Court rejects judicial review of police actions to protect claimants from threats to kill


Re: R (LXD & Ors) v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2019] EWHC 1685 (Admin)

This matter concerned an application for judicial review of ‘ongoing failure [by the defendant] to take steps to protect the claimants from direct threats to kill made against them by associates of the first claimant’s ex-partner’. The claimants contended that the defendant was failing his duties under ECHR, arts 2 and 3, and that their art 8 rights were being infringed. They also asserted that defendant’s decisions, including to classify the death threats against them as ‘standard threats,’ were irrational, unlawful and in breach of policy.

The Court dismissed the claim.

The Court held that the evidence showed that the police took the threats seriously. It concluded that the evidence did not show there to be a real and immediate risk to the life of the claimants requiring the defendant to take steps to take ‘preventive operational measures to protect’ them. As such the defendant was not acting in breach of its duties under art 2. The Court was also unable to identify any infringement by the police of the claimants’ art 3 or 8 rights. While it found the defendant to have misapplied his threats to life policy, it found that such misapplication was immaterial and that no relief should be granted.

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh was involved in this case.