The case in brief
- The Claimants: Helen, Kate, Lisa, Rosa, Belinda, Naomi, Ruth, Alison
- The Defendants: Metropolitan Police & the Association of Chief Police Officers
- Which deployments: Mark Kennedy, Jim Boyling, John Dines, Bob Lambert, Mark Jenner
- Legal claims: Human Rights Claims, Common Law Claims
- Solicitor for the case: Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce
- All these claimants have settled their case.
The story so far
In December 2011 eight women launched legal action against the Metropolitan Police and ACPO for the harm caused by undercover officers deceiving them into long term intimate relationships. There is a timeline for this legal action here. This is the original case that Police Spies Out of Lives was set up to support.
The women’s case included common law claims and human rights claims. In both parts of the case the women faced legal battles by the police, who have attempted to strike out the case, have the case sent to secret court, and who have attempted to hide behind Neither Confirm Nor Deny.
The women asserted that the actions of the Metropolitan police officers breached their human rights, subjecting them to inhumane and degrading treatment, and disrespecting their private and family life and their right to form relationships without unjustified interference by the state. The Metropolitan Police agreed that they had abused their human rights, in their full apology, which was part of the settlement of the case with seven of the women. These claims (those of Kate Wilson) are still being in the process of being investigated by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal – the secret court that oversees RIPA.
The women also brought claims for deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence. They sought to highlight and prevent the continuation of psychological, emotional and sexual abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers. These claims were conceded by the Metropolitan Police when they withdrew their defence.
The case can be considered won by the eight women. In November 2015, the Metropolitan Police gave a full apology, conceding that they had abused the women’s human rights, as part of a settlement. In January 2016, the police withdrew their defence against Kate Wilson, the last women still taking legal action, asking for the judgment to be entered against them in respect of the claims for deceit, assault/battery, misfeasance in public office and negligence.
Parts of the case are still remaining: An investigation into the human rights abuses by the Metropolitan Police, against Kate Wilson, is to take place at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the secret court that over sees RIPA.
All of the women now continue their fight for the truth about what happened, and for assurances it will never happen again, as core participants in the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing. They are also making a claim to the United Nation’s commission for the elimination of discrimination against women (CEDAW).
“The women assert that the actions of the undercover officers breached their rights as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, including Article 3 (no one shall be subject to inhumane and degrading treatment) and Article 8 (respect for private and family life, including the right to form relationships without unjustified interference by the state). The women are also bringing claims for deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence.”
– Press Release – December 2011
If you have information about undercover police officers that you think might be useful to these cases, please contact the solicitors for this case, Birnberg Peirce and partners, by emailing
Kate Thomas – K.Thomas#@#birnbergpeirce.co.uk
and / or
Police Spies Out Of Lives (this support group) – contact#@#policespiesoutoflives.org.uk.
(In each case, remove # and # which are there to prevent spam).
Further background on the case:
> Legal Action > Our Stories – the claimants
> Legal Action >The Officers – the specific deployments which this case concerns
> Legal Action >The Command Structures – the subjects of the legal action
> Legal Action > Legal Battles – an introduction to legal battles and legal procedures around the case