Today, 23rd December 2022, SLACC’s legal team have sent a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities. This is not a definite commitment to submit a legal challenge. Technically, the challenge is called a “Statutory Review” , not a Judicial Review and certainly not an “Appeal” as some commentators are saying. The actual “lodging” of the action has to be done by 13th January, and sending a pre-action letter is accepted good practice. The letter includes a “first pass” at articulating the grounds of the claim (i.e. what we say are the errors of law); looks for the Secretary of State’s and WCM’s response; and requests disclosure of documents that SLACC has not been shown.
Once the challenge is “lodged” our Trustees would be liable for costs for our own legal team, but also for any successful cost claims by the “defendant” i.e. the government, and potentially West Cumbria Mining. These “costs” should be capped at £10,000, but SLACC Trustees will need to have enough funds available for that and to continue the challenge. This means we need to get to the £50,000 stretch target by the 5th January when our Trustees will meet.
Be assured that, in the unlikely event that SLACC does not proceed and any funds are unspent, they will be passed on to another legal battle against climate change, NOT kept by SLACC. Please give generously if you can afford it, and share this appeal with your networks and friends.