Judicial review permission granted to argue Middleton inquest point

26 November 2015

Permission has been granted in R (Tyrrell) v Coroner for Co Durham and Darlington for a public law challenge to whether the investigative duty under Article 2 ECHR should be applied in inquests following deaths in state custody.

Mr Justice Dove, sitting at the Administrative Court in Leeds, has today granted permission for it to be argued that the investigative duty under Article 2 ECHR applies to all deaths in state custody, regardless of the circumstances, such that a Middleton-type inquest will be required. This follows a decision, taken in accordance with guidance issued by the Chief Coroner, that Article 2 did not apply in the deceased’s case because there was no arguable case that the substantive duty had been breached.

The judge noted that in considering the issue the court will need have regard to the whether the involvement of the prisons and probation ombudsman (PPO) is sufficient to discharge the investigative duty.

The case is likely to impact on a significant number of other cases where deaths in custody result from what are apparently natural causes.

Matthew Stanbury of Garden Court North Chambers is instructed by Rhiannon Jones of Lester Morrill Solicitors in relation to the public law challenge. Gemma Vine of Lester Morrill Solicitors represents the family in the inquest.

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