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Campaigners win go-ahead for challenge to LGPS rules on divestment from Israel

A judge earlier this month granted the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) permission for a judicial review challenge to changes to the rules governing Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) that purport to restrict divestment from Israel.

The trial has been expedited to begin as soon as possible after 1 April.

The PSC said campaigners were concerned about increasing threats to freedom of expression in UK on Palestine, including government overreach in local democracy, and the rights of pension holders to divest funds.

The trial will consider “whether it is legitimate to prevent the LGPS from divesting in Israel as a result of its consistent international law violations”, it added.

War on Want and Campaign Against Arms Trade are to support the PSC’s legal challenge with witness statements.

The case follows the Government’s announcement in October 2015 of new measures governing LGPS and divestments.

Ben Jamal, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “We are delighted that the court has agreed that PSC’s challenge to the Government is of significant public importance and has granted permission for the case to proceed. This represents a huge step in our efforts to overturn the Government’s attempts to prevent pension schemes from making ethical investment decisions.

“The guidance represents a wider attack on people’s rights to protest about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights, including via the promotion of the peaceful campaign for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. We are determined to defend both the rights of Palestinians and the ability of citizens everywhere to take action in support of those rights.”

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