Court says UK arms export licences to Saudi Arabia unlawful

The Court of Appeal has held that the UK government should not have granted export licences for the sale or transfer of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia that could be used in the conflict in Yemen – R (on the application of Campaign Against the Arms Trade) v Secretary of State for International Trade [2019] EWCA 1020.

The Secretary of State’s arms export policy precludes the grant of arms export licences where there is a “clear risk” that the arms might be used to commit a serious violation of international humanitarian law; “Criterion 2” of the Export Control Act 2002, the Export Control Order 2008 and Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP. The Court said the Government had not even attempted to analyse whether past violations had taken place or whether Saudi Arabian law prohibited violations of IHL and remitted the case to the Government to reconsider.

YemenYemen United KingdomUnited Kingdom

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC is a senior barrister (Queen’s Counsel) at Brick Court Chambers with a wide-ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. The legal directories say she is the...

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