R (O) v Secretary of State for International Development

14 Jul 2014 | by Caroline Sweeney

In a detailed judgment, the High Court today granted permission in a judicial review claim against the Secretary of State for International Development concerning UK development aid to Ethiopia.

The Claimant, who is known only as Mr O because of the risk of reprisals, is an Ethiopian national. Like many others in his community, he claims that he was forcibly removed from his home and suffered severe abuse in the course of the Ethiopian Government’s so-called “villagisation” programme. It is alleged that UK aid to Ethiopia has contributed to these human rights violations.

UK development aid is provided only on the express condition that the recipient Government is not in significant breach of its human rights obligations. Mr O argues that contrary to her stated policy the Defendant has failed to create or follow a sufficient system to assess whether Ethiopia is in breach of this condition. Mr Justice Wary found that the claim was arguable and “deserves a full hearing.” He refused permission in relation to a second ground regarding the Defendant’s refusal to publish her assessment but held that this could be relied on in support of the main claim.

Nikolaus Grubeck is acting for the Claimant (led by Jessica Simor QC).

Please click to view the judgment in R (O) v Secretary of State for International Development

This case has received coverage in various media, including The Guardian and The Express.