High Speed Rail judgment given

15 Mar 2013

Mr Justice Ouseley handed down judgment today on a number of judicial review challenges to the Government’s decision to proceed with a high speed rail link from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.  The Judge held that the Government’s consultation on the property compensation scheme was flawed and the Government will have to carry out a fresh consultation on that issue.  The Judge dismissed the other challenges to HS2, including, those brought by 15 local authorities located along the route of HS2.  The local authorities contended that the Government’s decision to proceed in Parliament by way of the hybrid bill procedure breached EU environmental law (the EIA Directive), that the consultation leading to the decision was faulty, that the Government failed to comply with its public sector equalities duty and that, in a number of respects, the decision was irrational.

However, following submissions made in court today, the Judge granted permission to the local authorities to argue before the Court of Appeal that the Government’s decision failed to comply with the SEA Directive and that the Government’s failure to reconsult with the local authorities (51M) on their Optimised Alternative to HS2 was unfair and unlawful.

The case has been widely covered in the media, including on the BBC and in The Independent

Kassie Smith appeared for the local authorities