Drinking water and breaches of EC law

The nature of the legal obligations on the Government where the UK is in breach of an EC environmental law have been explored for the first time by the High Court. R v Secretary of State for the Environment ex parte Friends of the Earth (Divisional Court, Queens Bench Division, 29 March 1994) concerned a challenge to the legality of the Secretary of State's actions with respect to the 1980 EC Directive on drinking water quality. The Department of the Environment (DoE) and the water utilities will be relieved that the Court upheld the validity of the Government's approach, but the judgement of Mr Justice Schiemann raises significant points of principle which will have a bearing beyond the specific facts in issue.

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