3 November 2008
In May 2008, Leigh Day & Co
issued a judicial review of the Attorney General’s refusal to grant her permission to Erica Duggan
to ask the Court for a fresh inquest into her son’s death . On 5 November 2008, in an oral permission hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice, the Administrative Court will decide whether Erica has an arguable case.
The first issue to be decided is whether the Attorney General’s refusal is amenable to review by the Court. Although historically similar cases have concluded that the Attorney General is not amenable to judicial review, recent developments and the trend towards greater accountability and transparency lead Leigh Day & Co to believe that it is time for the law to be examined. In deciding whether or not to allow an individual a fresh inquest, the Attorney General acts not merely as a guardian of the public interest, but also as guardian of the deceased’s family’s right to a full investigation into their loved one’s death. We believe, that decisions concerning this fundamental right, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, should clearly be subject to review.
The second issue to be examined is whether there is an arguable case that the Attorney General’s refusal was irrational. The reasons for the Attorney General’s decision were only given after the claim was issued, and appear to solely focus on discrediting the experts who concluded that the findings of the original inquest were at least questionable. The experts consulted include former high-ranking Metropolitan Police Officers, highly experienced doctors and experienced forensic photographic experts. We consider it strongly arguable that the dismissal of the conclusions of 6 experts is wholly irrational, especially as all the conclusions suggest that should a fresh inquest take place, a different verdict may be recorded.
If successful on 5 November 2008, the Court will later hear full arguments in the case and Erica will then be on her second step towards a fresh inquest, and finding out how her son died.
For more details please contact Frances Swaine
or Merry Varney
on 0207 650 1200.
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