Marina Wheeler QC appeared for the Home Secretary in her successful application for public interest immunity in a Radicalisation Case.

Mrs Justice Pauffley has just handed down Judgment. The case is reported as: C (A Child), Re (No 2) (Application for Public Interest Immunity) [2017] EWHC 692

The Court upheld the Home Secretary’s assessment that national security considerations precluded disclosure, and also underlined the importance of examining:

  1. What other – non-sensitive – evidence might be available in a case such as this which would allow the Court to draw inferences and find the threshold criteria satisfied – the Court agreed that the Home Secretary’s decision to exercise the Royal Prerogative so as to refuse to issue the father with a passport (based on the assessment that he is an Islamist extremist who seeks to travel to Syria for jihad) is ‘evidence.’ The Home Secretary’s decision is amenable to judicial review but there has been no challenge;
  2. Alternatives to public law proceedings – especially other safeguarding measures such as the ‘Channel Programme’, the new Home Office initiative, the ‘Desistence and Disengagement Programme’ and steps to disrupt travel plans involving flight to a war zone by passport restrictions.

The Judgment reiterated the significance of the President’s Guidance – Radicalisation Cases in the Family Courts – dated 8 October 2015.

Marina Wheeler QC appeared for the Home Secretary with Melanie Cumberland instructed by the Government Legal Department.

Marina had previously appeared for the Home Secretary in C (A Child), Re [2016] EWHC 3171.

Members of Chambers have been involved in a series of cases concerning radicalisation in the last six months alone:

Oliver Sanders QC and Amelia Walker appeared for the Home Secretary in a judicial Review of the government’s counter-extremism strategy (Judgment awaited).

Oliver Sanders QC also acted as Counsel to the Intelligence Services Commissioner on his inquiry into the government’s responsibilities in relation to partner counter-terrorism units overseas.

David Manknell appeared in the Court of Appeal in ZX, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 155 which concerned licence conditions and family separation case in the context of radicalisation.

David Evans QC was successful in an application to allow disclosure to the Security Service from Family Proceedings in X, Y and Z (Disclosure to the Security Service) [2016] EWHC 2400 (Marina Wheeler QC was instructed by the Metropolitan Police in relation to an earlier issue in the proceedings).

Angus McCullough QC and Shaheen Rahman QC has appeared in many of these cases instructed as a special advocate.

Martin Downs appeared in the first cases where the Courts were asked to make civil orders to prevent children and young people being taken to Syria in 2015 and has appeared in about twenty such hearings subsequently. He has also written widely on the subject.

Marina Wheeler QC has been interviewed on BBC Radio and written widely elsewhere on the legal issues thrown up by these cases.