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Case Update

Abingdon: An update

7th October 2022

A couple of minutes ago, the High Court handed down its decision in the Abingdon case and we lost. This article showed that Matt Hancock entered into the contract in the face of legal advice from internal and external lawyers that to do so would be unlawful. But the High Court disagreed.

For reasons that are not clear to us the Court directed that only solicitors and counsel should see the draft judgment so we know little more than the bare outcome. A more detailed analysis will follow later if we conclude it would be useful.

Nevertheless, we have continued to enjoy remarkable success, most recently this decision from July exposing as inadequate and unlawful the Government’s flagship Net Zero strategy. We publish on our website a full spreadsheet of all of our cases, and analysing our legal and campaigning successes here.

It isn’t hard to win more cases – you just choose those which are easier and less impactful. But choosing to win more cases would mean choosing to have less impact. And we will continue to chase impact, including picking the hardest cases where they are important, and we hope we will continue to enjoy your backing as we do.

It is not a comment on this judgment but our blog from April 2022 foreshadowed that “threats targeted at judges to curb judicial review” are having an impact on judicial review success rates. It also pointed out that the “change in judicial mood is most intensive when it comes to challenges to poor governance.” This has been borne out by the statistics which we continue to significantly outperform.

We will also continue our practice of fighting cases with and through partners who share our interest in the issue raised in the litigation.

We are, as always, grateful for your support.


This article is part of our Abingdon Health case

In April, Government announced that they supported the creation of the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC). The idea was that the companies and institutions involved would create a rapid antibody test. On 2nd June, Government awarded a contract worth £10 million to Abingdon Health for the materials needed to produce the test. On 14th August, they handed Abingdon Health another contract worth a staggering £75 million.

See more about this case