Gordons prepares for JR over York burial for Richard III

Leeds firm Gordons has been instructed on potential judicial review proceedings by the descendants of Richard III, who want the remains of the last Plantagenet king to be buried in York.

Head of commercial litigation Matthew Howarth is acting for the Plantagenet Alliance, a group that includes 15 blood descendants of the king and which is fighting plans to have his remains interred in Leicester Cathedral.

Last year the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) gave permission to University of Leicester archaeologists to unearth remains from under a car park in the city. Subsequent tests proved the skeleton was that of Richard III. The licence also gives permission to the university to re-inter the remains, and current plans are for Richard III to be buried in Leicester.

However, the Plantagenet Alliance wants Richard III to be buried in York, arguing that the king had close connections with the city.

Gordons, on behalf of the alliance, has written to the MoJ and the University of Leicester notifying them of the intent to launch judicial review proceedings and asking for more information on the granting of the licence. A claim could be filed as early as the end of next week seeking to quash the licence.

“It’s all about whether proper consultation took place,” said Howarth, explaining the decision to seek judicial review. “It does polarise debate – it’ll be an interesting case.”

Howarth said Gordons had been doing an increasing number of judicial reviews recently, including an application for judicial review followed by a public inquiry over the management of the Walshaw Moor estate, and several cases for key client Morrison’s supermarkets.

Gordons has instructed Blackstone Chambers’ Gerard Clarke and Tom Cleaver.