On Thursday 5 June and Friday 6 June 2014 the High Court will hear an application to require the Metropolitan police to drop their “neither confirm nor deny” (NCND) stance in a case being brought against them over undercover relationships.
In a statement, the women said: “The purpose of our application is to request that the Court bring an end to the obstructive and distressing approach taken by the police, and require them to plead a proper defence to the claims. If permitted, the police will continue to use Neither Confirm Nor Deny to cover up the abusive, unlawful and unethical nature of their operations.”
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the women, said: “Three years on and we still don’t have any answers. The police must be made to answer the allegations. Ever since the deception started the police have sought to maintain their deception at any cost – including the psychological harm to the women who have been left not knowing the truth about these operations.”
She added: “There is also a huge public interest in this case being properly heard since it is seeking to explore the operation of undercover officers who have committed unlawful acts.”
For press enquiries, contact Susanna Thomas of Birnberg Peirce and Partners on 020 7911 0166.
1. Full background information on the case can be found here.
2. An explanation of this particular hearing, including an interview with Harriet Wistrich, can be found here.
3. The women’s full statement can be read here.
4. At a hearing for this case on 18th March, Justice Tugendhat said to the police: “Plainly the present form of pleading if applied by anyone else […] would be struck out. An ordinary defendant can’t say ‘I decline to confirm or deny.'”
5. In a recent Appeal Court ruling (in a different case), on 2nd May, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones stated that NCND “is not a legal principle. Indeed, it is a departure from procedural norms relating to pleading and disclosure. It requires justification similar to the position in relation to public interest immunity (of which it is a form of subset). It is not simply a matter of a governmental party to litigation hoisting the NCND flag and the court automatically saluting it.” Ref.: Paragarph 20 of Appeal Court ruling