REPORT - CLIMATE CHANGE, THE COURTS, AND THE CONSTITUTION - Joshua Kimblin
23 January 2023
Before the Divisional Court, counsel for Friends of the Earth, a leading environmental advocacy group, alleged that the Secretary of State for International Trade had unlawfully provided USD1.15 billion in export finance to fund the development of a natural gas project in Mozambique.1 The claimant alleged that the Government had made the decision on the erroneous assumption that the project was co. [...] Third, the Environment Act 2021 and the creation of the OEP were among the first projects in the Conservative Government’s post-Brexit restructuring of the regulatory state. [...] However, the foundations of judicial review are constitutional principles, particularly the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the sovereignty of Parliament.12 Constitutional principles also inform the grounds upon which decisions may be challenged: for instance, the ground of legality engages parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law. [...] The centrepiece of the Climate Change Act is the target to reduce the net UK carbon account to 100% of the 1990 baseline by 2050.15 Likewise, s.1(1) of the Environment Act 2021 empowers the Secretary of State to set “long-term targets” for “the natural environment” and “people’s enjoyment” of it. [...] Those issues cannot extend into the realm of political judgment – which is the responsibility of the executive, not the courts – or into the domain of policy-making, or into the substantive merits of the decision under challenge.