The government is consulting on changing the costs rules on environmental legal cases, making it very financially risky for communities to bring judicial reviews.
The caps which restrict the amount individuals and communities are liable to pay are proposed to double, and you won’t find out whether your costs are eligible for capping or what the cap will be until you are much further through the process and already committed to bringing the case.
If the changes go through, many communities fighting environmental destruction will get priced out of justice altogether.
Judicial review is a crucial tactic that communities can use to challenge Government decisions that threaten their local environment. Even the threat of judicial review can force decision-makers to think twice about going against local people’s wishes.
Friends of the Earth is working with lawyers and politicians to get these changes stopped and preserve access to justice for communities and individuals.
And they are asking people to object to the consultation.
The Ministry of Justice consultation is written in incredibly technical language which makes it very difficult for non-lawyers to respond to. Presumably to stop too many people responding.
The Friends of the Earth lawyers have produced some easy-to-understand guidance for activists to help them understand the consultation, and put in a response if they want to.
You can edit, cut and paste Friends of the Earth’s comments into the Dept for Justice response form at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/costs-protection-in-environmental-claims
The deadline is next Thursday, 10th December, so don’t put it off!