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Make no bones about it: The story continues

In 2013 I blogged about Richard III and the Judicial Review claim that has arisen since the discovery of his remains in a council car park in Leicester.

The final Hearing of the Judicial Review claim was listed to take place on 26 November 2013 and everyone expected a resolution to this unfortunate dispute. But as my blog from December highlights, the claim took an unexpected turn at that Hearing when Leicester City Council (who own the car park underneath which Richard III’s remains were found) claimed they were the owner of the bones. That was disputed by the University of Leicester who had been responsible for the archaeological dig and who had discovered the King’s remains.

During the Hearing the Council’s position in the claim was also ‘upgraded’ from Interested Party to Defendant. This was on the basis that the Council had asserted a right to decide where the remains are buried and had declared that they would hold a consultation into the location of the burial.

However following the Hearing, the Council has now retracted its claim that it is the owner of the remains of Richard III. It is also thought that the Council has written to the University of Leicester acknowledging that, as the entity that uncovered the bones, the University is the rightful owner of Richard III’s remains.

The University of Leicester continues to be the current custodian of the remains of Richard III and is conducting research into the life of Richard III.

The final Hearing has now been listed to take place on 13 and 14 March 2014. However it is unlikely that the judgment will be delivered on 14 March 2014 and further delay seems inevitable. It has now been over a year since the University announced on 4 February 2013 that it had uncovered the remains of King Richard III and all parties are keen for a resolution.

Although, it is important to remember that when delivering its judgment the Court cannot, and is unlikely to, indicate where the King’s remains should be buried. The Court will instead review whether or not the Secretary of State acted lawfully when granting a licence to the University of Leicester permitting them to exhume the remains and reinter them at Leicester Cathedral without first consulting over the proposed location of the reinterment.

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Aimee Hutchinson

Commercial Dispute Resolution
0113 227 9203
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Aimee Hutchinson Blacks Solicitors LLP