European Court of Human Rights rules appeal “inadmissible”

Crosland v UK (Application No 19482/22)

“The European Court of Human, sitting on 7 July 2022 in a single-judge formation  … has examined the application as submitted … The Court finds in the light of all the material in its possession that the matters complained of do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention … Accordingly, these complaints are manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3(a).

The Court declares the application inadmissible.”

Appeal to European Court of Human Rights

Tim Crosland has filed an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg alleging that his conviction for contempt of court before the Supreme Court, arising out of his breaching of the embargo on the Heathrow judgment, violated:

  • Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial, on the grounds that the Supreme Court, which asserted that the Government had taken the Paris Agreement into account in approving the plans to expand Heathrow Airport, despite the Government’s own admission that it had considered the Paris Agreement to be “not relevant”, and which subsequently referred Tim Crosland to the Attorney General, was not an independent and impartial tribunal; and
  • Article 10, the right to freedom of expression, on the grounds that the criminalisation of a person for highlighting the suppression of evidence that Heathrow expansion was inconsistent with the 1.5˚C Paris temperature goal was an unnecessary and unlawful interference with that right.

The application form can’t be uploaded but relevant excerpts can be read here.

Attorney General vs Tim Crosland

Nb. Just ahead of COP26, the “death knell” has been sounded on Heathrow expansion, as the top shareholder pulls out:


Tim’s appeal was heard on 18 October 2021, before 5 Supreme Court Judges. It can be viewed on the Supreme Court’s website:

On 20 December the Supreme Court decided to side with itself and the carbon economy:

Supreme court judgment

Case for Tim Crosland

“Barrister who leaked Heathrow judgment appeals contempt ruling”

Grounds of Appeal

First instance hearing

“And today everyone is going to hear that the Gov knew Heathrow expansion would breach the Paris limit of 1.5˚C. That is the real story.” #GovernmentKnew, BBC, 10 May 2021

See Tim Crosland’s personal statement, which breached the Supreme Court’s embargo on the Heathrow judgment as a deliberate act of civil disobedience. Tim’s protest aims to raise the alarm on the Government and the Supreme Court’s suppression of the evidence that Heathrow expansion is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement threshold of 1.5˚C.

Letter to the Supreme Court from Farhana Yamin, Sir David King, Dr James E. Hansen, Caroline Lucas, Professor Jeffrey Sachs and others:

“We urge you to consider the grave implications of this judgment. The highest court in the United Kingdom has set a precedent that major national projects can proceed, even where they are inconsistent with maintaining the temperature limit on which our collective survival depends. Indeed, the precedent goes further still. It says that the Government is not bound even to consider the goals of an Agreement that is near universally agreed. Not only does that undermine the UK’s status as a “champion of the Paris Agreement,” just ahead of the critical climate talks in Glasgow later this year (COP26). It also substantially reduces humanity’s prospects of maintaining that limit and hence, averting disaster.”

Tim’s application for proceedings to be live-streamed (rejected by the Court)

Tim’s written submissions to the Court

Tim’s opening submissions to the Court

Tim’s submissions on costs

Final order of the Court (nb although this is dated 10 May, it was in fact published only on 21 June)


Our governments can again claim to be committed to the Paris Agreement, while taking actions that are blatantly inconsistent with it.

In August 2018 Plan B began a legal challenge to the Government’s reckless plans to expand Heathrow Airport on the grounds that they had failed to assess the plans against the Paris temperature limit of 1.5˚C.

Initially the Government claimed to have considered the Paris Agreement. But as we put this claim under scrutiny through the legal process they backed down and admitted that Heathrow expansion had not been assessed against the Paris temperature limit. They attempted to argue that the Paris Agreement was “not relevant” to Government policy on climate change.

The High Court supported the Government’s position, and we appealed to the Court of Appeal.

On 27 February 2020, the Court of Appeal unanimously found in our favour, setting a precedent with global implications:

Court of Appeal Final Order

Court of Appeal Judgement in Full

Film of Court of Appeal’s Judgment

The Government has accepted the ruling. On 4 March 2020, the Prime Minister stated in Parliament, “we will ensure that we abide by the judgment and take account of the Paris convention on climate change”.

Heathrow Airport Limited, however, appealed the judgment, and on 16 December 2020 the Supreme Court ruled in their favour, claiming the Chris Grayling had taken the Paris Agreement into account even though the Minister himself had said it was “not relevant”.

Request for a review of the decision to support Heathrow expansion

2 May 2019 – Plan B requests a review of the decision in light of the net zero target and declaration of emergency

8 May 2019 – Government response to Plan B, committing to a review

6 September – Further Government response re review

Supreme Court Documentation

Supreme Court judgment

Statement of facts and issues

Case for Heathrow Airport Limited

Case for Plan B

SUPREME COURT  session on 7/8th October 2020

Press Coverage

Heathrow to challenge third runway verdict using climate pledge (The Guardian)

The Heathrow decision: a moment of truth (Tim Crosland, LegalAction)

Heathrow third runway ruled illegal over climate change (Damian Carrington, The Guardian)

U.K. Court Blocks Heathrow Airport Expansion on Environmental Grounds (New York Times)

(Financial Times, Editorial)

The Times view on the Court of Appeal’s rejection of Heathrow’s expansion plans: Lucky Escape (The Times, Editorial)

The Guardian view on a defeat for Heathrow’s third runway: a welcome precedent (The Guardian, Editorial)

The government must abandon its fossil fuel power projects. If not, we’ll sue (George Monbiot, The Guardian)


Canada’s Matt Galloway interviews Plan B’s Tim Crosland about the implications of the ruling on The Current (starting from minute 47)

Key documents from lower courts

High Court Documentation

A pdf of the press release can be downloaded here.

Plan B’s amended grounds of claim

Plan B’s exhibit

Government’s Amended Detailed Grounds of Defence Plan B

Plan B’s reply

Live Streaming Skeleton final (rejected by the Court)

Skeleton argument for trial

Divisional Court Judgment

Court of Appeal documentation

Appeal skeleton argument

Government skeleton argument

Appeal skeleton reply FINAL

Film of Court of Appeal Proceedings

Day 1, 17 October 2019

  • Part 1 (Plan B submissions begin from 1.38.30)
  • Part 2  (Plan B submissions from beginning of recording)

Day 2, 18 October 2019

  • Part 1 (Government and Friends of the Earth Submissions)
  • Part 2 (Plan B submissions from beginning of recording)

Transcript of evidence from High Court

(Plan B’s main evidence was given on Wednesday 13 March, starting at page 96 of the transcript)