Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 224 (Mar)
Court: Divisional Court

Simon Brown LJ and Scott Baker J

Representation Richard Lissack QC, Andrew Spink and Robert Temmink (instructed by Clarke Willmott & Clarke) for Persey
  Stephen Smith QC and David Warner (instructed by Burgess Salmon) for Jackson.
  Richard Gordon QC, Nicholas Bowen and Galina Ward (instructed by Gabb & Co) for Hindmarsh.
  Desmond Browne QC and Mark Warby (instructed by Reynold Porter Chamberlain) for the interveners.
  Lord Goldsmith QC, Philip Sales and Kassie Smith (instructed by DEFRA) for the Secretary of State.
Judgment Dates: 15 March 2002


Natural justice - Private inquiry - Foot and mouth outbreak - Government setting up three private inquiries - Whether inquiries properly constituted - Whether inquiry ought to be held in public - Whether decision of Secretary of State to hold private inquiry irrational or unlawful.

The Case

The decision of the Secretary of State following the foot and mouth crisis to hold the Lessons Learned Inquiry in private was one properly open to government to take and was incapable of being impugned as irrational or otherwise unlawful. It was pre-eminently a political decision and no one was entitled to a public inquiry. Furthermore, art10 of the European Convention of Human Rights was not engaged. That article prohibited interference with freedom of expression: it did not require its facilitation.

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