Today the Court of Appeal ruled in a case brought against the Department for International Trade over the the lawfulness of the grant by the UK government of export licences for the sale or transfer of arms or military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Court has found against the Government over whether one criterion used to decide on export licence applications had been correctly applied.

The decision of the court today does not mean that licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia must immediately be suspended. It does mean that the UK government must reconsider the matter, must make the necessary assessments about past episodes of concern, allowing for the fact that, in some cases, it will not be possible to reach a conclusion. The government must then estimate the future risks in light of their conclusions about the past.

The full judgement can be found here, and a summary of the judgement here.

ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:

“The UK Government is best placed to make decisions on defence exports. The UK export licensing regime is recognised as one of the most rigorous and transparent systems operating anywhere in the world.

“ADS will work closely with the Department for International Trade to make sure companies are aware of any changes affecting the export licensing process and are able to take all necessary steps to fully comply with them.

"We will closely monitor further developments, including any appeal by the Government to this ruling.”