Claim number: CO/2061/2023
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
14 June 2023
The Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE
The King on the application of
Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (Interested party)
On the Claimants’ application for an anonymity order, expedition, and a stay of proceedings;
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the parties;
Order by the Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE
- Pursuant to CPR r.39.2, in any report of these proceedings, there shall be no publication of the name and address of the Claimants, nor any other particulars likely to lead to their identification. In the proceedings, the Claimants shall be anonymised and referred to as set out in the title to this order.
- Within 21 days of the date of this order, the Claimants’ solicitors shall file with the Court copies of case documents which have been anonymised and/or redacted to protect the identity of the Claimants, in accordance with paragraph 1 above.
- Non-parties may not obtain any documents from the court file which have not been anonymised and/or redacted to protect the identity of the Claimants, in accordance with paragraph 1 above.
- The claim is stayed until 16 June 2023.
- The Claimants do have permission to file an amended claim form and an amended Statement of Facts and Grounds, by 16 June 2023.
- The Defendant shall file and serve its Acknowledgment of Service and Summary Grounds of Resistance no more than 21 days after service of the amended claim form and Statement of Facts and Grounds.
- The application for permission is to be considered by a Judge on the papers within 14 days of the filing of the Acknowledgment of Service and Summary Grounds of Resistance.
- Liberty to apply to vary or discharge this order on 2 days notice to the other party.
- Costs in the case.
- I have granted an anonymity order in the light of the evidence that the Claimants are at risk of harm at the hands of the Taliban. In the circumstances, a departure from the general principle of open justice is justified.
- The short stay is justified as the Defendant’s pre-action response, and Decision Notes, were only disclosed shortly before the deadline for the filing of the claim for judicial review. Furthermore, the Claimants’ solicitors have also requested further disclosure in their emails of 26 May and 4 June 2023, which they consider to be essential to their claim. If it has not already done so, the Defendant should notify the Claimants whether or not it consents to disclosure, so that the Claimants can make an application for an order for disclosure, if required.
- I accept that this claim needs to be urgently addressed, because of the risk to the Claimants, and therefore I have ordered that the permission application is to be considered within 14 days of the filing of the Acknowledgment of Service and Summary Grounds of Resistance. The Claimants have not applied to abridge the Defendant’s time to file the Acknowledgment of Service.
- The permission Judge will consider the application for an expedited hearing, if appropriate.