Jefferies & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors, Court of Appeal - Administrative Court, November 29, 2018, [2018] EWHC 3239 (Admin)

Resolution Date:November 29, 2018
Issuing Organization:Administrative Court
Actores:Jefferies & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors

Case No: CO/1120/2018

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 3239 (Admin)




Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 29/11/2018




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Helen Mountfield QC and Julian Milford (instructed by Payne Hicks Beach) for the Claimants

Nathalie Lieven QC and David Pievsky (instructed by GLD) for the Defendants

Hearing dates: 1 & 2 November 2018

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JudgmentLord Justice Davis:


  1. The claimants in these judicial review proceedings have in the past variously been the victims of outrageous and unlawful treatment on the part of certain elements of the press. The distress to them has been immeasurable. It is felt by them to this day. It was by reason of their experiences - and the experiences of others - that an Inquiry relating to the press, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson, was established by a decision announced by the then Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron MP, on 13 July 2011. The Inquiry was, as announced, to be split into two parts.

  2. Part 1 of the Inquiry was concluded by a report published on 29 November 2012. In the House of Commons on that date Mr Cameron stated that it was the Government's intention to go ahead with Part 2 of the Inquiry.

  3. But that has not happened. Part 2 of the Inquiry has not gone ahead. Instead, following a consultation, the defendant Secretaries of State on 1 March 2018 announced their decision to terminate the Inquiry.

  4. The claimants (and doubtless many others also) were and are much aggrieved by that decision. By these proceedings, commenced on 15 March 2018, they seek to challenge its lawfulness. They seek to invoke the principles of legitimate expectation, in the sense as used in the law, for this purpose. As will appear, they do so in rather unusual circumstances.

  5. Permission to apply for judicial review on this basis was granted by Andrews J, on the papers, on 15 May 2018. She refused permission to apply with regard to another aspect of the claim seeking to challenge the decision of the first defendant not to bring into force the provisions of s. 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Although limited permission on that latter aspect of the claim was subsequently granted after an oral hearing by my Lord, Ouseley J, the eventual upshot has been that the claim relating to s. 40 is no longer pursued in any respect.

    Background facts

    (a) The Claimants

  6. The first claimant, Christopher Jefferies, is a retired school teacher.

  7. The body of a young woman called Joanna Yeates was discovered in the outskirts of Bristol on Christmas Day 2010. The first claimant was her landlord. He was arrested, in circumstances of great publicity, by the police on 30 December 2010 on suspicion of her murder. He was entirely innocent. In due course a neighbour, a man called Vincent Tabak, in May 2011 admitted killing Joanna Yeates. His defence of manslaughter was rejected by a jury at trial and he was found guilty of murder in October 2011.

  8. In the interim, the first claimant had been the subject of what he described, without exaggeration, in his witness statement as a ``campaign of vilification'' on the part of elements of the press. He was variously described in articles - with accompanying photographs - as ``strange'' and ``creepy''; ``effeminate''; a ``loner'' and ``odd''; a ``nutty professor with blue rinse hair''; and so on. He was said to have links to a nearby unsolved murder and to be a close friend of a convicted paedophile. He states in his witness statement: ``I was, in effect, `monstered' by the press''. He was in consequence forced to leave his home at that time and change his appearance.

  9. In due course, two of the tabloid newspapers involved were found guilty of contempt of court. In subsequent libel actions brought by the first claimant against eight newspapers for allegations contained in 40 articles, liability was admitted.

  10. In addition, the first claimant has always had grave concerns about the relationship between the police and the press with regard to him. A subsequent civil claim brought by him against the Avon and Somerset police was settled. A letter of apology was also provided by the police in August 2013.

  11. In the course of the Part 1 report of the Leveson Inquiry the first claimant was stated to be ``the victim of a very serious injustice perpetrated by a significant section of the press.''

  12. The second and third claimants, Gerry and Kate McCann, are married. They are both senior doctors. As is all too well known, their daughter Madeleine went missing on 3 May 2007 when the family were on holiday in Portugal. Madeleine remains missing. Their anguish as parents is inevitably profound and lasting.

