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ClientEarth Communications

7th September 2017

Rule of law
Access to Justice for a Greener Europe

Humiliating defeat for government as House of Lords rejects new court cost rules

The UK government suffered a humiliating defeat in the House of Lords last night as peers voted in favour (142 for and 97 against) of Lord Marks' regret motion on the government's new cost rules for environmental cases.

It comes as ClientEarth, the RSPB and Friends of the Earth await judgement in a legal challenge to the government's rules.

Commenting on the regret motion, ClientEarth lawyer Gillian Lobo said: "This is a victory for the environment in troubled times. If government gets away with its new cost rules then organisations like ours would find it extremely difficult to challenge government failures like illegal levels of air pollution. This will be even more important after Brexit. The House of Lords has tonight stuck up for the environment. The government must see sense."

During the House of Lords the debate, Baroness Maggie Jones said: “It is clear that the proposed changes to the court costs will discourage environmental charities, local groups and individuals from holding the government to account when they fail to live up to their promises about protecting the environment. I refer noble Lords, for example, to the heroic and dogged legal case of ClientEarth on holding the government to account on the question of clean air, which has wide and enormous public consequences. The case has true public benefits and there are many other cases like it.”