Green watchdog powers could have ‘chilling effect’ on judicial review process, say legal experts

Legal powers to be granted to the proposed Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) under the Environment Bill could hinder organisations’ access to the judicial review process, according to academics and lawyers.

The comments were made during a debate yesterday at 39 Essex Chambers’ annual event on environmental and planning law. 

The OEP, the body that after Brexit will take on some of the oversight and enforcement functions currently held by the EU Commission, will have powers to ask the courts for an “environmental review” of public bodies. The bespoke mechanism lacks detail in the bill, but could lead to the creation of an environmental tribunal system.

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