NIO’s ‘no-brainer’ decision for judicial review.. again.

David Cairns is no longer with us, but that doesn’t mean the remaining NIO team and, in particular, their boss shouldn’t be held accountable for the decision to issue a notice of opinion to approve planning permission for a major retail development at Sprucefield. That decision is now to be the subject of a judicial review. This will be the second judicial review of a NIO Minister’s decision on this proposal. The first judicial review upheld a legal challenge to Lord Rooker ‘no-brainer’. Lord Rooker is also no longer with us.. From the BBC report

In the High Court, Lord Justice Girvan granted leave for a new review. He said a former NIO minister had acted contrary to the recommendations of his own officials in approving the plan. He said David Cairns, who held the environment portfolio, had also failed to give reasons for doing so. The opponents of the scheme include the chambers of commerce in Lisburn and Belfast and a group of shopping centres including the Rushmere in Craigavon, Bow St Mall in Lisburn and the new Victoria Square in Belfast. The legal action has already cost the taxpayer at least £200,000.

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  • parcifal

    what no Hain ( shurely some mishtake ed )
    no libby story either.
    Time for a change at the top ?

  • Pete Baker


    Anything on the actual topic? Or is it just another bad hair day?

  • Alan

    There’s a time and a place for rejecting Civil Service advice. I can think of two or three examples where CS inertia or departmental, rather than public, interest, have consistently blocked progress.

    Clearly, the learning here is to have good reasons for bypassing advice and to record these assiduously. I believe that it is only local Ministers who are sufficiently in touch and have the credibility to make such decisions. So, rather than creeping back into the Departmental silos, we need to see determined leadership matched with good political advice.