Richard III judicial review postponed

The full hearing into the judicial review (JR) over the remains of Richard III has been postponed until the New Year, after the High Court decided there was too much to be heard in a single day.

Lady Justice Hallett and Mr Justices Ouseley and Haddon-Cave were scheduled to hear the case today (Tuesday 26 November) as well as an application to join Leicester City Council to the case as the third defendant. However it emerged after less than two hours that the judicial review would be heard next year, due to the demand for more court time.

The Platangenet Alliance’s application to join the council as a defendant was successful, meaning there are now three parties fighting against the JR – the council, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the University of Leicester. Leicester Cathedral and York Minster are both interested parties.              

The council was joined as a defendant after securing an order three weeks ago to be joined as an interested party. The alliance made the application to join the council as a defendant after the disclosure of documents which revealed that it had considered a consultation over the location for the internment of Richard III’s remains which did not happen.

Leicester council has now made an offer in open court to embark on a consultation exercise over the burial site.

The case will be heard over two days, instead of the original one, in early 2014.

The matter has already attracted considerable attention after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling expressed his support for the plans to have the king’s remains reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

In September 2012 Leicester University was granted an exhumation licence to dig up the skeleton later revealed as belonging to Richard III from a carpark in the city. The licence stipulated the remains should be reinterred at the Jewry Wall Museum, the cathedral or “in a burial ground in which interments may legally take place” by 31 August next year. The cathedral has since published its plans for a permanent tomb for Richard’s body.

But the Plantagenet Alliance, represented by Leeds firm Gordons, is arguing that Grayling should have carried out public consultation over the king’s final resting place. In August Haddon-Cave J granted permission for the judicial review (16 August 2013), and later confirmed a full protective costs order of £70,000.

The legal line-up:

For the claimants, the Plantagenet Alliance

Gordons partner Matthew Howath, instructing Blackstone Chambers’ Gerard Clarke and Tom Cleaver

For the first defendant, the Secretary of State for Justice

Treasury Solicitors, instructing Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC and 3 Raymond Buildings’ Ben Watson

For the second defendant, the University of Leicester

In-house counsel Penny McConnell, instructing 11KBW’s Anya Proops and Heather Emmerson

For the third defendant, Leicester City Council

In-house counsel, instructing 3 Stone Buildings’ Norman Palmer QC

For the first interested party, the Cathedral of Saint Martin Leicester

Latham & Co senior partner Trevor Kirkman