Application for judicial review concerning the criteria applied by the Legal Aid Agency to determine whether relatives of a deceased should be granted legal aid for representation at an inquest into a death which has arisen in circumstances which might engage Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Held: The application succeeded. The respondent’s guidance misrepresented the position in law: ‘the essential thrust of the Guidance conveys to the typical caseworker that in every case where legal aid was sought the caseworker had to make an assessment (leading to a decision) of whether the state was arguably in breach of the underlying substantive obligation (whichever one it was) and that only if the conclusion was that there was such an arguable breach would the caseworker then proceed to decide whether on the facts of the case there was a need to give the next-of-kin legal aid. The Guidance, albeit that it is drafted at a high level, nonetheless purports to set out an accurate general description of the law. But in the absence of a clear recognition that there is a category of case where the investigative duty arises quite irrespective of the existence of arguable breach by the state the Guidance is materially misleading and inaccurate.’
 EWHC 402 (Admin)
European Convention on Human Rights 2, Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 4 10
England and Wales
Cited – Smith, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence and Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) SC 30-Jun-2010
The deceased soldier died of heat exhaustion whilst on active service in Iraq. It was said that he was owed a duty under human rights laws, and that any coroner’s inquest should be a fuller one to satisfy the state’s duty under Article 2.
Cited – Khan, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health CA 10-Oct-2003
The claimant’s child had died as a result of negligence in hospital. The parents had been told the result of police investigation and decision not to prosecute, and the hospital’s own investigation, but had not been sufficiently involved. There . .
Cited – Stephen Jordan (No 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Dec-2002
The applicant was a soldier who had been court marshalled for misuse of travel warrants. He wished to use in his defence his recent epilepsy. There was some delay while medical reports were obtained, and subsequently when the new legal system was . .
Cited – Middleton, Regina (on the Application of) v Coroner for the Western District of Somerset HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had committed suicide in prison. His family felt that the risk should have been known to the prison authorities, and that they had failed to guard against that risk. The coroner had requested an explanatory note from the jury.
Cited – Gentle, Regina (on the Application of) and Another v The Prime Minister and Another HL 9-Apr-2008
The appellants were mothers of two servicemen who had died whilst on active service in Iraq. They appealed refusal to grant a public inquiry. There had already been coroners inquests. They said that Article 2 had been infringed.
Held: The . .
Cited – Legal Services Commission v Humberstone, Regina (On The Application of) CA 21-Dec-2010
Appeal against successful judicial review of refusal of legal aid for mother of deceased at inquest.
Held: ‘article 2 will be engaged in the much narrower range of cases where there is at least an arguable case that the state has been in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Legal Aid, Coroners, Human Rights
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.543091