The statement by the governors in their written submission to the appeal panel gave the explanation “others had a stronger case for admission. These statements suggested that the first criterion was treated as a competition and not as a test to which the answer was yes or no. The child in question met the first priority criterion, and since that was oversubscribed, one of the published tie breakers should have been applied.

During the course of an appeal hearing a parent explained why she did not wish her child to attend the school which the council had offered, and referred to what she regarded as low Property conveyancing processstandards and poor discipline. Before an appeal hearing, panel members had a discussion with the head teacher of the school concerned and were given additional information which was not revealed in the statement sent to parents. It should have been obvious to them that this was unfair, but in any event guidance given by Parliament in a statutory code gave quite specific advice on the point.

The code emphasised that appeal panels are independent of the admission authority and must be seen to be so; and that they must follow fair procedures. But the appellants had no opportunity to question or to challenge what was said, or even to know what was being said. She has a makeshift lunch because we have not been able to find the bread knife to cut bread for her sandwiches. In most cases, it is expected that this will be after the Coroner’s inquest, although in some circumstances the Coroner may agree to earlier publication.

In this case, Stephen has taken the view that, both out of respect for the deceased, and because her name has already entered the public domain as a result of a Ministerial statement on his report, he should not anonymise the most recent woman to have died. He has likewise concluded that it would be ludicrous to seek to anonymise Dr Harold Shipman, the investigation into whose death Stephen completed in a glare of publicity.