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The other day I was blogging about Joe Rukin and his StopHs2 group, remarking how little visibility they have now they’re redundant, then this pops up – but I’ll bet you won’t see it mentioned on their website!

Why? Because it’s yet another expensive legal fiasco!

Apparently, Rukin had filed for a Judicial Review of the Government’s decision to proceed with the High Speed 2 railway. There was just one teeny, tiny problem. He never offered a shred of evidence to back up his claim – as the court decision reveals.

Not only was no evidence produced, Rukin’s landed with a legal bill of £4234! Only he isn’t really, because – like all the other spurious and futile legal cases brought against HS2 over the years, this one has been funded by donations from gullible members of the public. Of course, the final bill will be much higher as this doesn’t account for monies paid to Rukin’s solicitors, so just how many thousands of pounds has been wasted in total is a good question.

Over the years, anti HS2 campaigners have wasted millions of pounds of other people’s money on these lost causes (including taxpayers, as the Government can’t claim damages). The only people who’ve benefitted are the legal profession, who’ve been happy to trouser the cash.

For many years the leaders in this field were the Chiltern Nimbys who called themselves the High-Speed 2 Action Alliance (HS2AA). They took out dozens of Judicial Reviews against HS2 back in the early 2010s. In 2012 they took out 10 and lost 9. Only the most minor judgement was upheld and it had no meaningful impact on the progress of the project. You can find details here. They tried (and failed) again in 2014, this time with Hillingdon Council.

Of course, HS2AA are history now, the group folded years ago. It was left to ‘celebrity’ environmentalist Chris Packham to pick up the challenge of wasting people’s money, which he duly did with his 2020 judicial review, along with his solicitors ‘Pay Day’ (don’t you mean Leigh Day? Ed). The ruling when it came was excoriating, sparing neither Packham nor his solicitors blushes. People’s money wasn’t spared either as Packham had raised the ackers to throw away through a crowdfunder which reached £140,000.

Of course, over the years we’ve heard lots of bluster from other anti HS2 groups threatening judicial reviews, none of which have materialised.

One that did was another 2020 failure by Camden Resident Hero Granger Taylor, which was also Crowdfunded.

Ironically, Rukin’s has been kept quiet, with no mention of it on the StopHs2 website, but then that’s probably no surprise as it was a woeful attempt that was doomed to failure as he couldn’t offer any evidence to back up his claims! I’ll bet his humiliation won’t get a mention either…

I almost feel sorry for the people who’ve been mugged for money by these campaign groups or people like Packham (trading on his celebrity). They’ve spaffed* hundreds of thousands of pounds up the wall. My ire is saved for the people who launch these futile cases, knowing that they can con the money out of people to fund them. I also take a dim view of the legal firms like ‘Pay Day’ (you mean Leigh Day! Ed) who’re quite happy to trouser the cash on the basis that they’re helping to ‘test’ the boundary’s of the law. I’ve yet to hear of them turning round to anyone to say “look folks, you’re wasting your money, you haven’t got a chance of success”

Hopefully, we’ll see people less keen to throw their money away on lawyers and futile attempts to stop Hs2 now – but I won’t hold my breath..

*copyright Boris Johnson

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