AI -v- London Borough of Wandsworth (application of judicial review)

Administrative CourtKing's Bench DivisionAnonymity Order

Case No: CO/984/2022

In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
Administrative Court

14 June 2022

Before:

The Honourable Mr Justice Choudhury

Between:

The Queen  on the application of

AI

-v-

London Borough of Wandsworth


Notification of the Judge’s decision on the application for permission to apply for judicial review (CPR 54.11, 54.12)
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant and the Acknowledgement(s) of service filed by the Defendant and/or Interested Party

ORDER by the Honourable Mr Justice Choudhury

1. The application for permission to apply for judicial review is granted.

2. The application is to be listed for 1 day; the parties to provide a written time estimate within 7 days of service of this order if they disagree with this direction.

3. Pursuant to CPR 39.2(4) no person shall publish any information capable of identifying the Claimant. The Claimant shall be referred to as ‘AI’ and this claim shall be referred to as ‘R (AI) v The London Borough of Wandsworth’.

4. The hearing shall be expedited such that the full hearing of this matter is listed to be heard if possible on a date between 1 October 2022 and 21 December 2022.

Observations

1. There are significant weaknesses in the claim, not least that the allegation of “systemic misgendering” appears to be based on a small number of isolated (but no doubt very distressing) instances of “misgendering”, and there is some misinterpretation of statistical evidence which has the effect of overstating the issue (e.g. it is suggested at SFG [69] that “87% of secondary school teachers have at least one transgender student” whereas the figure actually relates to the percentage of secondary schools). These undermine the case in terms of the context in which the PSED / monitoring duty is to be viewed. It is also unclear whether the Art 14 discrimination claim is based on appropriate comparators. That said, the claim just about crosses the low threshold of arguability and permission is therefore granted on both grounds.

2. An order for anonymity is appropriate given the private and health issues raised.

3. A moderate degree of expedition is appropriate given that the claim arises out of the educational needs of a young and vulnerable person. However, the Claimant does not seek relief in the form of any mandatory order as to provision, and the degree of expedition sought in the draft order is not appropriate. Accordingly, the case management timetable is not abridged but the matter will be listed to be heard this year if possible.

Case Management Directions

1. The Defendant and any other person served with the Claim Form who wishes to contest the claim or support it on additional grounds shall, within 35 days of the date of service of this Order, file and serve (a) Detailed Grounds for contesting the claim or supporting it on additional grounds, and (b) any written evidence that is to be relied on. For the avoidance of doubt, a party who has filed and served Summary Grounds pursuant to CPR 54.8 may comply with (a) above by filing and serving a document which states that those Summary Grounds shall stand as the Detailed Grounds required by CPR 54.14.

2. Any application by the Claimant to serve evidence in reply shall be filed and served within 21 days of the date on which the Defendant serves evidence pursuant to 1(b) above.

3. The parties shall agree the contents of the hearing bundle and must file it with the Court not less than [4] weeks before the date of the hearing of the judicial review. An electronic version of the bundle shall be prepared and lodged in accordance with the Guidance on the Administrative Court website. The parties shall, if requested by the Court lodge 2 hard-copy versions of the hearing bundle.

4. The Claimant must file and serve a Skeleton Argument not less than [21] days before the date of the hearing of the judicial review.

5. The Defendant and any Interested Party must file and serve a Skeleton Argument not less than [14] days before the date of the hearing of the judicial review.

6. The parties shall agree the contents of a bundle containing the authorities to be referred to at the hearing. An electronic version of the bundle shall be prepared in accordance with the Guidance on the Administrative Court website. The parties shall if requested by the Court, prepare a hard-copy version of the authorities bundle. The electronic version of the bundle and if requested, the hard copy version of the bundle, shall be lodged with the Court not less than [3] days before the date of the hearing of the judicial review.

7. If permission has been granted on some grounds but refused on others, the Claimant may request that the decision to refuse permission be reconsidered at a hearing by filing and serving a completed Form 86B within 7 days after the date this order is served on the Claimant. The reconsideration hearing will be fixed in due course. However, if all parties agree and time estimates for substantive hearing allow, the reconsideration hearing may take place immediately before the substantive hearing. The Administrative Court Office must be notified within 21 days of the service and filing of Form 86B if the parties agree to this course.