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Court of Appeal hearing in mother’s fight for second inquest into death of Jodey Whiting

The mother of Jodey Whiting will have a Court of Appeal hearing on Tuesday 31 January and Wednesday 1 February 2023 in her fight for a second inquest into her daughter’s death.

Posted on 23 January 2023

The hearing will be live streamed after the court said it would be a “significant Court of Appeal hearing”.

Joy Dove, of Stockton-on-Tees, has been campaigning since 2018 for a second inquest into Jodey’s death at age 42 on 21 February 2017. She argues that the role of the Department of Work and Pensions in Jodey’s death should be investigated and claims that the original 37-minute inquest, where she had no legal representation, was not sufficient and that a second inquest is required in the interests of justice.

Jodey Whiting.

Jodey, who suffered severe physical and mental health problems, took her own life a fortnight after her benefits were terminated because she did not attend a Work Capability Assessment. 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.

After the Attorney General gave Joy permission to apply to the High Court for a second inquest, the High Court rejected her application, but did say “the withdrawal of Employment Support Allowance should not have happened”. The High Court ruled that new evidence that had come to light did not require a fresh inquest in the interests of justice.

However, Joy was given permission to appeal on the grounds:

That a fresh non-Article 2 inquest was required to investigate more than the immediate mechanism of death and that the High Court was wrong to pre-judge the issue of whether DWP failures contributed to Jodey’s death. The court said this argument had a real prospect of success.

That Article 2 was engaged. The court stated that, although this argument was “less compelling”, “the issue raised is important”.

At next week’s hearing, Joy’s lawyers will argue that it is in the interests of justice for there to be another inquest and the High Court was wrong to refuse her application. They will argue that an inquest is needed to investigate the impact of the failings of the DWP in administering Jodey’s benefits, described by the High Court as “shocking” and the roles of these failings in her death.

Joy Dove said:

“I have always been convinced that the original inquest into Jodey’s death just did not sufficiently answer the questions about how Jodey came by her death and I have always been convinced that the DWP decision to cancel her benefits was a key factor in Jodey’s decision to end her own life. The DWP’s actions and lack of action has now been described as shocking, yet the impact on Jodey and my belief that this caused her death has never been investigated and I want a second inquest to do that. I was devastated by the High Court’s decision and I am grateful that there will be a Court of Appeal hearing. I am looking forward to the hearing and trust the judges to make the just and right decision when they have heard the arguments from my legal team.”

Leigh Day partner Merry Varney said:

“Joy is asking the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision of the High Court refusing her permission for a second inquest into the death of her daughter Jodey, a much loved mother and sister. It is beyond doubt that the Department of Work and Pensions acted woefully in their administration of and ultimately cancellation of Jodey’s benefits, and we hope the Court of Appeal will agree it is necessary in the interests of justice for there to be a second inquest into Jodey’s death.”

Joy is represented by Jeremy Hyam KC of 1 Crown Office Row and Jesse Nicholls of Matrix Chambers.


Joy Dove has written a book, A Mother’s Job, about her relentless fight for justice for Jodey.
She keeps the issue in the public eye through her Facebook page.

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Merry Varney

Merry is a partner in the human rights department and head of the Leigh Day inquest group

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