Court of Appeal decides claims by victims of undercover police officers should be heard in open Court

In AJA & Ors v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis & Ors the Court of Appeal allowed in part appeals brought by claimants suing in respect of the psychological damage caused by undercover police officers engaging in deceptive sexual relationships.  The Court said that the judge below was “plainly wrong” in deciding that their High Court tort claims should be stayed pending the resolution of Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”) claims in the secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal (“IPT”); the alleged prejudice relied upon by the defendants did not outweigh the claimants’ right to have their claims heard in open court in accordance with procedures aimed at securing common law requirements of natural justice.  However, the Court rejected the argument that the IPT had no jurisdiction to hear the HRA claims because establishing or maintaining an intimate sexual relationship by a covert human intelligence source was conduct which was not capable of regulation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 1998.


Heather Williams QC and Alex Gask acted for three of the claimants, instructed by Tuckers, solicitors.  Charlotte Kilroy (led by Phillippa Kaufman QC), instructed by Birnberg Pierce, solicitors, acted for the other three claimants.

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