Judges reject miners' plea over documents

Click to follow
Lawyers for mineworkers' unions yesterday failed in their High Court attempt to force the Government and British Coal to hand over copies of official papers connected with the decision to earmark 10 pits for early closure.

The unions asked the court to order 'discovery' of the documents in the light of allegations that the 10 were selected on an arbitrary basis to buy off a Tory backbench rebellion. John Hendy QC, for the mineworkers, said the allegations, if true, undermined the assertion of British Coal and Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, that the pits were chosen for shut-down because they were uneconomic and not viable for the future.

Lord Justice Glidewell, sitting with Mr Justice Hidden, refused the application and said reasons would be given later. The hearing continues today.