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High Court

Oxfam wins permission to formally intervene in legal challenge to UK arms sales to Israel

Oxfam has been given permission to formally intervene in a legal challenge to the Government’s continuing approval of arms sales to Israel.

Posted on 13 June 2024

The case against the arms sales is being brought by UK-based Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), and Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian human rights organisation and is supported by the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians.

As a humanitarian organisation operating in Gaza, Oxfam sought permission from the High Court to be an intervener in the judicial review of the policy to continue with arms sales. 

Oxfam’s legal team has been given permission to present evidence and make legal representations. 

In its application to intervene in the GLAN and Al-Haq case, Oxfam is represented by human rights team lawyers at law firm Leigh Day.

Oxfam previously intervened in a case brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) which challenged the UK government’s granting of export licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia which is engaged in war in Yemen. The Appeal Court determined that the UK was acting unlawfully by not determining where possible whether Saudi Arabian airstrikes may have been serious violations of international humanitarian law. CAAT was represented by Leigh Day in its legal challenge.

Oxfam Chief Executive, Halima Begum, said:

“We welcome the court’s decision to approve Oxfam’s intervention in this extremely important case. By continuing to licence arms sales to Israel, the UK government is failing to fulfil its moral responsibilities to bring about a peaceful end to this devastating conflict. We also believe it is failing to meet its domestic and international legal obligations to ensure that UK arms are not sold if there is a clear risk of violations of International Humanitarian Law.

“As an agency working on the ground in Gaza, we’ve witnessed first-hand the devastation the Israeli military has caused to families inGaza and to vital infrastructures. Oxfam has been systematically prevented from getting life-saving aid into the enclave, and our staff and partners face a constant threat to their lives while trying to sustain basic humanitarian operations.

“We strongly urge the Government to suspend all arms licenses to Israel immediately and, instead, use all the diplomatic leverage it has to push for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, to end the death and destruction and ensure the safe release of hostages.”

Leigh Day solicitor Carolin Ott said:

“Our client through its work across the world routinely bears witness to extreme suffering and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law but considers the suffering and violations it has been seeing in Gaza to be extraordinary.  It is essential to Oxfam to highlight what it is witnessing through this important case and our client is pleased to have been given permission to intervene and to have the opportunity to present its evidence and legal submissions.”

Carolin Ott
Human rights Judicial review

Carolin Ott

Carolin Ott is a senior associate solicitor in the human rights department.

Tessa Gregory
Corporate accountability Human rights Judicial review Planning Wildlife

Tessa Gregory

Tessa is an experienced litigator who specialises in international and domestic human rights law cases

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