Countryside Alliance fails to overturn hunting ban

The Countryside Alliance’s heavyweight legal team of Allen & Overy, Sir Sydney Kentridge QC and Richard Lissack QC today (16 February) saw its appeal against the ban on hunting dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

The alliance launched its challenge to the hunting ban in November, after the Hunting Act 2004 received royal assent. It claimed that the Hunting Act was invalid because the Parliament Act 1949, used to push the new legislation through by the House of Commons without the consent of the House of Lords, was also invalid.

In January Lord Justice Kay and Mr Justice Collins found against the alliance in the High Court. It then appealed to the Court of Appeal, and this morning Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Master of the Rolls, and Lord Justice May handed down a detailed decision finding for the government.

In its judgment, the Court of Appeal said: “For the reasons we have given we have accepted that there was power to amend the 1911 Act to the extent of the amendment contained in the 1949 Act.”

The decision means that not only will the ban on hunting come into force on 18 February, but the three other Acts of Parliament forced through using the 1949 Parliament Act will also stand. Those are the War Crimes Act 1991, the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999, and the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.

Allen & Overy litigation partner Andrew Clark represented the Countryside Alliance, with Brick Court Chambers’ Sir Sydney Kentridge QC and Outer Temple Chambers’ Richard Lissack QC as counsel.

Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, acted for the government. The League Against Cruel Sports made representations in court, represented by Steven Heffer of Collyer-Bristow and David Pannick QC of Blackstone Chambers.