Challenge by Richard III’s descendants to Leicester reburial back in court

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A BID to overturn permission for Richard III’s remains to be re-buried in Leicester will be back before the courts this week.

The Plantagenet Alliance, a group of the king’s collateral descendants who want his remains to be reinterred in York, are challenging the processes surrounding the Ministry of Justice’s decision to grant a licence to allow the University of Leicester to remove the monarch’s remains from beneath a council car park in the city and bury him at Leicester Cathedral.

The site was chosen by the University of Leicester, whose archaeologists and experts discovered his skeleton in 2012. It was given the power to decide where to rebury the king as part of the terms of the licence to excavate the former Grey Friars Church.

But the Plantagenet Alliance claims the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which granted the licence, failed to consult the public over the terms of the burial licence.

Granting permission for a judicial review, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said: “It is plainly arguable there was a duty at common law to consult widely as to how and where Richard III’s remains should be re-interred.”

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has pledged to “vigorously defend” the Leicester burial plan.

The judicial review will take place on Thursday and Friday at the High Court in London.

Matthew Howarth, partner and judicial review expert at Yorkshire law firm Gordons, representing the alliance, said he and clients would go to the hearing “with every confidence in our position, intending to state our case clearly and believing there’s every chance the licence will be quashed”.