Firm takes Howard to court

RUSSELL Jones & Walker is acting for the Police Federation against the Home Secretary over proposed new conditions of service.

The federation has applied for leave for a judicial review over what it considers to be neglect of the Home Secretary's statutory duty to rubber stamp decisions made by the police negotiating board.

The concern is over the way officers of the rank of inspector, whose employment conditions were the subject of recent board negotiations, would have to provide 24- hour coverage on a rotating shift system while being denied the opportunity to apply for time off in lieu.

John Webber, senior partner at Russell Jones & Walker, says of the case: “It is fairly unique and is an example of the very purpose for which judicial review was conceived. It's a classic public law action.”

The police unions and police authorities make up the two sides of the negotiating board – termed the staff side and official side respectively.

Both sides are understood to have arrived at an agreement.

The resulting paperwork, known as a PNB agreement, was sent to the Home Secretary for signing.

Russell Jones & Walker will argue that the Home Secretary has a statutory duty under the Police Negotiating Board Act 1982 to rubber stamp agreements.

The Home Office says it will not comment until it sees details of the action.

The last time an action was taken against the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan in the 1980s, it was over the Government introducing extra provisos to the police rent allowance agreement. The federation's judicial review was successful.