Subject: LEGAL CHALLENGE OF TRIDENT REPLACEMENT
Date: Monday 26thJanuary 2009
Location: High Court, Strand, London
A date has been set for the Nuclear Information Service Appeal, calling for governmental accountability of the illegality of the replacement and maintenance of the UK's nuclear weapon system proposed in the Government's White Paper, ‘The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent', published on 4 December 2006. NIS's application for Appeal against the decision not to allow a judicial review of the Trident decision is listed to be heard on Monday 26thJanuary 2009. This oral hearing follows the refusal of the court to grant either a judicial review or an appeal on the basis of documentary and oral submissions.
If we succeed, we will proceed to an appeal against the decision torefuse a judicial review; if we fail, we will consider whether to proceed to the House of Lords for a ruling on whether or not a judicial review should take place in the High Court. Following legaladvice, NIS will not be pursuing the failure of the government to carry out a promised public consultation on the renewal of Trident because there is no legal obligation for it to do so.
Michael Fordham QC and Naina Patel, continue to argue that:
The Government is incorrect in law in considering that "the UK'sretention of a nuclear deterrent is fully consistent with ourinternational legal obligations" (paragraph 2-9 of the White Paper), by reference to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law, and viewed through the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on The Legality of the Threat and Use of Nuclear Weapons.
The Ministry of Defence denies the claims, but NIS lawyers are confident that John Hutton the defence secretary, and David Milliband the foreign secretary have erred in law and cannot claim to be above the law.
The response to the appeal for donations to a legal fund has been wonderful, and enough to meet our immediate legal costs. However, wehave not raised sufficient to meet the defendants' costs should welose, and we will need to ask for any such costs to be limited to the £4,000 we can manage. Donations from 35 groups and individuals totalling £4000 have been received, ranging between £10 and £1,000.In addition, NIS has been awarded a grant from the Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation for £5,000 the fund-raising project has been made possible by a grant from the Maypole Fund, to whom NIS is extremely grateful.