A group of women who claim they were tricked into forming relationships with undercover police officers have lost their fight to have their cases heard in public.
A ruling was today backed by the Court of Appeal that the women’s claims their human rights were breached must be heard in a private court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT).
In January, Mr Justice Tugendhat gave permission for the cases to brought under common law by 10 women and one man, who are seeking compensation for emotional trauma allegedly caused by officers infiltrating environmental activist groups.
But he said that claims brought under the Human Rights Act against the Metropolitan Police and South Wales Police should be determined by the IPT, which holds a number of hearings in private and has no obligation to take oral evidence or tell complainants why their case is dropped.
Today, the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lady Justice Sharp said the IPT did have jurisdiction to decide all the human rights claims.
They went on to permit the appeal against the judge's decision to stay the High Court proceedings pending the determination of proceedings at the IPT.
The women claim they had a sexual relationship with a man who they later found to be a covert human intelligence source (CHIS), while the male claimant alleges a non-sexual relationship.
The police have argued that the IPT, which was formed in 2000, was the appropriate forum for all the claims as Parliament intended such cases to be decided by a specialist tribunal with a specially tailored procedure.
Three of the claimants say they had relationships with Mark Kennedy whilst he was undercover, the undercover police officer who spent seven years spying on environmental activists posing as Mark “Flash” Stone, one of which lasted six years.