Great news: the BCA has won its appeal against the refusal of the High Court to grant permission for us to bring a Judicial Review of the Welsh Government’s decision to exclude caving from its Access Reform Group – on the grounds that caving is not covered by the provisions of the CRoW Act 2000.
Winning an appeal – which was granted without the need for an oral hearing by Lord Justice Edis – was always going to be difficult, and our lawyers, Richard Buxton (solicitor) and Annabel Graham-Paul (barrister) deserve our warmest thanks – especially as they undertook this part of the case for free, because they believed that not being allowed to go ahead was so unjust.
The Welsh Government tried to deny us this review on very technical grounds, arguing that the decision to exclude us was not ‘justiciable’. Anyway, this rather sterile argument is therefore over and resolved, in our favour, and the next steps will see us proceed to a hearing on the substantive issues at stake. Defra has added itself to the case as an interested party: whatever the court now decides, it will have national applicability. It’s also possible the West Government will decide to reconsider the matter – which might mean they come back in six months they still decide caving is excluded, but in that event, we could start the case again, because they would have to pay our costs.
So we live to fight another day. At least there’s some positive caving news in the middle of this seemingly endless lockdown!
BCA CRoW working party convenor