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Richard Cole succesful in striking out claim against Secretary of State

THE QUEEN (ON THE APPLICATION OF AB) v THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT, High Court, Queens Bench Division, 20 April 2016, Coulson J.

Richard Cole was recently successful in striking out a claim for judicial review brought against the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on the basis that the Claimant was not properly pursuing her claim and had breached a number of court orders.  This was notwithstanding the fact that the Claimant had obtained permission to bring the claim (having previously been rejected on paper and orally before the High Court and the Court of Appeal) before the Court of Appeal.

The Claimant alleged that she was a victim of trafficking.   The Secretary of State reached the conclusion that she was not.  The Claimant judicially reviewed that decision on the ground that the decision was unlawful and later additionally argued  that the Home Secretary’s policy on trafficking and the matters to be considered before reaching a decision was wrongly worded. The judicial review proceedings began in April 2014 and having failed to obtain permission to judicially review the decision of the Secretary of State before the High Court in writing and orally, and before the Court of Appeal in writing, the Claimant was successful at an oral hearing before the Court of Appeal.  The matter was remitted back to the High Court in October 2015.  Directions were made which required the production of trial bundles and skeleton arguments leading to a hearing listed for late February 2016.  The Claimant’s solicitors came off the record in early February 2016 having not heard from the Claimant for a number of months.  The matter was listed for a disposal hearing with the parties not required to attend.  The Claimant did attend, informing Mr Justice Coulson that she had instructed new solicitors. Further directions were made for a substantive hearing on 20 April 2016.  Nothing was heard by GLD or the court from the Claimant’s new solicitors and nothing was heard from the Claimant. The Claimant attended the hearing on 20 April 2016 and asked for a further adjournment in order to instruct new lawyers.  Richard successfully argued that the case ought to be struck out pursuant to CPR 3.4 and that any application for relief from sanctions pursuant to CPR 3.9 should be dismissed. Reliance was placed on the well known authorities of Mitchell and Denton.  Mr Justice Coulson acceded to the application and struck the claim out.  He further ruled that having considered the papers that were available to him, the claim had no merit in any event.

Richard was instructed by the Government Legal Department on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department.