Daniella Lock: Questions Regarding Judicial Deference in R (Campaign Against Arms Trade) v Secretary of State for International Trade

UK Constitutional Law Association

Last week, the High Court rejected a claim for judicial review, brought by the NGO ‘Campaign Against the Arms Trade’ against the Secretary of State for International Trade, regarding the exporting of arms to Saudi Arabia. The judges presiding over the case were Lord Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Haddon-Cave. It is argued here that there are several important questions to be asked about the approach to judicial deference taken in this case. They relate to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ role that deference may have played in the judges’ approach to complex factual material in this case, and the extent to which further clarity, as to the treatment of such material in future cases, may be desirable.

Background

The central issue in the case was whether the Secretary of State for International Trade is obliged by law to suspend extent licenses to export arms to Saudi Arabia as well as to cease…

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