We are supporting women pursuing several different legal avenues to justice. As the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing progresses, more women are learning they are affected by this policing scandal. Although most women affected so far have been connected to progressive groups campaigning for political change, this is by no means all cases. All of the legal actions involve individuals who each have their own life and their own story. It is important to note the following:
- These cases are not the only legal actions concerning abuses of undercover policing in the UK;
- Not all cases involve the Metropolitan Police. Other constabularies are involved.
- Some of the people we support are Core Participants in the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing only and have chosen not to bring legal actions;
- There are many other people who have been affected by abusive undercover policing, some of whom may never be able to bring cases or seek justice through the courts.
We extend our solidarity and sympathy to all those affected, and to all those coming to terms with systematic abuse by the police. Police Spies Out of Lives makes no claim to act on behalf of, or speak on behalf of, other people who have been affected by undercover policing although we work in partnership with all those affected wherever we can.
Some of the women’s cases have been settled although many are still being fought. Despite the unprecedented apology given to the first eight women to bring legal claims, the police have continued to contest and obstruct other women’s battle for justice. You can read about our past successes here. Ongoing legal cases can be found here.
As more women discover (via activists, the Public Inquiry and other sources) that they too were spied on and violated in this way, more legal cases have been launched. We now know of more than fifty women who have been affected by these abusive, unethical and misogynistic undercover deployments.
We aim to ensure that anyone following or supporting these cases has the opportunity to understand the legal issues involved – including how the women affected are having to fight to have their case heard.
Harriet Wistrich (solicitor, Birnberg Peirce & Partners) spoke at “Undercover policing, democracy and human rights” meeting at the University of Manchester School of Law, 14th April 2016. She can be heard giving her over view here.
- What are the differences between a civil and criminal case?
To understand the difference between a civil and a criminal case, and the state of play with current criminal investigations, see here.
- Two different kinds of law
The women affected are bringing claims under human rights law, common law and some are also trying to pursue criminal prosecutions. To understand the difference between the two, read more here.
- Applications by the police to strike out the case
The claimants have faced attempts by the police to have their case struck out. For an explanation of what a ‘strike out’ means, see here.
- Police application for secret court
There was a battle in Kate Wilson’s case as to whether the human rights claims should be heard by a secret court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act). This was unfortunately lost. Read more here.
- ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’
The police have been attempting to evade legal accountability by hiding behind the smokescreen of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND). For more on NCND, see here.
BEYOND THESE CASES…
These cases do not represent the full range of negative and problematic impacts of undercover policing, nor how the practice has interfered with the recognised vital rights to freedom of expression and association. The ongoing public discussion and media attention has prompted those involved with these cases to issue a clear statement outlining Where We Stand. We urge members of the public to sign up to the statement, and to take action on the issues.
While we are a support group for these cases only, we have briefly outlined further information on the following pages:
- If you have been affected– for anyone who might have been personally affected by the issues, including links to sources of support.
- Background to other abuses by political undercover police
We are united in believing that every woman, and every person, has a right to participate in the struggle for social and environmental justice, without fear of persecution, objectification, or interference in their lives.
– Where We Stand