January 26, 2018

An update in our case for the secret Brexit studies

Back in December we filed our judicial review claim to compel disclosure of DExEU and HMT’s secret Brexit studies. We acted with the benefit of advice and representation from the leading information law QC and the leading information law junior in the country. And we had the benefit of very high quality assistance from Three Crowns LLP.

You can read the documents here.

The Government’s response was filed just before Christmas and you can read it here. They made only one point. They said that the fact that there was a statutory mechanism (under the Freedom of Information Act) – a route that we did not consider would lead to the delivery of the DExEU and HMT studies in time – meant that there was no extra-statutory route to the disclosure of those documents.

Since then we have suffered two material setbacks. First, the court ruled that the case should not – as we had requested – benefit from an expedited timetable. Second, today, we heard that a judge considered that there was “no properly arguable claim”.

As to the first of these points, we are not bringing the case for the benefit of future historians. So the speed with which the studies will be produced were we to succeed is very material to the question whether it is right to pursue the claim. And we were in the process of renewing our application for expedition – an application I would not pretend to be straightforward – when we received the decision on permission.

As to the second point, court rules make specific provision for us to reopen the application for permission. The legal team will discuss the matter early next week and I will update you promptly with, whatever we decide, our reasons.


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