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Court: Queen's Bench Division (Divisional Court)

Election Petition does not automatically abate if Parliament dissolved before proceedings are concluded

Greene v Forbes [2020] EWHC 676 (QB)

The petition, alleging electoral fraud, was brought by the defeated Brexit Party candidate against the successful Labour Party candidate in the Peterborough By-Election on 6 June 2019. The Petitioner had sought but not yet obtained special leave to withdraw the petition (which would have rendered him liable for the respondent’s costs) when Parliament was dissolved on 5 November 2011. He then sought to argue that two nineteenth century cases caused the petition to “drop” so that the court had no jurisdiction even to order him to pay the respondent’s costs. The court did not accept that the two historic cases meant that a Parliamentary petition under the Representation of the People Act 1983 abated upon dissolution. The Petitioner’s application to withdraw (paying the respondent’s costs) was however allowed.

Extinction Rebellion: High Court rules protest ban unlawful

Jones & Ors v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2019] EWHC 2957 (Admin)

This case considered the proper interpretation of the words “public assembly” in section 14(1) of the Public Order Act 1986. This was an expedited, rolled-up hearing of an application for permission to apply for judicial review and, if permission is granted, a claim for judicial review of the decision of Superintendent Duncan McMillan to impose […]

Judgment in the world’s first case on police use of live Automated Facial Recognition

R (Bridges) v South Wales Police [2019] EWHC 2341 (Admin)

A Divisional Court has handed down judgment in a landmark case on the use of live Automated Facial Recognition (AFR) by the police. Live AFR captures the facial biometrics of people passing within range of video cameras and compares this data to the facial biometrics of people on police watchlists. South Wales Police uses AFR in real time in areas with very large numbers of people in an attempt to locate persons of interest. The claimant challenged SWP’s use of AFR on the basis that he had twice been present when this technology was in use, as well as its ongoing use in his police area. The Court held that live AFR engages the Article 8 rights of anyone whose face is scanned (or is at risk of being scanned) and constitutes the (sensitive) processing of their personal data. The judges nevertheless concluded that SWP’s use of AFR did not breach the claimant’s privacy or data protection rights. The judgment recognises that a public authority data controller’s compliance with the duty to undertake a data protection impact assessment is amenable to judicial review but rejected the challenge to SWP’s assessment. A challenge to SWP’s discharge of the Public Sector Equality Duty was also dismissed.

Criminal Law test for self-defence applies in police misconduct proceedings

R (Officer W80) v Director General of the Independent Office for Police Conduct [2019] EWHC 2215 (Admin)

The claimant, a Specialist Firearms Officer in the Metropolitan Police, challenged the decision of the Independent Office for Police Conduct to bring misconduct proceedings against him alleging a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour amounting to gross misconduct. The claimant had fired a fatal shot at Jermaine Barker during an intervention.

The principal ground of judicial review contended that the decision of the IOPC was unlawful because, in determining that the claimant had a case to answer, it applied the wrong test in law as to whether the claimant had acted in self-defence. The IOPC sought to apply a civil law test applicable to the torts of assault or battery, that the officer’s belief his life was in danger must not only be honest but also objectively reasonable for self-defence to be available and for the claimant to have a defence to the charge of misconduct. The claimant alleged that the correct test for self-defence in police misconduct proceedings is the criminal law test, namely, that the claimant had no case to answer in circumstances where he had an honest, albeit mistaken belief that his life was in danger. Ground 2 of the appeal contended that even if the IOPC is correct as to the legal test, the IOPC’s assessment of the facts as giving rise to a case to answer was unreasonable and irrational.

The Court quashed the IOPC’s decision on the basis that it had wrongly applied the civil law test in determining that there was no case to answer. The criminal law test should have been applied. Ground 2 was purely academic but, if it were not, the claimant had failed to surmount the very high threshold of irrationality.

High Court dismisses appeal against extradition orders under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Henriques v Judicial Authority of Portugal [2019] EWHC 1998 QB (Admin)

The Claimant appealed against two extradition orders to Portugal sought by two Judicial Authorities pursuant to two European Arrest Warrants.

The Claimant resisted extradition on the basis that prison conditions in Portugal were such that, especially in light of his state of health, his extradition would be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, art 3 and that extradition would be oppressive on account of his health under the Extradition Act 2003, s25.

The Court dismissed the appeal. Taking into account the threshold presumption for medical care in prisons in extradition cases and assurances given by the Director General of Prisons, the court was satisfied that Portugal will provide care and treatment to the Claimant which are in accord with the requirements of the ECHR, art 3.