LETTER TO EDITOR: Re Trump trumped

Letters to EditorDear Sir,

Re: – http://www.scottishenergynews.com/trump-still-trumped-as-work-now-starts-on-230m-aberdeen-bay-offshore-wind-farm/

Would-be US President Trump (still) trumped as developers now start work on £230m Aberdeen offshore wind turbine farm

Your lack of objectivity about the attack on the EOWDC by the Trump Organisation does not exactly bring credit to your publication. Schadenfreude, in these circumstances, is rather unattractive. 

In fact, the questions that were litigated were of the first public importance. They concerned the very meaning of the difficult and ambiguous key provision by which all <Electricity Act> S.36 applications at Inquiry are determined, and later, the correct way to interpret Planning Conditions which were not a model of clarity. 

The first of these issues was placed in doubt, not by any objector, but by a first instance judge in the Shetland case. In Trump’s litigation another first instance judge took precisely the opposite view to the first on the same point, and he dismissed the Judicial Review Petition, which had been taken forward on a number of other grounds. So there was every reason to take the matter to Appeal.  However, the Inner House (Scottish Appeal Court) dismissed the application, but took five months to do so, and the judges there were not unanimous in their approaches, only in their conclusions. The second issue was hardly considered, and was waved aside.

It was only in the Supreme Court of the UK that the first important issue which had divided the first instance judges received full analysis and treatment, and the second issue (about Planning Conditions) was examined with the care that it deserved, resulting in a landmark judgment. Although the Appeal was itself dismissed, the issues were covered with great respect and care, and the Court reached a definitive conclusion, in a relatively short time. We are indeed fortunate to have a route to take matters to such a distinguished Court.

What needs to be understood perhaps a little better is that these avenues of appeal exist for a very good reason; everyone has a right to go there, subject to preliminary permission.

Sometimes issues are of such importance and complexity that a fresh analysis and view are needed, and in the end a clear result can only be beneficial for everyone involved; to objectors of course, whose rights are built into our system, but also to developers, Councils, NGO’s, the Devolved Administrations, and to the law itself.

In the end, with clear law and improved understanding, we are all winners.

I acted for the Petitioners (not throughout, but in the Inner House and Supreme Court.)

 

John Campbell, QC

Advocates Library

Parliament House

Edinburgh

EH1 1RF

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