Barbuda runway challenge to be heard by the Privy Council

Thursday 2 November 2023

Marc Willers KCLeslie Thomas KCStephen Cottle and Thalia Maragh, of Garden Court Chambers’ Environmental Law and Climate Justice Team, represent John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank pro bono, instructed by Theo Solley of Sheridans. Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) are supporting the case.

The legal team also includes Adam Riley of 3 Hare Court, and they have been assisted by David Neale, Garden Court Chambers’ Legal Researcher. 

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On 8 November 2023, the Privy Council will hear an appeal by John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank against the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss their challenge to the development of a runway on the island of Barbuda, on the ground that they lacked standing to bring such a claim.

The Privy Council will need to consider whether the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal was wrong to hold that the decision of the Supreme Court in Walton v Scottish Ministers [2012] UKSC 44, [2013] 1 CMLR 28 was not relevant to the case. Lord Hope of Craighead in Walton made clear that a person with a genuine interest in the aspect of the environment they seek to protect, and sufficient knowledge of the subject to qualify them to act in the public interest, may be accorded standing in an environmental case, even though the challenged decision does not directly affect their own rights or interests.

The Privy Council will also need to consider whether the planning authority’s failure to disclose the environmental impact assessments relating to the development was relevant to the issue of standing, and whether the statutory framework, which contemplates public participation in the planning process, weighed in favour of according standing to John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank. Finally, it will need to consider whether the Court of Appeal wrongly exercised its discretion to decide the issue of standing at an interlocutory stage, rather than leaving the issue to be dealt with at the final hearing.

John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank will be represented in the Privy Council by Marc Willers KC, Leslie Thomas KC, Stephen Cottle and Thalia Maragh of Garden Court Chambers’ Environmental Law and Climate Justice Team and Adam Riley of 3 Hare Court. All Counsel are acting pro bono. John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank’s Privy Council agent is Theo Solley of Sheridans. The legal team have been assisted by David Neale, Garden Court Chambers’ Researcher.

John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank are also supported by the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN). 

Read more about GLAN's support for Barbudan land defenders here and support their CrowdJustice campaign here.

Read GLAN's previous news item on supporting Barbudan land defenders.

Coverage in The Daily Observer and Writeups 24 

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