Landmark Judgment on Export Licensing of Arms for Use in Yemen

The Court of Appeal last week handed down judgment in R (Campaign Against Arms Trade) v Secretary of State for International Trade, a case with significant implications for the licensing of military equipment for use in conflict zones by the UK.

The case related to the sale of arms from the UK to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for use in the conflict in Yemen. In its judgment, the Court of Appeal found that the government’s approach to assessing the relevant criterion of a ‘clear risk’ that the material ‘might be used in serious violations of international humanitarian law’ was unlawful. In particular, the Court of Appeal criticized the government’s approach to assessing the evidence provided by non-government organizations operating in the region of patterns of apparent international humanitarian law violations committed by the Saudi-led coalition.

Anthony Jones acted for those non-government organizations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Rights Watch (UK), intervening in the claim.