Prime Minister to face Judicial review in relation to bullying and violence related suicides and harm in UK schools.


The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is facing a Judicial review claim, that will argue that his decision to delegate the question of whether to commission an inquiry into suicides and harm due to bullying and violence in schools, as well as a number of failings related to the issues and an alleged cover up of those issues, to the Department for Education (DfE), was ‘Irrational’, rendering the decision unlawful.

The Prime Minister’s decision, came after a written request was sent to him earlier this year, asking that he commission an independent inquiry into the aforementioned issues. The Claim will argue that the Prime Minister was the most appropriate minister to make the decision, given that any inquiry would be asked to investigate alleged failings as well as potential criminal misconduct within the DfE, meaning that it was not appropriate for them to be given the power, to decide if an inquiry should be allowed to take place.

The Claim is being brought by Jason Barnett, a Christian and former teacher from Leeds, who leads a campaign group of more than 150 families from across the UK, that have had children seriously harmed or killed, with many tragically having lost children to suicide, as a consequence of bullying, physical and sexual violence in UK schools.

The threat of a Legal challenge was first brought to the Prime Minister’s attention in May, in the form of a formal ‘Pre-action protocol letter’ otherwise known as a ‘letter before claim’. The letter proposed that legal action could be avoided, if the Prime Minister was willing to accept that the decision he made was unreasonable and that he would look at the decision again.

The Claimant received an initial email from the Prime Minister’s Legal representatives requesting an extension to the normal 14-day time limit in order to be in a position to respond substantively and a further email informing of a further delay, in order to continue seeking instruction.

The Claimant in due course received a response, informing him that the Prime Minister did not accept he had acted unlawfully and that he rejected the Claimant’s proposal. After having considered the Prime Minister’s response, the Claimant filed an application for permission to apply for Judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The Claim has now been issued by the Administrative Court and served on the Prime Minister, as well as the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan and the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, as interested parties. They will now each have 21 days to file a response should they wish to do so. The papers will then be sent to a judge who will consider whether to grant permission to apply for judicial review on the papers alone.

If permission is granted a substantive hearing of the Claim will take place at a later date.