UKELA litigation specialists, including BLM lawyer Jill Crawford, have expressed concerns about the uncertainty they believe will arise if the Ministry of Justice's (MoJ) proposals on Costs Protection in Environmental Claims are implemented.
The consultation, which closed in December, seeks views on further changes to the rules relating to costs protection in certain environmental challenges, governed by the Costs Protection Regime.
Jill Crawford, Convenor of UKELA's Environmental Litigation Working Party, said: "The government claims that the proposals contained in the consultation are aimed at providing greater flexibility, clarity of scope and certainty within the regime. We believe that, if the proposed changes are implemented, they will serve only to create uncertainty amongst all parties in litigation - including developers and respondents - as well as applicants. We also fear that they will cause delays in the court system and encourage an increase in satellite litigation."
In addition, UKELA considers that proposals will put the UK at odds with EU legislation and compliance with Aarhus and the Public Participation Directive. Jill continued: "It is important that changes to the costs rules should meet the requirements of the Aarhus Convention and, in particular, that access to justice in environmental cases should not be 'prohibitively expensive' as stated in Article 9(4) of the Convention."