This is a short (sign)post to this article in The National today, where I get a quote.
The proposal itself has been raised by Donald Cameron MSP of the Scottish Conservatives. Cameron is also an advocate who knows a thing or two about litigation – I dare say he has more experience of the cut and thrust of court processes than I do.
The Conservatives’ own story about it is here. (Strangely I can only find it on the West Lothian branch page, as opposed to the main page.)
My own quote in The National is short. Alas, an additional comment I made ended up on the cutting room floor. This is what I planned to say (in full, with the text that was lost emboldened and underlined).
Anything that improves access to justice in general, and access to environmental justice specifically, is to be encouraged and as such these are very interesting proposals. This is especially the case as the Scottish legal framework has occasionally been found wanting in terms of the Aarhus Convention*, which seeks to ensure that those hoping to challenge decisions that affect the natural environment can do so without being priced or otherwise locked out of doing so, although whether such a development actually needs to be tied to Brexit or could happen anyway is another discussion.
In terms of me actually offering something substantive on the story, it is a tad unfortunate that this text was lost. I think that remains my main question about all of this. What links this environmental court idea to Brexit? The example given of the litigation involving the John Muir Trust happened whilst the UK was in the EU. If something can or should be done in relation to this, why wait for Brexit? Sure, an event like Brexit is bound to make people take stock, but is it actually a necessary precondition on us taking action?
Feel free to comment below, or write to The National, or indeed write to your MSP with your thoughts on that.
*On Scotland’s compliance (or otherwise) with the Aarhus Convention, see this piece by Dr Ben Christman for the Human Rights Consortium Scotland. After writing that note, Ben joined the Access to Justice Committee of the Law Society of Scotland. I am also on that Committee. The views in this blog post and in The National should not be taken as the views of that Committee, although we may come to consider the topic at a future meeting.