Claim number: AC-2023-LON-002904
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
8 November 2023
Rory Dunlop KC
The King on the application of
The Russell Education Trust
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 of Service filed by the Defendant
ORDER by Rory Dunlop KC
- The application for permission to apply for judicial review is refused.
- The costs of preparing the Acknowledgement of Service are to be paid by the Claimant to the Defendant, summarily assessed in the sum of £6,000.
- Paragraph 2 above is a final costs order unless within 14 days of the date of this Order the Claimant files with the Court and serves on the Defendant a notice of objection setting out the reasons why he should not be required to pay costs (either in the amount required by the costs order, or at all). The submissions shall not exceed 3 pages. If the Claimant files and serves notice of objection, the Defendant may, within 14 days of the date it is served, file and serve submissions in response (not to exceed 3 pages). The Claimant may, within 7 days of the date on which the Defendant’s response is served, file and serve submissions in reply (not to exceed 2 pages).
- The directions at paragraph 3 apply whether or not the Claimant seeks reconsideration of the decision to refuse permission to apply for judicial review.
(a) If an application for reconsideration is made, the Judge who hears that application will consider the written representations filed pursuant to paragraph 3 above together with such further oral submissions as may be permitted, and decide what costs order if any, should be made.
(b) If no application for reconsideration is made or if an application is made but withdrawn, the written representations filed pursuant to paragraph 3 above will be referred to a Judge and what order for costs if any, should be made will be decided without further hearing.
- Pursuant to CPR Rule 39.2, the identity of the Claimants shall be anonymized as “L” and “A” respectively and there is to be no reporting of their name nor of any matter which could give rise to their son, or any of the other children referred to in the grounds, being identified. Documents filed and served after the date of this Order are to be anonymised and suitably redacted.
- Any application by a non-party to obtain documents under CPR 5.4C (2) be made on at least 14 days’ notice to the parties.
- Liberty to any person to apply on notice to the parties to vary or discharge paragraphs 5 or 6 of this Order.
- If the Claimants renew this application to an oral hearing, they are to file and serve, at least one week before any such hearing, a skeleton argument of not more than 25 pages.
- The Claimants’ grounds are diffuse and far too long. §§7-9 of those grounds set out generic public law grounds of challenge. However, the 38 pages of grounds that follow make criticisms without particularising those criticisms as public law grounds.
- The Claimant’s central submission appears to be that, in light of the decision of the IRP, the Defendant could not lawfully have made an exclusion decision based on the evidence that had been before the IRP. That submission is unarguable. R (A Parent) v Governing Body of XYZ School  EWHC 1146 (Admin) is authority that a Governing Body in a reconsideration decision is not obliged to follow a decision of the IRP, only to have regard to it.
- The Claimant’s other submissions melt into disagreements with a decision which it was open to the Defendant to make. The Claimant has not demonstrated, even arguably, any public law errors in the Defendant’s decision (whether irrationality, unfairness or otherwise).
- The costs claimed by the Defendant for the Acknowledgment of Service are very high. The Claimants are, in part, responsible for that, as a result of the diffuse grounds. Even so, the costs appear too high. The summary grounds of defence did not need to descend into the same level of detail as the grounds. I summarily assess reasonable costs as £6,000.
- An anonymity order is appropriate, given that the claim relates to a child and given the nature of the allegations against that child.