Permission Granted in Challenge to Export Licensing of Military Equipment for Yemen Conflict

21 Apr 2021

The Administrative Court has granted the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) permission to judicially review the government’s decision to resume issuing licences for the transfer of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia for use in the conflict in Yemen. 

The decision to resume exports follows a review by the government of the legality of exports, undertaken following previous litigation brought by CAAT which resulted in the Court of Appeal finding in 2019 that earlier licences had been issued unlawfully. This was because the government’s assessment had failed properly to assess whether KSA and its coalition partners had violated the laws of war in a series of incidents investigated by the UN and NGOs and found likely to constitute war crimes. A number of issues in the first challenge remain pending before the Supreme Court. 

The Administrative Court has now listed CAAT’s second challenge to be heard by the Divisional Court, at a date still to be determined.  

Conor McCarthy is junior counsel for CAAT.

In the first claim brought by CAAT, Nik Grubeck acted as junior counsel for interveners including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, while Gerry Facenna QC and Julianne Kerr Morrison acted as counsel for Oxfam, which also intervened in the case.