Crowdfunding Campaign Launched to Take the Prime Minister to Court for Changes in the Ministerial Code

The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) have today launched a crowd funding campaign to raise £2000 to take the Prime Minister to court for David Cameron’s decision in 2015 to weaken the Ministerial Code.

The case relates to the decision made by David Cameron in October 2015 to remove from the Code an overarching duty on Ministers to comply with international law. Only 11 days before the changes to the code, the Foreign Office made it very clear human rights were “no longer a top priority” and come second to business interests.

Although the current PM Theresa May published a new version of the Code in January 2018, the obligation in question has not been reinstated.

This is a unique case which could have a big effect on the way that government ministers approach decisions about international human rights abroad. The Code has recently been in the headlines after a series of misdemeanors by Priti Patel and Damian Green – both who were forced to resign or quit as ministers for breaching the principles of the code.

The GCHR is an NGO providing support and protection to human rights defenders across the Gulf. The UK record is disappointing with arms exports to Saudi Arabia and silence on serious human rights abuses such as torture and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders in Bahrain and UAE. The Court of Appeal hearing is on 14th or 15th of March. The GCHR are now trying to raise funding to cover the government’s costs in the event that the appeal does not succeed.

Sue Willman, senior partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn, is acting pro-bono on behalf of the GCHR instructing Jason Coppel QC; Hannah Slarks and Zac Sammour of 11KBW Chambers.

You can support the campaign on Crowd Justice here.