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Case update 02 March 2023

Partygate: We cannot appeal the High Court’s decision to reject our legal challenge

Nazar Gonchar / Shutterstock

Rules of court mean we cannot appeal the decision of the High Court to bless the Metropolitan Police’s Partygate investigation into former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The facts, which are not disputed, reveal differences in both treatment and outcome which defy obvious explanation. The Met failed to fine – or even send questionnaires – to the then Prime Minister over two parties he was photographed attending. Junior civil servants were fined for attending those same parties.

And what the law made unlawful was attending a gathering, and it is hard to see how only some attendees could properly be criminalised. And in the litigation the Met failed – despite its duty to place its cards face up on the table – to offer any explanation for these differences.

Nevertheless, Mr Justice Swift held that a challenge to its investigation was not arguable.

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Good Law Project is deeply concerned about the Metropolitan Police’s conduct in this litigation – endorsed by the High Court – and the investigation. Polling for the British Election Study shows that 72% of the public agreed that “there is one law for the rich and one for the poor.” A mere 11% disagreed.

The bare facts (above) strongly suggest that Johnson was treated differently. The High Court’s decision will buttress a public narrative of differences in treatment that is destructive of trust in the rule of law.

Section 18(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 and section 1(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 mean that appealing the decision is not possible at either the Court of Appeal or – given that the High Court refused permission to appeal – the Supreme Court.

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