  13. In the later aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance the second and third claimants were the subject of vicious misreporting at the hands of elements of the press, with lurid headlines. One suggestion, for example, was that they had sold off Madeleine into white slavery in order to pay off their mortgage. Many of the allegations were purportedly based on articles in the Portuguese press. There was also constant press intrusion and photography. One newspaper even published extracts of the third claimant's private diary which had been taken by the Portuguese police. And so on.

  14. Subsequent libel proceedings against various newspapers were settled on payment of substantial sums and published apologies.

  15. The Part 1 report of the Leveson Inquiry was highly critical of the press in its treatment of the second and third claimants. It among other things found that a number of titles were guilty of gross libels; that there had been a serious and total failure to apply anything approaching the standards to which they claimed to aspire; and that some of the reporting involved was ``outrageous''. It was said that a rigorous search for the truth was the first principle to be sacrificed: as was any respect for the dignity, privacy and well-being of these claimants. Their treatment was described as ``frankly appalling.''

  16. As for the fourth claimant, Jacqui Hames, she is a former Metropolitan Police Officer. In that capacity she had also regularly appeared on the BBC programme ``Crimewatch.''

  17. In 2002 the then husband of the fourth claimant, Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook, made an appeal on Crimewatch seeking information in connection with an unsolved murder (in 1987) of a private investigator called Daniel Morgan. Intelligence was then received that one suspect intended ``to make life difficult'' for DCS Cook. Thereafter he and the fourth claimant were subjected to sustained surveillance, harassment and intrusion: including at the hands of the News of the World newspaper. Moreover, details about the fourth claimant were revealed to the press which could only have come from her (confidential) Metropolitan Police Service file. Subsequent legal proceedings commenced by her were settled and an apology issued. Further detail is not necessary for present purposes.

    (b) The Leveson Inquiry

  18. Each of the claimants was in due course categorised as a core participant in Part 1 of the subsequently established Inquiry.

  19. The Inquiry was announced in Mr Cameron's statement to the House of Commons on 13 July 2011. The Inquiry had, as I have said, been prompted by the behaviour of elements of the press towards individuals such as (but by no means limited to) these claimants: one aspect, for example, had involved the unlawful hacking in to the mobile phone of the murdered school-girl, Millie Dowler, and serious misreporting in consequence. There was all-party support for the proposed Inquiry.

  20. As announced, the Inquiry was to fall into two parts. The first part was, among other things, to inquire into the culture, practices and ethics of the press and to make recommendations for a more effective regulatory regime. It also, among other things, was to inquire as to the conduct of relations between politicians and the press and between the police and the press.

  21. It was contemplated that the second part would take place only after the conclusion of any intervening criminal prosecutions. There were several aspects to Part 2, which were described as follows in the Terms of Reference agreed and announced on 20 July 2011:

    ``3. To inquire into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other newspaper organisations and, as appropriate, other organisations within the media, and by those responsible for holding personal data.

  22. To inquire into the way in which any relevant police force investigated allegations or evidence of unlawful conduct by persons within or connected with News International, the review by the Metropolitan Police of their initial investigation, and the conduct of the prosecuting authorities.

  23. To inquire into the extent to which the police received corrupt payments or other inducements, or were otherwise complicit in such misconduct or in suppressing its proper investigation, and how this was allowed to happen.

  24. To inquire into the extent of corporate governance and management failures at News International and other newspaper organisations, and the role, if any, of politicians, public servants and others in relation to any failure to investigate wrongdoing at News International.

  25. In the light of these inquiries, to consider the implications for the relationships between newspaper organisations and the police, prosecuting authorities, and relevant regulatory bodies - and to recommend what actions, if any, should be taken.''

  26. It thus can be seen that Part 2 of the Inquiry would, among other things, involve a factual investigation into the alleged unlawful and improper conduct of the various media investigations...

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