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26 July 1999
Roger Pearson reports on a jet leasing company's bid to overturn EuropeanCommissionregulations in the High Court.The High Court has paved the way for a legal challenge tonew ECregulations aimed at reducing noise and gas emissions from aircraft.CouncilRegulation (EC) No 925/199 came into force on 8 May this year, butis not due to be putinto effect until next May.Consultations are already under way over whether it shouldever becomeeffective.And Mr Justice Maurice Kay has granted aircraft maintenance companyOmegaAir leave to mount a challenge in the High Court to the new rules.Omega, whichbuys, modifies and leases ageing Boeing 707s, claims theregulations will put itsbusiness in jeopardy.The company claims that it is already suffering adverse effectseventhough the ruling is not yet effective.It claims that the regulation breaches thegeneral principles ofnon-discrimination and protection of legitimate expectation.Omegaalso claims the regulation infringes the General Agreement onTariffs and Trade and theChicago Convention.In granting the company leave in the case of R v Secretary of Stateforthe Environment, Transport and Regions ex parte Omega Air Ltd, to seekjudicial reviewof the regulation, Mr Justice Maurice Kay said that atfirst sight the notion of such areview in the UK courts was an oddity asonly the European Court of Justice had power toannul EU legislation.However, he said Omega was seeking judicial review here as a meansofpersuading the High Court to refer the issues of validity to the Court ofJustice.Whilehe said he questioned the appropriateness of such an approach he wassatisfied that Omegahad an "arguable case" which was appropriate for fullconsideration by the High Court.Hesaid it was possible that at the full hearing the Secretary of State'sarguments wouldsucceed but he did not consider that was reason to refuseto allow Omega's case toproceed.He said that because of its importance the case should be heard as soonaspossible after the start of the next legal term in October.
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