Permission has been granted to three British environmental charities to challenge court regulations that they believe create too great a financial liability in prosecuting certain cases.
In their action against the U.K.Ministry of Justice on behalf of ClientEarth, RSPB, and Friends of the Earth, the judge of a high court agreed to restrict cost liabilities to 10,000 British pounds.
Changes to the ministry's cost-protection orders expose campaign factions to prohibitive costs that run as high as possibly millions of pounds.These costs can deter the factions from putting forth important public interest cases, according to the campaign groups.
Justice Ian Dove agreed to expedite the case, which will probably be heard this summer.The new regulations make it necessary for claimants to make their personal finances public information in open court - in addition to the finances of supporting donors.
The statutory instruments committee of the House of Lords reviewed the rules, and in February, they concluded: “Although the Ministry of Justice states that its policy intention is to introduce greater certainty into the regime, the strongly negative response to consultation and the submission received indicate the reverse outcome and that, as a result of the increased uncertainty introduced by these changes, people with a genuine complaint will be discouraged from pursuing it in the courts.”