Utilities Law Review - Volume 20 - Issue 6


The Duty of Care for the Environment: CO2 Reductions Made Mandatory
Wolf Sauter
Tilburg University and Dutch Healthcare Authority

The Hague District Court in the Netherlands held that the Dutch State was bound to respect climate change targets under its civil law duty of care as applied in the case against the environmental organisation Urgenda. Will this case form a precedent for similar actions in other jurisdictions or at EU level?

Comparing Dutch and US Approaches to Regulating Emissions of CO2
Richard J. Pierce, Jr
Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law, George Washington University

Professor Pierce compares the claim of the Dutch courts to have the power to order reductions of emissions of greenhouse gasses with the approach of US courts. US courts deny that they have the power to require reductions in emissions of greenhouse gasses. They limit themselves to reviewing the action of a regulatory agency that requires reductions in emissions of greenhouse gasses to determine whether the legislature gave the agency that power.

Shale Gas: Will the New 'Fast Track' Regime Live up to Expectations?
Clare Dutch and Harry Spurr
Hogan Lovells International LLP, London

This article considers recent changes to the planning regime for shale gas, and argues that the new rules fall some distance short of the 'fast track' system promised by the UK Government.

Case Comments
Compete Fairly or Risk Prison? Cartel Case Fails but Law Reforms Galvanise Regulators and Mean Watertight Compliance is Needed for Executives in Future
Rory Ashmore
Associate, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The author reports on this year's trials of executives from companies in the galvanised steel water storage tanks sector accused of agreeing a secret price-fixing, customer-sharing and bid-rigging cartel. Although the prosecuting Competition and Markets Authority proved unable to secure convictions of those two executives who pleaded not guilty to the charges brought, a suspended prison term was imposed on the other (who pleaded guilty). Furthermore, meanwhile, the evidential hurdle for the CMA before a jury is significantly lowered for offences taking place after April 2014, meaning similar cases in future are more likely to see successful prosecutions.

Procurement Contracts: Public Interest in Service Provision Outweighs Transparency?
Northern Irish Court Ruling Lifts Suspension on Contract-making for Civil Engineering Works despite Alleged Flaws in Commercial Evaluation.
Rory Ashmore Associate, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

This comment considers a decision of the Northern Ireland High Court determining a difficult balancing act between the pros and cons of keeping in place the so-called 'automatic suspension' on contract-making brought into effect by formal challenges under the UK public procurement rules. The ruling on the application by the NI Department of Finance and Personnel (to lift the suspension resulting from proceedings commenced by Fox Building and Engineering Limited, who had tendered unsuccessfully for two framework lot contracts for civil engineering works) weighs up the competing legal, procedural and practical considerations at play in order to conclude where the so-called 'balance of convenience' lies - that is, asking the question whether new contracts should continue to be held up pending the outcome of a trial on the merits of the claimant's action (in Fox's case, to alleged acceptance of 'nominal' pricing by certain bidders).