Judicial Review Proceedings Issued against Government over Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia

10 Mar 2016

Judicial review proceedings have been issued in the High Court challenging the government’s decision to export arms to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

Conor McCarthy has been instructed by Leigh Day in the claim brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

The challenge follows increasing evidence that Saudi Arabian forces are violating international humanitarian law in Yemen. This evidence includes recent findings by the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen (appointed by the UN Security Council) that airstrikes by coalition forces in Yemen were violating the rules of distinction, proportionality and the prohibition on indiscriminate targeting as well as other rules of international law regarding the conduct of hostilities.

The United Kingdom has presently licensed the export of around £4.6 billion of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

If permission for the judicial review is granted,  then the High Court will be asked to consider whether the continued arms exports contravene the UK government’s commitments under UK and EU rules regulating the export of military equipment.

Conor McCarthy is acting for the claimant, and instructed by Leigh Day, led by Martin Chamberlain QC.