to state with accuracy and the estimable Joshua Rozenberg writing in The Guardian 8th May argued that - "Legal advice to the home secretary and common sense both suggest that "within three months from" January 17 means no later than April 16." Rozenberg continued - "But since there is clearly some doubt over the issue and Abu Qatada's team were apparently told by court officials that the deadline was April 17, any human rights court would surely give an applicant the benefit of the doubt."
Despite all of this, Abu Qatada's case will not be referred to the Grand Chamber. His request was rejected - see The Guardian 9th May 2012. Reasons are not given - more is the pity. Appeals are normally rejected if they do not raise a sufficiently serious new issue or legal question. On this point, I very much agree with a good post on UK Human Rights Blog which uses a lyric from Simon and Garfunkel's Hazy Shade of Winter as its title - "Time, time, time, look what's become of me." In this post, barrister Adam Wagner suggests that "in the interests of justice and transparency, this time [the judges] should raise their heads over the parapet and explain how they have reached their decision." Regrettably, they did not do so.
The court's judgment of 17th January became final - Othman (abu Qatada) v UK and Qatada's attempts to remain in the U.K. will now become a matter for the English courts and it may well be that this litigation will continue for some time to come.
See UK Human Rights Blog - Adam Wagner - "Abu Qatada appeal was in time but will not be heard by Grand Chamber."