Case Reference: CO/4119/2022
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
23 March 2023
In the matter of an application for judicial review
Mrs Justice Steyn DBE
on the application of
G4s Care & Justice Services (Uk) Limited
Chief Constable Of West Midlands Police
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 Acknowledgements of Service filed by the Defendant and Interested Party]
ORDER by the Honourable Mrs Justice Steyn DBE
- The Claimant shall be afforded anonymity. He shall be referred to in these proceedings as “LVM”, and the matter shall be listed as “R (LVM) v G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Ltd”. The identity of the Claimant shall not be disclosed outside of these proceedings. There shall not be disclosed in any report of the proceedings the name or address of the Claimant or any details leading to the identification of the Claimant.
- Pursuant to CPR rule 5.4C a person who is not a party to the proceedings may obtain a copy of a statement of case, judgment or order from the court records only if the statement of case, judgment or order has been anonymised such that: (a) the Claimant is referred to in those documents only as LVM; and (b) that any identifying reference to the Claimant be deleted from those documents;
- Any person, including members of the press, may apply to the court to vary or discharge this Order on seven days’ notice to the parties.
- The application for permission to apply for judicial review is refused.
- No order for costs.
- I have made an anonymity order, although no such order has been sought by the Claimant, in circumstances where the Claimant states that he has acted as a covert human intelligence source and provided information to the police and the prison service, and that information is at the heart of this claim. It seems to me that it is necessary for his protection, not least as he is a serving prisoner, to anonymise this claim.
- The Claimant is serving a 23 year prison sentence following his conviction for various drug and weapons related offences. By this claim for judicial review the Claimant seeks to challenge a decision dated 22 September 2022, made by the Head of Security at HMP Oakwood (in respect of which G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Ltd is the proper defendant), refusing the Claimant’s request of 13 July 2022 for the Director of HMP Oakwood to make an application to the Secretary of State for Justice for the Claimant to be granted the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.
- It appears that the Claimant relies upon one ground, namely that the Defendant’s decision was irrational given the many instances of assistance and intelligence the Claimant is said to have provided. In my judgment, the Defendant’s decision was not arguably irrational:
a. He was in HMP Oakwood for a period of five months until November 2020. The Claimant had left HMP Oakwood nearly two years before the Decision.
b. Much of the conduct on which the Claimant relies pre-dated his transfer to HMP Oakwood. In respect of that conduct, the Deputy Governor of HMP Sutton determined on 16 November 2020 that “any conduct of note exhibited by [the Claimant] has received the necessary consideration as part of re-categorisation processes”. There is no challenge to that decision. It is not irrational for the Defendant not to make a referral in relation to such conduct, which is said to have occurred at other prison establishments, in relation to which the Defendant has very little information, and which has already been the subject of an unchallenged decision.
c. The only reference to meritorious conduct while at HMP Oakwood is in paragraph 27 of the Claimant’s statement of facts and grounds where the Claimant states he acted as a covert human intelligence source for the Interested Party. While the Defendant made arrangements for the Claimant to speak to the police privately, the Defendant’s position that it does not know what information, if any, the Claimant provided to the police, or what actions, if any, were taken as a result, and so has no basis to apply for the Claimant to be granted the Royal Prerogative of Mercy is obviously rational. The Defendant is not in a position to put forward a basis for such an application as it does not have information as to meritorious conduct that would warrant making such an exceptional application.
d. The Defendant did not simply refuse the Claimant’s request but instead referred it to the Interested Party. The Guidance in respect of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy for Meritorious Conduct envisages that: “In exceptional circumstances an application may come to PPCS via the Police where a prisoner has assisted them in an investigation”.
- I do not consider that the Interested Party was wrongly identified as such, in circumstances where the meritorious conduct which is said to have occurred while the Claimant was at HMP Oakwood is said to have involved acting as a CHIS for the Interested Party, and the Defendant’s decision in response to the Claimant’s request was to refer the matter to the Interested Party for consideration, and so have not made an order removing the Interested Party. However, the Interested Party is not a defendant and there is, of course, no obligation on the Interested Party to take any part in these proceedings.
- The Defendant has not made an application for costs. The Interested Party has made an application for costs but has not provided a statement of costs to enable the court to consider summary assessment. In the circumstances, although I have refused permission, I consider it appropriate to make no order for costs.