Further to George Monbiot's article "See you in court, Tony" on November 26
 CND start court case against government

Staff and agencies
Thursday November 28, 2002

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) today launched a high court bid to block the possibility of the UK going to war against Iraq.

The group is seeking an urgent ruling that no action can lawfully be taken against Saddam Hussein's regime without the UN security council first passing a fresh resolution clearly authorising the use of force.

The application for judicial review is against the prime minister, Tony Blair, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon.

Today CND lawyers lodged papers at the high court in London, the first step in seeking permission to argue before a judge that UN security council resolution 1441 does not authorise the use of force by the United States and its allies, including the UK.

The papers setting out the CND application will now go before a single judge to decide whether there is an "arguable case" which should go to a full hearing.

A CND spokesman said the case was making legal history, as it was the first time a government had been legally challenged over the possibility of a declaration of war. He added support for the action was coming in from all over the world, including from the United States.

CND solicitor Phil Shiner said: "We are not seeking a declaration that war with Iraq is unlawful, but merely the use of force cannot be lawful without a fresh resolution. We say the government has got the law wrong and ask only that a judge gives a declaration as to what the law is to govern any decision the government makes."

CND is asking the court to arrange an urgent hearing because of the possibility of a declaration of war, or decision to use force, in the near future.

Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Neil Gerrard, along with Hywel Williams of Plaid Cymru, were at a CND demonstration outside the royal courts of justice in the Strand, London, as the papers were being lodged today,

They were joined by comedian Mark Thomas, who has in the past accused the government of failing in its pledge to be "whiter than white".