have been granted in her case had the Prison Service considered the possibility correctly, as it should have done.

    R (on the application of BBC) v Secretary of State for Justice, Barbar Ahmed as an interested party [2012] EWHC 13 (Admin
    The High Court overturned the decision of the Justice Secretary to refuse permission to the BBC to interview Barbar Ahmad in prison in a landmark judgment concerning Article 10 ECHR. Bhatt Murphy acted for the interested party.

    R (on the application of Coleman) v Governor of Wayland Prison [2009] EWHC 1005 (Admin)
    The Court ruled that the prison service does not have the power to destroy a prisoner's property after it has been confiscated, even where the property was not permitted in a prison.

    R (on the application of Black) v Secretary of State for the Home [2009] UKHL 1
    The House of Lords upheld the Secretary of State's appeal against the finding that it was unlawful for him to reject a parole recommendation to release a prisoner serving a long determinate sentence. The case had been brought by Wayne Black who was serving a prison sentence of 24 years. He was recommended for parole in 2007 but the Secretary of State rejected this recommendation. The Court of Appeal ruled that this breached Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights but that decision has now been overturned by a 4-1 majority in the House of Lords

    R (Coleman) v SSJ High Court, 2009
    Establishing that the prison service do not have the power to destroy confiscated prisoners' property.

    R (Smith) v SSJ High Court, 2009
    Priosn Service policy in relation to theright of lifers to have hearings before independent adjudicators breaches Article 6.

    R (Brooke & others) v Home Secretary CA 2008
    Establishing that the Parole Board was not sufficiently independent from the Secretary of State for the purposes of Article 5.

    R (Stellato) v Home Secretary, HL 2005
    Successful challenge by a prisoner to attempts to make retrospective changes to prisoner's release dates.

    R (Smith) v Parole Board, HL 2005
    Judgment in favour of Appellant: Case involving the right to an oral hearing for determinate prisoners recalled to custody under articles 5 and 6 of the Convention, and under right to fairness in common law.

    R (Hammond) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, HL 2005
    Judgment for applicant: Successful challenge to the provisions of the CJA 2003 which prevented lifers from having an oral hearing when their tariffs are being reset. Court achieved consistency with Article 6 by reading into the legislation the power to have an oral hearing.

    R (Sim) v Parole Board, CA 2003
    Judgment in favour of Claimant: Court of appeal confirmed applicability of article 5 to the recall of extended sentence prisoners and confirmed that to comply with the Convention the statutory test had to be read in accordance with section 3 of the Human Rights Act to require the Board to be positively satisfied as to the necessity of further detention.

    R v Home Secretary ex parte Daly, HL 2001
    Judgment for Applicant: Successful challenge to procedures for searching cells of prisoners - found to be incompatible with Article 6. Further clarified the correct scope of judicial review in cases involving human rights.

  5. Police Misconduct

  6. R (on the application of Catt) v Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland [2013] EWCA Civ 192
    The Court of Appeal found that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe violated the human rights of an 88 year old peaceful protestor, Mr John Catt, by subjecting him to almost a decade of state surveillance. The Court found that the conduct of the police involved “a significant interference” with Mr Catt’s right to respect for private life, protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

    R (on the application of Caetano) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2013] EWHC 375 (Admin)
    A new legal basis for quashing police cautions was established by the High Court in a judicial review brought by a survivor of domestic violence. It was believed to be the first occasion on which a caution has been quashed on the basis that it is was not in the public interest.

    R (on the application of Roberts) v Commissioner of Police Metropolitan Police
    [2012] EWHC 1977 (Admin)
    The claimant brought a challenge to the lawfulness of the powers under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which allow for authorisations to be made in a specified area permitting officers to stop and search individuals within that area without any need for reasonable suspicion. Her claim was dismissed by the High Court in July 2012 and it will now be considered by the Court of Appeal

    R (on the application of Hicks) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 1947 (Admin)
    The “Royal Wedding” case: the claimants brought a judicial review of the lawfulness of the policing of events on the day of the Royal wedding by the police commissioner following their arrest and detention by officers.

    R (on the application of Castle) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] EWHC 2317 (Admin)
    The Claimants were children, who sought declarations and damages on the ground that their containment by the police during a demonstration was unlawful. The Court found the obligation on the police was to carry out their existing functions in a way that took into account the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and that any interference with freedom of movement had to be fully justified.

    R (Coghlan and others) v Greater Manchester Police 2004
    Judicial Review of the failure to prevent the retirement of a senior police officer notwithstanding judicial conclusion that he had lied on oath. The Court recognised the public interest in permitting the complaints process to proceed. An important test case with regard to the ambit of Chief Officer’s discretion in this area.

    R (IH) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 2003
    Successful Article 2 challenge to refusal of the Metropolitan Police to disclose report of previous investigation into allegations of police collusion in this murder of a member of the public on behalf of his business partner in 1997.

    R v Kidderminster Coroner and Alberta Cameron ex parte UKDS and Home Office 1998
    Successful resistance to challenge mounted by the private company (UKDS) running HMP Blakenhurst and the Home Office against decision of Coroner to leave unlawful killing as a verdict for the inquest jury to consider in connection with the death of Alton Manning.

