Neil Garnham QC and Neil Sheldon are representing the Government, and in particular the Home Secretary, at the inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former employee of the Russian Security Services who died in a London hospital in November 2006, apparently as a result of poisoning with polonium 210.

Alexander’s widow, Marina Litvinenko has called for a Public Inquiry to be held instead of an inquest and she has challenged the Home Secretary’s decision to await the conclusion of an inquest and Police Inquiry before opening a wider-ranging Public Inquiry.

The court quashed the Home Secretary’s decision and directed that she give “fresh consideration to the exercise of her discretion under section 1(1) of the 2005 (Inquiries) Act and in so doing … take into account the points made in this judgment” They stressed that the judgment does not of itself mandate any particular outcome.

The full judgment can be read here.