Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited v (1) The Scottish Ministers and (2) Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited
13 February 2014
Donald Trump has lost his challenge to the Scottish Ministers’ decision to grant consent under the Electricity Act 1989 for the construction of a deployment centre for testing offshore wind turbines near Aberdeen. The petition for judicial review challenged the decision on a number of grounds, all of which were rejected by Lord Doherty.
In an important decision, the court declined to follow the approach taken last autumn in Sustainable Shetland, Petitioners  SLT 1173, where Lady Clark had ruled that only developers holding a licence or exemption under the 1989 Act could competently apply for a construction consent. Lord Doherty agreed with the submission for the Ministers that the licence provisions were separate from those governing construction consents. The court also rejected the argument that the decision should be reduced for apparent bias, noting that none of the connections made by the petitioners between the applicants and the Ministers would raise in the mind of the fair-minded and informed observer the real possibility that the Minister who took the decision had been biased. The challenge on Convention grounds (lack of a fair hearing) and for failure to hold a public inquiry was also rejected.
James Mure Q.C. of Axiom acted for the Scottish Government. In the forthcoming appeal in Sustainable Shetland, Gerry Moynihan Q.C. also of Axiom has been appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the Inner House.
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