Neil Sheldon QC acted for the Foreign Secretary in the case of Gannon & Warsama v Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Sasha Wass QC [2020] EWCA Civ 142, which concerned the report of a non-statutory inquiry into allegations of child sexual abuse on the island of St Helena.

The Inquiry’s report, which was authored by Sasha Wass QC, was highly critical of two social workers who had been the source of many of the most serious allegations of abuse. The Claimants brought a claim under Article 8 ECHR on the grounds that the Inquiry had been unfairly conducted and the trenchant criticisms in the report meant that they would never work again. The claim was defended by the Foreign Secretary on the grounds that the report, having been presented to the House of Commons by way of a motion for an unopposed return, was subject to Parliamentary privilege, as conferred by Article IX of the Bill of Rights 1689. That defence was upheld by the Court of Appeal, the Lord Chief Justice presiding, and the claims were struck out.

The judgment contains one of the most complete and authoritative explanations of the scope of Article IX and the definition of a ‘proceeding in Parliament’, and also sets out the causation test to be applied in determining claims brought under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Judgment available here and Lawtel report available here.