Lords indicate intention not to appeal JR ruling
Saturday 5 June 2010
On a day when all our thoughts were centred on Haydn and his family it was particularly poignant that we should receive news of the Government's intention not to seek leave to appeal Mr Justice Holman's ruling at the Judicial Review in the High Court. Haydn would have been thrilled to hear of this new development, even though he would more than have risen to the challenge of defending any further action through the higher courts, should it have been necessary. Several people at the funeral commented that it was almost as if Haydn was still guiding us and had sent us some good news on a desperately sad day.
Click here to download a PDF of the Official Report or Lords Hansard from Wednesday, 2nd June 2010. If you want to see the video of what was a full Chamber in the House of Lords, please visit this link on the CampaignTB YouTube channel.
What Are The Implications of Earl Howe's Words?
Since the Government's decision of 20th May 2009 was quashed by the High Court, the Government will now have 3 months from the extended deadline of 21st June in which to comply. We would like to reassure our community that current ex gratia payments will continue as they are at present.
At a time like this it is important to concentrate on the positives. We would like to draw attention to a crucial and rather apt part of the Judicial Review ruling:
"53. I am satisfied that the government’s approach to recommendation 6 (h) has been, and remains, infected by an error. Miss Whipple argued that even if there was error, the error was not material because (i) the government have already proposed to pay the most they can afford to pay; and (ii) Mrs Webb says at paragraph 61 of her statement that “the recommendation that a system similar to the Irish system should be adopted was not considered in detail and was not fully …. investigated.” However the minister did not give non-affordability as the reason for rejecting recommendation 6(h) but, rather, the supposed distinction with Ireland; and it was that supposed distinction which led the government not even to consider recommendation 6(h) “in detail” or fully to investigate it: Mrs Webb refers in the immediately preceding paragraph, paragraph 60, to “the very different situation in Ireland.”
In my view, the error is material because a different decision might (I stress, might) have been made if the government had correctly focussed on, and grappled with, the compassionate basis of Irish payments, when considering in particular the passage at internal pages 90 – 94 of Archer which underpins recommendation 6 (h)."
[Click here to see Mr Justice Holman's full judgment.]
So What Do We Need To Do Next?
We strongly urge everyone to write immediately to their MP updating them with this latest development and pointing out how ludicrous it is that even though Government have indicated that they will not be appealing the judgment, they are still sticking to the same mantra about Ireland - despite the fact that Mr Justice Holman ruled to the contrary.
There is a possibility that we will investigate the source that the senior Civil Servant, Mrs Webb is heavily relying on in her statement. We need to know who it was, what exactly was said in the rest of the document and when it was written. The heart of her argument is outlined in the Judgment of Mr Justice Holman as follows: ' Mrs Webb says in paragraph 43 that paragraph 42 (but not specifically any other paragraph of her statement) “has been expressly approved for inclusion within [the] witness statement by the Irish Department of Health.”'
TaintedBlood believe that this so-called "express approval" by the DOHC - of just one paragraph of Mrs Webb's statement to the High Court - must be looked into with the closest scrutiny and some probing Parliamentary questions urgently need to be prepared in order to get to the bottom of this.
Since Government is still maintaining the old hackneyed phrase about compensation being 'in the light of evidence of mistakes', we have decided to seek further legal advice about whether it would be worth obtaining new input from Ireland. We are considering the possibility of sending a copy of the Earl Howe's Hansard along with the High Court judgment directly to the Irish DOHC in the hope that we might receive an irrefutable response that will put this issue to bed once and for all.
Article submitted by Andrew March & Sue Threakall