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London, United Kingdom

Hockman Stephen Q.C.,6 Pump Court
Environmental Law and Management | Year: 2011

Stephen Hockman QC focuses on the court cases relating to climate change and access to justice. Climate change policy as a material consideration continues to be used as a ground of challenge in planning disputes as in the airport cases from last year: Hillingdon BC v Secretary of State for Transport. The resolution was confirmed in July 2009 despite further representations from Fight the Flights, a local residents' organization of which the claimant was chairman. A request was made for evidence in relation to an alleged threat to a tree that was the subject of a tree preservation order. The authority refused to disclose some of the evidence on the grounds that it would identify the information providers. A complaint was made to the Information Commissioner. In relation to Regulation 2(2)(c), a multi-factor approach was to be taken to the question of whether a body was a 'public authority.'.

Environmental justice in England and Wales faces two major challenges in the form of uncertainty of costs liability for unsuccessful claimants and the time limits for bringing challenges to public decisions affecting the environment. The application of the tests of general public importance and the public interest has been the source of considerable litigation since Corner House, not least because of the broad discretion that it left to the judiciary to decide what was in the public interest or of general public importance. What constitutes a sufficient interest and impairment of a right shall be determined in accordance with the requirements of national law and consistently with the objective of giving the public concerned wide access to justice within the scope of this Convention. The objective of rapidity pursued by Directive 89/ 665 must be achieved in national law in compliance with the requirements of legal certainty.

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