The long awaited Judicial Review proceedings for the campaign group, Hands Off HRI, against the Hospital Trust’s proposals will be heard on Thursday 15th March in Leeds Crown Court at 10.30am. The Group has amassed legal evidence and experts to challenge the downgrade of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and the closure of A & E. Although the Independent Reconfiguration Panel has now made its recommendation to the Secretary of State which we now await, the Panel does not have the power to halt the closure plan. It can only recommend that there is a further independent review of the evidence and visit the local area to meet up with stakeholders.
It is the view of Hands Off HRI’s legal team that the proposals are also potentially illegal and they need to be tested in law. The hearing on 15th March will consider all the evidence. However, this will only be the first stage of the legal case and is in effect, a ‘permission’ hearing where a judge will consider if there is sufficient legal merit to the case for it to proceed to a full judicial review. It is hoped that the judge will make a decision on the same day and Hands Off HRI will know if they have a case.
A spokesperson commented: “We have been waiting two years to get our case before the court, so this is a vital time for the campaign. The hopes of our community now rest on a favourable outcome. Our legal team will be presenting our latest surveyors’ report which questions a lot of the premise of the original business case. We are asking our supporters who are free on Thursday to turn up at Leeds Crown Court at 9.30am where we will hold a peaceful protest before going into the court to support our legal team.”