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Court of Appeal overturns grant of interim relief in judicial review


The Court of Appeal handed down judgment today allowing all three grounds of appeal following an expedited hearing concerning the grant of interim relief in judicial review proceedings.

The Claimant (“RRR”) markets and sells a defibrillator in the United Kingdom. The British Standards Institute (“BSI”) granted RRR a certificate to market the device following a ‘light-touch’ review of the file, because the device was already certified for use in the European Union. Following a detailed review of the technical case file, the BSI decided that it should suspend that certificate because RRR had not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the device was effective and safe.

RRR issued proceedings and sought interim relief before Summary Grounds of Resistance were filed. Mrs Justice Lang ordered the BSI not to suspend the certificate, and also to renew the certificate in late May (in order to hold the ring pending trial). She also ordered the BSI to pay the costs of the application.

The BSI applied for permission to appeal the day after Lang J gave judgment. The Court of Appeal conducted an expedited rolled up hearing. All three judges handed down judgments and were unanimous that all three grounds of appeal should be allowed. They set aside the prohibitory order (restraining suspension), the mandatory order (requiring the BSI to renew the certificate) and the costs order below.

Lady Justice Laing, who gave the leading judgment, affirmed that the Court should be slow to grant interim relief against a public authority conscientiously exercising its public functions. She also held that a mandatory order of the kind granted below should never be granted (though Nugee LJ doubted whether he could be so definitive).

The judgment is here.

Tim Johnston appeared unled for the BSI, instructed by DAC Beachcroft, before the Court of Appeal.