Friday 30 March 2007
Subject: Trident Replacement
Time: 10 am
Location: High Courts of Justice, The Strand, London
Today at 10 am a claim in Judicial Review is to be issued at the High Court by Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of their client, the Nuclear Information Service (NIS).
Peacerights and NIS are calling for governmental accountability on questions of illegality and due process in the replacement of Trident proposed in the Government’s White Paper, ‘The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent’, published on 4 December 2006.
Peacerights has obtained Counsel’s Opinion by Michael Fordham QC and Naina Patel, which argues that:
(1) The Government is incorrect in law in considering that “the UK’s retention of a nuclear deterrent is fully consistent with our international legal obligations” (paragraph 2-9 of the White Paper), by reference to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law, and viewed through the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on The Legality of the Threat and Use of Nuclear Weapons.
(2) The Government’s failure to consult upon the proposed replacement of Trident is itself unlawful in the circumstances.
NIS is calling upon the Secretaries of State for Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs respectively to confirm on behalf of the Government that:
(1) Its previously stated conclusion as to its obligations under international law in this context was incorrect in law, and that it cannot be satisfied that the replacement of Trident would be compatible with international law; and
(2) Its failure to carry out a public consultation on the proposed replacement of Trident is legally unjustifiable.
Di McDonald of NIS said:
"In 200 years' time, nuclear weapons will be viewed with the abhorrence felt about slavery. As in 1807, the law is the means to redress unacceptable social practices, and Britain can take the international lead again – before it is too late.”
Eight Hylton Street
Birmingham B18 6HJ
Phil Shiner, Lawyer:
0121 515 5069
Di McDonald, NIS