We get the green light from the High Court

Posted by jamess — 24 February 2011 at 6:17pm - Comments
We put the yellow pod on Chevron's anchor chain to stop their drill ship
All rights reserved. Credit: Will Rose / Greenpeace
We put the yellow pod on Chevron's anchor chain to stop their drill ship

It’s on. Today the High Court gave the green light to our legal challenge against new licenses for deep water drilling in UK waters.

We’ve been waiting since November – when we filed the papers – to hear whether the High Court thought our case was strong enough to warrant a full hearing.

Today that answer was clear: it is.

We’re arguing that issuing new drilling licenses is unlawful, since the government hasn’t completed an assessment of the risks from new drilling following BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

High Court Judge, Honourable Mr Justice Ouseley, responding to the arguments in our documents said “all the issues will have to be properly resolved and that will require full argument and consideration of the sort that can only be undertaken at a full hearing”.

It’s great news.

Judicial Reviews – the official term for our legal challenge - are notoriously hard to make it through to this stage and today’s decision is a vindication of all the work that our campaigners and lawyers have put into the case.

Now it’s up to the government to prepare a full legal defence of their position and we’ll find out pretty soon if any of the oil companies affected will pile in on the government’s side.

The process from here will take time but today’s decision raises the serious prospect that the government will no longer be able to continue to rubber stamp dangerous oil projects. It’s high time our politicians shifted their efforts into developing a comprehensive plan to get the UK off oil.

While nobody can predict the outcome of the case from here, we’ve got good reason to be confident. Our lawyers have a track record of epic victories at the High Court, from the third runway at Heathrow to the government’s nuclear energy plans.

As soon as we get updates from the case we'll post them here, but for the moment, it's time to celebrate this step forward.

If you want to read more about this Judicial Review and what it means, read our briefing.

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