High Court Refuses Permission in Clear-Felling Judicial Review Challenge


On 21 December 2023, Cutts J refused permission in R (oao Robert Zachary Cox) v Forestry Commission [2023] EWHC 3332 (Admin) for an individual – Dr Cox – to challenge the decision of the Forestry Commission, as allegedly set out in a letter dated 20 June 2023, to continue its use of clear-felling/deforestation of the New Forest National Park in particular and on a larger scale across England in general. Dr Cox sought permission for judicial review on grounds relating to cumulative irreversible harm, breach of statutory obligations, procedural unfairness and breach of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Following an oral renewal hearing on 19 December 2023, the Court ruled the claim was brought substantially out of time, there was no justiciable “decision” in the 20 June letter and in any event, the claim lacked merit. Further, the Court found the Claimant had failed to concisely identify the relevant issues that the Court was required to determine, contrary to paragraph 7.3 of the Administrative Court Guide.

Joel Semakula appeared at the hearing and has advised the Defendant, the Forestry Commission, throughout these proceedings.

The judgment can be found here.

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