Law Lords reject Parliament Act case but hunts vow to fight on

The House of Lords has rejected the Appeal brought by the Countryside Alliance challenging the validity of the 1949 Parliament Act, in a long and detailed judgement.

The challenge was brought under the names of three petitioners: John Jackson, chairman of the Countryside Alliance; Mair Hughes, a blacksmith’s wife from Glamorgan and Patrick Martin, Huntsman of the Oxfordshire-based Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hunt. Sir Sydney Kentridge QC led the legal team.

The Alliance argued that the 1949 Parliament Act, which was used to force the Hunting Act onto the statute book against the will of the House of Lords in November last year, was invalid because of the way in which it came into being by use of the 1911 Parliament Act.

Alliance chairman John Jackson commented: “It is obviously unfortunate that the law lords could not find in our favour, for technical legal reasons.

“It means that unless the courts find it possible to intervene, we live in a country in which, without the consent of the House of Lords, and the Sovereign powerless to intervene, the House of Commons can change the structure and working of our constitution in any way it pleases.

“There must now be concern that our parliamentary system provides no adequate check on the House of Commons, which itself has doubtful democratic legitimacy.

“The comments of Lord Steyn in the judgement are of great importance to us all.

“This is just one strand of our fight to overturn the Hunting Act. Every hunt around the country is continuing to meet and use a variety of methods to hunt within the law in defiance of the ban. We will also continue to fight the Hunting Act in the courts and in the political arena.”