    R v DPP and PCA ex parte Lapite 1997
    R v DPP ex parte O’Brien
    R v DPP ex parte Treadaway
    Successful challenges to refusal of DPP and PCA to prosecute or discipline police officers involved in unlawful killings of Oluwashijibomi Lapite and Richard O’Brien, and the torture of Derek Treadaway - the first and only instances of successful challenges to the exercise of the DPP’s prosecutorial discretion, resulting in a judicial inquiry and, at least in part, the decision of the then DPP to resign.

  7. Immigration detention

  8. R (on the application of Chen) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 2635 (Admin)
    The four Claimants in this judicial review, a pregnant woman and three children, brought this claim on behalf of all children and pregnant women within the immigration system, challenging the legality of the UKBA’s practice of using force against these two groups in the absence of any clear policy limiting its use. In an eleventh hour concession, the UKBA accepted the need for a policy on the use of force against children and pregnant women in the exercise of immigration powers.

    R (on the application of HA (Nigeria)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 979 (Admin)
    The Court found that HA, a Nigerian national, was unlawfully detained and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 ECHR during two periods of detention in 2010. A change to the wording of Chapter 55.10 EIG by the Secretary of State for the Home Department about the detention of mentally ill persons had effected a change to the policy and had been unlawful for failure to comply with public sector equality duties. The court decided obiter that the power to transfer a detained person to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.48 did not apply to those detained under the UK Borders Act 2007.

    R. (on the application of EH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2569 (Admin)
    The Court found that the Secretary of State for the Home Department had unlawfully detained a survivor of the Rwandan genocide over a three month period from November 2010.

    R (on the application of Salimi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 422
    The appellant appealed against a decision ([2011 EWHC 1714 (Admin)) dismissing his claim for judicial review of the failure of the first respondent secretary of state and second respondent Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate his complaint of assault. The claimant had, whilst being removed from the United Kingdom, been forced to the floor of the aircraft by escorts and whilst they restrained him he was beaten by Iraqi police and forcibly removed from the plane

    R (on the application of BA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 2748 (Admin)
    The High Court ruled that the UK Border Agency, unlawfully detained a man with severe mental illness between 21 June and 7 October 2011 and that the circumstances of his detention at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre between 4 July and 6 August 2011 amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment in breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”).

    R (on the application of Amin Sino) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 2249 (Admin)
    The High Court ruled, in what is thought to be one of the longest periods of immigration detention false imprisonment, that the detention of the Claimant for 4 years 11 months was unlawful throughout. In a judgment which was strikingly critical of the Secretary of State, the High Court found that the Secretary of State had detained the Claimant in circumstances where there was no reasonable prospect of removal in a reasonable time and failed to act with reasonable diligence in seeking to deport him.

    R (on the application of S) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 2120 (Admin)
    The High Court ruled that the detention of a man with severe mental illness at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment in breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). It was the first time that a UK court found that detention at an immigration removal centre breached article 3 ECHR and was the first of in a series of Article 3 violations arising from the detention of the mentally ill (see Bhatt Murphy cases HA and BA above).

    R (on the application of NXT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 969
    NXT was separated from her three children whilst unlawfully detained by the Home Office. The Court found that the Home Office should have released their mother when it became obvious the Home Office could not assess the children’s best interests whilst she remained in detention.

    R. (on the application of MXL) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWHC 2397 (Admin)
    MXL was separated from her two young daughters whilst unlawfully detained by the Home Office. The children were forced to rely on private foster care in the community while their mother was detained. In a highly critical judgment Mr Justice Blake found that the Home Office had not properly taken into account the interests of the children when exercising their power to detain.

    R v SSHD ex parte Quaquah (1), (2), (3), AC 1998 - 2001
    Three judicial reviews of the SSHD brought under Article 6 (the right to fair trial) amongst other grounds, finally leading to the SSHD granting the Claimant Exceptional Leave to Enter in order to remain in the UK to pursue litigation.

    R (Nampewo) v SSHD, R (Sow) v SSHD, AC 2005
    Two cases involving public law challenges to the detention of the Claimants who had been on bail and had then been detained under the Immigration Act. In the first case a successful application was made for habeas corpus and judicial review, in the second case the Claimant was released prior to a hearing. In both cases the Defendant accepted that the Claimants had been unlawfully detained and that damages for their detention should be assessed.

  9. Criminal Appeals

  10. R (Mills and Poole) v Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) 2000
    Judgment for the Defendant: Challenge to refusal of CCRC to refer the convictions to Court of Appeal in this miscarriage of justice invoking the impact of ECHR considerations of Article 6 unfairness on domestic considerations of abuse of process and safety of convictions – judgment of the LCJ expressing doubts about the safety of the convictions resulted in reconsideration by the CCRC and the subsequent quashing of the convictions at the Court of Appeal in 2003.
You will find dowloads and links to judgments, policy documents and backgound information concerning our public law cases on all the timelines.