Pollock Judicial Review: we're winning - but we've got a serious problem

Peter Roderick:

"You'll know from my last two emails that we're winning our fight against Jeremy Hunt's and NHS England's plans to allow private companies to take control of our health and care services - a national public consultation on implementing the policy on accountable care organisations (ACOs) has been conceded, and a judge has ruled that arguments on the lawfulness of the ACO policy itself should be heard.

But here's our problem. We've raised £180,000 altogether. An amazing and remarkable achievement. We were confident that this would be enough. We were wrong.

The government and NHS England are resisting every inch of the way and have already run up over £90,000 that they have claimed from us. On the basis of their estimated costs we have been advised that we face a potential liability of £350-400,000 if we lose. Plus maybe VAT. If we can't limit our potential liability, then the case is over. We would have to withdraw.

But we don't want to withdraw. We want the case to continue. So: can we show the government, NHS England and the court that thousands of others do too?

We have good arguments as to why we should not have to pay anywhere near this amount, even if we don't win in the end, but the risk of not persuading a judge when the amount is so high is too great.

When we asked the court for permission to bring the case we also asked for a cost capping order, and we told the court that we would withdraw from the case without one. Mr Justice Walker gave permission for a full hearing, but he decided not to cap costs on the grounds that there was good reason to believe we would raise the money from crowd funding.

We may appeal against this decision – which itself means more costs - but in the meantime our solicitors have now written to the lawyers for the Secretary of State and NHS England, pointing out the importance of this case and  suggesting we agree that each side bear their own costs, whatever the outcome.  This would act as a disincentive to running up unnecessary costs and mean the case could be heard.  We hope they will agree, but if not we will ask the court again for a cost capping order.

It would help our case and show our determination to continue if we ask the public now if they are willing to keep this case going and so at 8 p.m. tonight we are launching a third round of fundraising.    

This is the link for Round 3: www.crowdjustice.com/case/jr4nhs-round3 

We have set a target of £100,000, but we can't possibly know at this point how much more we need – so the target isn't really a target, it's just an amount that seems to us reasonable in all the circumstances.

Having a third round of fundraising was the last thing we expected to be doing, but we want to keep the case going and want to give the public the chance to show that they do as well.

Please do what you can to let as many people as possible know – here again is the link:

www.crowdjustice.com/case/jr4nhs-round3 

We are only in this position because of everybody's fantastic support. We need it now as much as ever.

Many many thanks,

Peter"