Supreme quality

There was vindication this morning for environmental lobbying group Client Earth, which after being knocked back in the High Court and Court of Appeal achieved victory in the Supreme Court in its battle against the Government’s stance on air quality.

Although the Supreme Court stopped short of granting Client Earth’s application for judicial review, it did make a declaration that the Government was in breach of its obligations under EU law. The fact that the Government had already admitted being in breach, said Lord Carnwath, giving the only judgment, did not matter – it was appropriate to make a formal statement of the legal position and open the way to “immediate enforcement action”.

The case is now being sent to Europe, with the Supreme Court deciding that key issues need to be decided. But the ruling was greeted with delight by Client Earth’s CEO James Thornton and it is a significant step in the fight for better air across the UK.

The case is just one of a number of major cases to be heard by the Supreme Court over the next few months. Lord Carnwath and his colleagues – including new justices Lords Toulson, Hughes and Hodge – will be kept very busy indeed.

Elsewhere in litigation:

  • The battle over fraudulent misselling is ramped up, with Barclays and Deutsche Bank both plumping for magic circle advice
  • Offshore firm Forbes Hare has made an unusual litigation hire in London, picking up a lawyer from SNR Denton to launch a contentious practice in the City
  • The Court of Appeal has thrown out an appeal brought by Linklaters client Commerzbank over bankers’ bonuses
  • And Herbert Smith has relocated litigator Caroline Kehoe to Dubai from London