6 September 1996

Questionnaire on export ban

LEGAL specialists at the NFU have produced a 45-page questionnaire for beef producers affected by the export ban.

The questionnaire is part of an investigation by the union to look at the possibility of mounting a fourth legal challenge against the legality of the European Comm-issions decision in March to impose the export ban.

It follows an earlier legal application lodged with the European Court of Justice requesting the annulment of the beef ban under article 173 of the European Community Treaty.

Alayne Addy, NFU legal adviser, said claims for damages and economic loss would not be organised or lodged in any court until the result of the article 173 cases had succeeded in establishing the unlawfulness of the beef ban. The result of this case is expected next year.

Claims for damages from producers need to be supported by documentation which shows the losses incurred and that they support the damages case. It is specific to producers who have direct contracts with domestic or overseas companies.

Ms Addy said members should not build up their hopes of additional compensation. "The NFU may fall at the first hurdle and fail to establish that the beef ban was unlawfully imposed. "It is difficult to bring damages claims under article 215 and they rarely succeed," she added.

The questionnaire will be issued from NFU regional offices. &#42