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Saudi Arms defeat for Her Majesty's Government

20th June 2019

In a highly significant judgment handed down today, the Court of Appeal has found that HMG’s decision to fail to suspend and to continue to grant licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia is “irrational”. The strongly constituted Court of Appeal (comprising the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, Lord Justice Irwin and Lord Justice Singh) has overturned the Divisional Court’s ruling (Burnett LJ and Haddon-Cave J) in the Saudi Arms case brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade in which Rachel Toney of 36Stone acts as Junior Special Advocate (acting in the best interests of the Appellant, CAAT).  The Court of Appeal has ordered that HMG’s decisions (1) not to suspend extant export licences for the sale or transfer of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen and (2) to continue to grant further such licences are quashed. The matter is now remitted to the Secretary of State to re-take the decisions on the correct legal basis. HMG has undertaken not to grant any further licences without first retaking the decision on the correct legal basis  or successfully applying for and obtaining a “stay of execution” from the Court. CAAT is represented by Leigh Day whose press release is here.

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