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Make no bones about it

On 26 November 2013 I blogged about how the High Court in London would be hearing both sides of the argument in the battle over where the remains of Richard III should be buried. However it would seem that I was a little too optimistic.

At the Hearing, the Claimants (the Plantagenet Alliance Limited – who claim to be descendants of Richard III) made an Application to join Leicester City Council as a Third Defendant to the proceedings. This Application followed an earlier Application made by Leicester City Council to be joined into the proceedings as an ‘interested party’. As an ‘interested party’ Leicester City Council would be permitted to make representations to the Court but crucially they would not be bound by any Judgment.

Leicester City Council, who have created a Richard III Exhibition (which recently celebrated its 150,000th visitor), clearly have an interest in the outcome of the Judicial Review claim.

The Claimants were therefore successful in their Application and as a result the Hearing has now been adjourned and is expected to take place in early 2014. The High Court also ruled that a time estimate of 1 day was not sufficient and the Hearing will now be listed for 2 days.

Interestingly at the Hearing on 26 November 2013, the Council claimed that they are the rightful owner of the remains of Richard III as they own the land in which the bones were discovered. This was hotly contested by the University of Leicester (one of the other Defendants in the case) who claim that as the exhumation licence was granted to them by the Secretary of State for Justice they are the owner of the bones of Richard III.

Following the adjourned Hearing a meeting has been held between the University of Leicester and the Council to see if the two can ‘join forces’ in defending the Judicial Review claim. Despite disagreeing over who has ownership of Richard III’s bones, it is thought that the Council and the University agree that Richard III should be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral.

The issue of who owns Richard III’s remains, although interesting, is largely irrelevant to the Judicial Review claim in which the Court must review the lawfulness of the exhumation licence granted to the University of Leicester.

The adjourned Hearing will now take place in early 2014 as Leicester and York simply wait with baited breath for the outcome.

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Aimee Hutchinson

Commercial Dispute Resolution
0113 227 9203
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Aimee Hutchinson Blacks Solicitors LLP