Jodey Whiting’s mother has won a major victory in her incredibly brave battle to hold the DWP to account for their part in her daughter’s death. The Court of Appeal have agreed to hear her challenge against the High Court’s refusal to hold a second inquest.
Jodey died in February 2017. Her ESA had been stopped after she failed to attend a work capability assessment.
Jodey had been seriously ill with pneumonia, had been receiving treatment for a cyst on the brain and was taking strong painkillers. Nonetheless, she had been refused a home assessment for her ESA and failed to open the appointment letter for a WCA at an assessment centre.
As a result, her benefits were stopped.
The Independent Case Examiner later found that the DWP failed five times to follow its own safeguarding procedures.
Yet an inquest into Jodey’s death lasted less than an hour and failed to even look at the part the DWP played in the tragedy.
Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, launched a petition to have an enquiry into the DWP’s role which received over 50,000 signatures but was dismissed by the government.
Joy also began legal action to have a second inquest into her daughter’s death. The case was dogged by dirty tricks played by the DWP.
Following a two-day hearing in June 2021, the High Court dismissed Joy’s application on 17 September 2021, ruling that the new evidence that had come to light since the first inquest did not require a fresh inquest to be held in the interests of justice.
Joy initially applied to the High Court for permission to appeal this decision in October 2021, but the application was refused. She then made an application to the Court of Appeal, which has now been granted.
The application to the Court of Appeal was brought on the grounds that the High Court was wrong to find it was not necessary or desirable in the interests of justice, based on the new evidence now available, for a second inquest to be held. The application also argued that the court was wrong to find that Article 2, the right to life, was not engaged by the circumstances of Jodey’s death.
Jodey’s mother said:
“I am over the moon with the court’s decision and cannot thank the judge enough for looking into Jodey’s case. There has been a lot of mixed emotions for me over the last year, not wanting to get my hopes up and trying to second guess the court’s decision. I can’t wait to get back into court to hear Jodey’s case presented to the Court of Appeal. I am so pleased to be able to continue the fight for justice for Jodey, it is such a relief that this is not the end.”
Merry Varney, partner at law firm Leigh Day, added:
"The Court of Appeal's decision to grant Joy permission to appeal is a very welcome and significant step forward. Joy's fight for a full and fearless inquest to investigate Jodey's death continues. We look forward to presenting Joy’s case for a new inquest to the Court of Appeal in the coming months."