The release of black cab rapist John Worboys from prison has been put on hold after victims won the first step in a legal challenge.

Lawyer Harriet Wistrich said an “urgent application” had been made to the High Court on behalf of two of his victims for a stay of his release pending a further permission hearing.

She said: “Update – we have been granted a stay on his release until an oral application between February 6-8.”

The Parole Board provoked fury this month when it directed Worboys’s release after a decade in prison.

He was jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years, for drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers.

Despite being convicted of 19 offences against 12 women, it is feared Worboys may have more than 100 victims.

Ms Wistrich said the papers were lodged on Thursday “because of the urgency” of the situation in trying to stop someone’s pending release from prison.

They were dealt with on Friday by Mr Justice Supperstone.

A half-day hearing is set to be fixed between February 6-8 in which Worboys can have a lawyer make representations on his behalf, according to Ms Wistrich.

After the development, she said: “Obviously it is a first stage. You can not read too much into it but it is obviously good that we have got through the first hurdle.

“Given that  somebody’s liberty is at stake I think that the court would have to proceed quickly. We are arguing that he should be in prison after the Parole Board has said that he should be released.”

She said Worboys could “potentially” have a claim for damages if the victims fail in their legal battle.

Earlier this week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched his own legal battle at the High Court to try to resist the controversial release, saying he would fight to put the “safety of Londoners and the needs of victims first”.

Mr Khan’s decision to begin a legal challenge came after Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor David Gauke ruled out a judicial review.

The mayor said he had lodged with the court an application for judicial review of the Parole Board’s decision to release Worboys.

He said: “It was an astonishing and deeply concerning decision that simply cannot go unchallenged. For victims, and all Londoners, it must be properly scrutinised in the courts. The chair of the Parole Board has welcomed this scrutiny.

“I will always put the safety of Londoners and the needs of victims first – which is why I instructed leading counsel to begin this process last week.

“Londoners need to know that those in authority are doing everything they can to keep them safe, and that means keeping dangerous individuals off our streets.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Justice Secretary supported the request for a stay on Worboys’ release while the Judicial Review is heard and welcomes the decision.

“It is right that victims can be reassured that Worboys will not be released until the court has had a chance to consider their views.”

Worboys became known as the black cab rapist after attacking victims in his Hackney Carriage.

The notorious predator has already been moved to a London jail ahead of his release, prompting outrage among his victims based in the capital.

The 60-year-old was transferred from HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire to HMP Belmarsh, south-east London, at the weekend, it is understood.

On Tuesday, police said they were investigating a fresh allegation of historical sexual assault which is understood to have been made against Worboys.

The incident was alleged to have taken place in 1997 and was reported to police this month. Worboys has not been arrested.