Mother of woman who took her own life following DWP termination of benefits secures fresh inquest from the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal has today upheld an appeal brought by Joy Dove, whose daughter, Jodey Whiting, took her own life in 2017 following a series of significant and shocking failings by the DWP in the lead up to her death.
Jodey died following the withdrawal of her Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by the DWP for not attending a Work Capability Assessment. At the time of the assessment, Jodey was housebound with pneumonia, had been in hospital, and had a cyst on the brain. At the time of the DWP’s decision to terminate her benefits, the DWP knew that Jodey had a history of overdoses, suicidal ideation and fluctuating mental health issues. Prior to the termination of Jodey’s ESA, the DWP failed in multiple way to comply with their own safeguarding procedures.
Mrs Dove has campaigned for years to secure a fresh inquest into Jodey’s death. Today the Court of Appeal has overturned an earlier Divisional Court ruling and ordered a fresh inquest into Jodey’s death, to examine the causal link between the DWP’s failings and Jodey’s death.
The case is the first appeal concerning fresh inquests to be determined by the Court of Appeal for over 15 years. The judgment includes a number of significant observations for coronial law, including on the power to order a fresh inquest, the availability of narrative conclusions in non-Article 2 inquests, the test for causation in non-Article 2 inquests, the ability of non-Article 2 inquests to examine the causes of mental health deterioration, and the important public interest functions of inquests.
Jesse Nicholls represents Mrs Dove, instructed by Merry Varney of Leigh Day.