Jeremy Johnson QC and Georgina Wolfe successful in the Supreme Court in challenge to stop and search pursuant to s60 CJPA 1994

The Supreme Court today handed down judgment in R (on the application of Ann Juliette Roberts) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] UKSC 79.

The case concerned the question of whether the police’s power to stop and search pursuant to s60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was ‘in accordance with the law’ under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The appellant (R) had been stopped and searched pursuant to an authorisation under s60. She claimed that s60 was incompatible with Article 8 of the Convention because it was not in accordance with the law. The Supreme Court (Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Reed, Lord Toulson and Lord Hodge) unanimously held that the power was in accordance with the law and no declaration of incompatibility was required.

The Court gave careful consideration to the various safeguards which were in place to ensure that the power was not exercised in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner. In particular, Lady Hale and Lord Reed (with whom Lords Clarke, Toulson and Hodge agreed) singled out the restrictions provided by s2 of PACE and the Code of Practice as well as the Metropolitan Police’s Standard Operating Procedures. The Court also emphasised that the European case law did not mean that the European Court of Human Rights would find every ‘suspicionless’ power to stop and search unlawful. Indeed, the Court observed that there are ‘great benefits to the public’ in such a power.