LONDON: The Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt does not have the power to implement cuts at the successful Lewisham Hospital in south east London.
Three judges announced their decision on the second day of a hearing in London.
Supporters of the highly-regarded hospital cheered when Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Underhill, gave their decision in an appeal brought by the government over a High Court judge’s ruling in July.
Justice Silber had then ruled that Hunt’s move to downgrade A&E and maternity services was “unlawful.”
Rosa Curling from law firm Leigh Day, who represented the Save Lewisham Hospital Group said: “We are absolutely delighted with the Court of Appeal’s decision today.
“It confirms what the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has been arguing from the start — that the Secretary of State did not have the legal power to close and downgrade services at Lewisham Hospital.
“This expensive waste of time for the government should serve as a wake up call that they cannot ride roughshod over the needs of the people.
“The decision to dismiss the appeal also reaffirms the need for judicial review, a legal process by which the unlawful decisions of public bodies, including the government, can be challenged by the public.
The government’s current consultation on the judicial review process is in direct response to these types of cases where it has acted unlawfully but does not want to be challenged by those who put them in power.”