POSTPONED: November hearing will now take place in March

UPDATE: The hearing previously scheduled for 20 or 21 November has now been postponed to mid-March 2014. (Follow that link for updated information about the hearing.)

After a year-long battle against one secret court, the women face new obstructions and obstacles from the police, and a fresh fight against secrecy:

– Five of the women in this case are facing an attempt by the police to have their common law claims struck out.

– These are the common law claims of “deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence” made by the women who were deceived into long-term intimate relationships with undercover officers.

– The police will argue that the claims should be struck out because their asserted “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” policy prevents them from answering questions, disclosing any documents or giving evidence, and therefore they say they will be prevented from having a fair trial.

– The police are also applying, in the alternative (i.e if the strike out application fails) for orders: 1. releasing them from standard disclosure obligations (so they don’t have to provide any documents to the claimants or their lawyers), and 2. that the identities of each claimant and each police officer and each witness in the proceedings must not be disclosed.

– The battle against secrecy is not over. The women and their support group will be asking for public support during the week of the hearing.

– The exact date and time of the hearing HAS YET TO BE CONFIRMED (previously scheduled for Wednesday 20 or Thursday 21 November 2013, but this has now been postponed).

– For an outline of the different kinds of claims the women are bringing in their legal action as a whole, see this update on the case.

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This post was updated on 5 November following the Appeal court judgment which lifted the stay that had previously been imposed on three of the women’s common law claims; however we now understand that those women’s claims will not be joined at this stage. The post was further updated on 15 November to reflect that the hearing has now been postponed.