At the end of April, the High Court ruled that the protocol issued by Coroner Mary Hassell that “No death will be prioritised in any way over any other because of the religion of the deceased or family”, was ‘unlawful’; ‘irrational’ and ‘discriminatory’. The validity of the Protocol (widely known as the ‘Cab Rank’ rule) was therefore struck down and quashed. We led the PR for Asserson Law Offices and the claimant, Adath Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS), for this high-profile case, which received support from the Prime Minister, Sadiq Kahn, the London Assembly and Jewish & Muslim leaders.

The 56-page judgement was unremitting in its criticism of Coroner Hassell. The words ‘inflexible’ ‘unlawful’ ‘over-rigid’ ‘discriminatory’ ‘incapable of rational justification’ and ‘misguided’ were just some of the comments used by the Judges to describe either Ms Hassell, her Protocol, or both.

Trevor Asserson, founder of law firm, Asserson, which acted for the Claimant, AYBS, said This victory by AYBS is a victory for the cause of diversity throughout British Society. Everyone interested in pluralism, and intent on defeating discrimination, in all its forms, must rejoice at the Court’s firm and clear ruling”

Following Coroner Hassell’s defeat in the High Court, the Chief Coroner of England and Wales, Judge Mark Lucraft QC, issued a new Guidance to all Coroners in relation to deaths that require urgent consideration.

The Chief Coroner’s guidance makes clear that, apart from lacking compassion, such a stance is wrong in law. Rather, “proper respect should be given to representations based on religious belief,” including by considering whether a particular case should be “treated as a matter of urgency…for religious…reasons.

Trevor Asserson’s response to the judgement and the Chief Coroner’s guidance appeared in many national, legal, and Jewish publications. Trevor was also featured in the Law Society Gazette as their Lawyer in the News and in The Times as their Lawyer of the Week.