Permission hearing for the Bibby Stockholm judicial review application

Permission hearing for the Bibby Stockholm judicial review application

At the ‘permission hearing’ at the High Court in London on 10 October, Alex Goodman KC will argue that the court should allow us to have a judicial review of the Home Office’s decision to place the Bibby Stockholm at Portland Port and to use it to accommodate asylum-seekers. The application is on planning grounds.

The team only submitted the request to the High Court on 8 September, but asked for an expedited hearing because this is a significant planning claim – and they’ll also ask for the final hearing, if granted, to be listed faster than usual.

Who is the claimant?

The person bringing the Home Office to court is Carralyn Parkes, a resident of Portland. She is bringing the case in her personal capacity, but she’s also the mayor of Portland and the councillor for the ward where the Bibby Stockholm barge is berthed.

Who’s on the legal team?

Behind Alex Goodman KC is a considerable amount of work also put in by Penelope Nevill and Fiona Petersen at TwentyEssex, who originally found the exact grounds for the claim, as well as Alex Shattock, Alex Goodman’s colleague at Landmark Chambers. They are assisted by TwentyEssex pupil Alex Yean. The solicitors for the claim are Helen Baron and Emily Soothill at Deighton Pierce Glynn.

Among other things, Alex Goodman is a specialist in the space where immigration law meets planning law. He has acted in past planning claims for large-scale accommodation sites at Napier and RAF Linton-on-Ouse and the current claim for RAF Wethersfield. He was significantly involved in the Brook House Inquiry, recently published. Alex is joint head of Landmark Chambers’ Public Law Group and was awarded the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Outstanding Achievement award in 2021.

What are the grounds for the claim?

The claim is that the Home Office:

  • is trying to get round normal planning rules and thus preventing local residents from having a say. The evasion also means that the Home Office is avoiding the usual standard legal protections such as the laws around overcrowding.
  • hasn’t complied with its environmental impact assessment duties or considered the impact of long-term use of the barge.
  • hasn’t complied with its public-sector equality duty.

You can read a fuller, clear summary here at the most CrowdJustice page.

What will happen at the hearing?

Counsel will be asking the judge for permission to have a judicial review at a later date. This is very much along the lines of the judicial reviews scheduled for RAF Wethersfield and RAF Scampton on 31 October and 1 November. The court will decide:

  • whether the claim has been brought in time (‘limitation’)
  • whether the claim is ‘arguable’ and therefore should proceed to a full judicial review
  • whether the claimant’s costs liability can be capped at £5,000 (the application of the Aarhus Convention)
  • the timetable up to the full hearing (possibly), assuming we get permission.

By the time of this permission hearing, we will have had the responses and a summary of the grounds of their defence from the Home Office, as well as the ‘interested parties’ named on the claim (Portland Port and Dorset Council).

Often in permission hearings, a lot can end up getting disclosed – including by the Home Office, which may have to disclose things they’d much rather not.

Can you attend? When and where?

It’s a public hearing, so anyone can go and we’d love to see you there.

The judicial review permission hearing will be at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, London. The nearest tube station is Temple but you can also use Blackfriars or Charing Cross.

We don’t have a time yet: the time, and the number of the court within the Royal Courts of Justice, will probably be posted online the day before. You can check online for that on the 9 October (see “1.4 Planning Court cause list”). It could be any time from 10 am. If you want to attend, you should allow 30 minutes to first go through security and then find the court.

Please wish the team the very best on the day!

Can you contribute to the legal costs?

Claimant Carralyn Parkes is fundraising to help cover the full range of costs associated with bringing a claim like this to the High Court. If you’re able to donate any amount, large or small, you can do so at her CrowdJustice page. Thank you!