The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee held a hearing yesterday regarding a Communication brought by the RSPB, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), Friends of the Earth Scotland, and Leigh Day. The Communication concerned the compliance by the United Kingdom with Articles 3(1), 9(2), (3) and (4) of the Convention, specifically in relation to substantive review in judicial review and statutory court challenges in the environmental context. The Communication alleged that the practice of the UK courts in relying upon the standard of Wednesbury unreasonableness fails to comply with the Convention. The UK argued that Wednesbury unreasonableness is a criterion of legality rather than a matter of access to justice protected by those Articles of the Convention, that there are numerous other heads of review on non-procedural grounds, and that in any event there are numerous examples of substantive judicial review claims succeeding.
The hearing was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
The UK Government was represented by Charles Banner QC and Alistair Mills