Government tries to silence charities

Monday 16th June 2014

Wildlife and countryside charities are very concerned that proposals in the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill being debated in the House of Commons will make it even harder than it already is to overturn decisions that damage biodiversity or the environment.  Creating a law that forces Judges to refuse claim where it is “highly likely that the outcome for the applicant would not have been substantially different” means that Government decision makers are in effect being given a licence to break the law as long as the outcome is not significantly affected.  Even more pernicious is the clause giving the courts the power to put in the public arena the personal financial details of individuals who provide donations to charities and to then award costs against them, even when the charity is simply intervening in someone else’s court case to provide helpful information related to their charitable cause.  This is clearly an attempt at intimidation.

There is very little evidence that people trying to protect their environment are hindering economic development, and manipulating the justice system to scare them away is unethical and authoritarian.   Wildlife and countryside charities are appealing to MPs to strike through the relevant provisions, or failing that to exclude environmental cases.

The full Wildlife and Countryside Link briefing developed by Buglife and other wildlife charities.