A High Court battle over where the remains of Richard III should be buried has been put on hold.
The judicial review, which was due to take place today, was adjourned after the court agreed to allow Leicester City Council to make representations as a party.
As a result, the hearing is not expected to take place until next year.
The judicial review will examine the justice secretary’s decision to authorise the exhumation and re-interment of the monarch’s remains in Leicester. It has been brought by a group of Richard III’s distant relatives, the Plantagenet Alliance Limited, who are campaigning to see the former king reburied in York.
The group is challenging the justice secretary’s decision not to consult further before granting a licence to the University of Leicester to excavate the remains. It wants to see the licence, which enables the university to decide where the remains are reinterred, quashed.
The university hopes to see Richard III reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.
Matthew Howarth, the partner and judicial review expert at Yorkshire law firm Gordons, representing the Plantagenet Alliance, told historyextra: “The adjournment was forced upon us by the late application of Leicester City Council to be joined as a party in the proceedings.
“It is frustrating – it should not have happened.”
A statement from the University of Leicester read: “The University of Leicester is committed to the reinterment of King Richard III in Leicester, as stated in the licence granted to us by the Ministry of Justice.
“The University of Leicester discovered the King through the expertise of its archaeological work and subsequent scientific investigation.
“We are of the opinion, and have put forward a convincing case, in line with the terms of the licence, that the King who was buried in Leicester over 500 years ago should remain in the city, and indeed in the very parish, in which he was buried.
“It is important to remember there would have been no discovery at all without a combination of factors that focused on Leicester – Philippa Langley’s Looking for Richard initiative, the University’s plan for the dig and its expertise in the execution of the dig and identification of the remains, and the fact that Leicester City Council had granted permission for us to excavate their land.
“The University was the principal funder of the dig and conducted the exhumation on the basis of a legally issued licence that permitted reinterment at Leicester Cathedral. We remain committed to that original purpose.”