It’s civil society that will bring change – not politicians

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I was delighted to read this email from the Good Law Project yesterday:

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has today found that United Utilities can be held to account for the damage caused by unauthorised sewage discharges into the Manchester Ship Canal.

This judgment has massive implications, setting a precedent which breaks the shield around polluting water companies – leaving them open to apotential deluge of legal action.

The case started in 2018, when United Utilities tried to stop the Manchester Ship Canal Company suing them over sewage dumping.

When this case reached the Supreme Court, the Manchester Ship Canal Company looked at the watertight legal arguments we had assembled and asked if they could hire our barristers. The case was so important that we also decided to support an intervention from the Environmental Law Foundation.

This case marks our second major victory in the campaign for clean waters, after we forced the government to expand its plan for tackling sewage dumping last year.

There is change happening in our society, and it is not coming from within politics, which at best lags far behind. Instead it comes from within civil society.

At the end of a period of over-exposure to politics it is easy to be depressed by how dire the offerings of the major parties are. We need to take hope from the fact that they are dinosaurs, and just as the Tories now look to be in their death throes, so will this iteration of the Labour Party be so soon.

And it is in the basis of what happens in civil society - including taking on big corporations - that change happens. That is why I have always chosen to be in civil society.

And this is great work by the Good Law Project (who I support) and a massively important precedent to secure.

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