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CAAT’s second judicial review

Summary of developments and links to key documents related to CAAT's second judicial review on arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Last updated 25 August 2023

Following the Court of Appeal judgement in favour of CAAT’s first judicial review, on 20 June 2019, the Government was told to retake on a lawful basis its export licensing decisions on extant licences, and not to issue any new ones, where the equipment might be used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

on 7 July 2020, the Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss issued a written statement to Parliament. She said the government had completed the review ordered by the Court of Appeal, and had determined that any violations of international law were “isolated incidents” The government would therefore resume issuing new licences for arms sales for use in Yemen.

CAAT filed a new Judicial Review claim on 27 October 2020, challenging this latest decision, on four main grounds:

  1. That the government’s conclusion that there were only a ‘small number’ of violations by the Saudi-led Coalition of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Yemen was incorrect.
  2. That the government’s conclusion that there was no ‘pattern’ of such violations was incorrect.
  3. That, even were it the case that the government’s conclusions on 1) and 2) were correct, it would not follow that no clear risk existed of further serious violations.
  4. That the Secretary of State for International Trade misdirected herself on what constitutes a ‘serious violation’ of IHL, in the language of the export licencing criteria.

On 20 April 2021, CAAT was granted permission for its second judicial review to proceed to a full hearing at the High Court.

The hearing took place from 31 Jan – 2 Feb 2023 in the Divisional Court, heard by Lord Justice Popplewell and Mr. Justice Henshaw. The judgment was issued on 6 June 2023, rejecting CAAT’s grounds for judicial review. Following consultation with our lawyers, CAAT decided not to appeal the judgment.

Documents up to to the decision to grant permission for Judicial Review

These documents became public before or at the High Court’s decision on 21 April 2021 granting CAAT permission for Judicial Review.

  • 18 September 2020: CAAT’s solicitors Leigh Day sent a pre-action protocol letter for judicial review to the Department for International Trade, challenging the government’s conclusions from their review of export licences to Saudi Arabia, and their resulting decision to continue to allow the export of arms to Saudi Arabia.
  • 26 October 2020: CAAT’s application for judicial review: amended statement of facts and grounds.
  • 26 October 2020: Witness statement of Ann Feltham in support of CAAT’s application for judicial review.
  • 22 January 2021: Government’s (open) summary grounds responding to CAAT’s application for judicial review. (NB: the government also submitted closed summary grounds which are not publicly available).
  • 20 April 2021: High Court ruling granting CAAT permission for judicial review.
  • 20 April 2021: High court ruling granting Mwatana for Human Rights permission to act as an intervenor in CAAT’s judicial review.

Documents before the hearing

  • 25 January 2022: High Court ruling granting Oxfam permission to act as an intervenor in CAAT’s judicial review.

Documents at the hearing and after

More documents will be made available following checking with lawyers.

More documents

Documents from CAAT's previous judicial review

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Legal challenge details

Learn more about CAAT legal challenge to the UK government licensing military equipment exports to Saudi Arabia and read the legal documents.

Campaigners with a Stop Arming Saudi banner outside Picture of the Royal Courts of Justice, including a man wearing a Stop Arming Saudi t-shirt printed white on black, and a person holding a green sign with the same message

Documents from the hearing in 2017

CAAT is challenging the UK government's decision to continue to license the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. This page collects together the legal documents from the legal hearing in February 2017.

Activists outside High Court with Stop Arming Saudi Arabia banner

Documents related to the appeal

CAAT is challenging the UK government's decision to continue to license the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. This page collects together the legal documents covering the 2017 Judgment and 2019 Appeal

Background to the Yemen war

A destroyed house in Sanaa with crowd of rescuers in front

Photo by Ibrahem Qasim, CC BY-SA

The war on Yemen’s civilians

The war in Yemen has killed an estimated 377,000 people through direct and indirect causes. Over 150,000, including tens of thousands of civilians, have been killed in fighting, including the Saudi-led bombing campaign, while many more have died of hunger and disease in the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.

Arms Dealers Dine as Yemen Starves #StopArming Saudi CAAT banner held by four activists outside a hotel under a mirrored canopy. The mirror reflects policeman in fluorescent jackets.

A humanitarian crisis, created by war

The war in Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. This is an entirely man-made catastrophe. It is a direct result of the devastating war in the country, and the strategies and tactics adopted by the parties to the conflict, especially the Saudi-led Coalition.

Storm Shadow missile parts found in Yemen

Photo by Hussain Albukhaiti on Twitter

UK arms used in Yemen

The UK government admits that Saudi Arabia has used UK weapons, made by companies around the UK, in its attacks on Yemen.

CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

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