Permission to appeal granted in Jodey Whiting case
The Court of Appeal has given the family of Jodey Whiting permission to appeal the High Court’s decision not to grant a second inquest into her death.
Posted on 05 October 2022
Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, has been fighting relentlessly for years to secure a new inquest to investigate the family’s concerns about the impact on Jodey of failings by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in handling her claim for Employment and Support Allowance.
The judgment means that Joy’s case will be heard by the Court of Appeal at a date to be set.
Permission to appeal has been granted on both grounds which were put forward on Joy’s behalf. The Court of Appeal ruled Joy’s argument that a fresh Jamieson or ‘non-Article 2’ inquest is required, and that the High Court went wrong by ‘pre-judging’ the issue as to whether DWP failures contributed to Jodey’s death, has “a real prospect of success”. The second, alternative, argument put forward by Joy was that an Article 2 inquest is required. The Court stated that, although this argument was “less compelling”, “the issue raised is important” and there are nonetheless “compelling reasons for granting permission” on this ground.
In November 2020, Joy was granted permission by the office of the Attorney General to apply to the High Court for a second inquest into her daughter’s death so that the role of the DWP in Jodey’s death could be investigated. The first inquest into her death lasted only 37 minutes and the coroner refused to consider the role of the DWP.
Following a two-day hearing in June 2021, the High Court dismissed Joy’s application on 17 September 2021, ruling that the new evidence that had come to light since the first inquest did not require a fresh inquest to be held in the interests of justice.
Joy initially applied to the High Court for permission to appeal this decision in October 2021, but the application was refused. She then made an application to the Court of Appeal, which has now been granted.
The application to the Court of Appeal was brought on the grounds that the High Court was wrong to find it was not necessary or desirable in the interests of justice, based on the new evidence now available, for a second inquest to be held. The application also argued that the court was wrong to find that Article 2, the right to life, was not engaged by the circumstances of Jodey’s death.
Jodey died in February 2017 following the withdrawal of her benefits by the DWP for not attending a Work Capability Assessment. However, at the time of the Assessment, Jodey was housebound with pneumonia, had been in hospital, and had found out that she had a cyst on the brain.
Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, said:
“I am over the moon with the court’s decision and cannot thank the judge enough for looking into Jodey’s case. There has been a lot of mixed emotions for me over the last year, not wanting to get my hopes up and trying to second guess the court’s decision. I can’t wait to get back into court to hear Jodey’s case presented to the Court of Appeal. I am so pleased to be able to continue the fight for justice for Jodey, it is such a relief that this is not the end.”
Merry Varney, partner at law firm Leigh Day, added:
"The Court of Appeal's decision to grant Joy permission to appeal is a very welcome and significant step forward. Joy's fight for a full and fearless inquest to investigate Jodey's death continues. We look forward to presenting Joy’s case for a new inquest to the Court of Appeal in the coming months.”
Merry is a partner in the human rights department and head of the Leigh Day inquest group
High Court asked to look again at second Jodey Whiting inquest decision
An application for permission to appeal the High Court’s judgment not to grant a second inquest into the death of Jodey Whiting has been lodged with the court.