Badger cull: Date set for legal challenge result

The date for the result of the judicial review on badger culling in England has been set for Thursday 12 July, Farmers Weekly can reveal.

The case was brought by The Badger Trust at a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice, London, on 24 June. The trust challenged DEFRA’s two proposed badger culling trials which are scheduled to begin later this summer in the west of England.

If the judge, Mr Justice Ouseley, upholds the challenge, the pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset, could be delayed, or scrapped.

At last month’s judicial review hearing, lawyers acting on behalf of the Badger Trust, Bindmans LLP, said they had identified serious flaws in the way DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman had reached her decision to cull badgers.

The trust’s lawyers asked the court to overturn DEFRA’s decision on the basis of three grounds.

Bindmans LLP, argued that the culls proposed would not meet the strict legal test of “preventing the spread of disease” in areas being licensed, and may in fact increase the spread of the disease.

The trust also claimed there was a significant cost risk to farmers and DEFRA’s cost-impact assessment was “flawed”.

Thirdly it claimed, that the Mrs Spelman had no legal power to give Natural England responsibility to issue licences for the cull.

Speaking in court on 24 June the trust’s solicitor, Gwendolen Morgan said: “Given that DEFRA’s proposals come at an enormous cost to farmers, and threaten to prompt rather than prevent the spread of disease, we hope that this ill-conceived decision will be struck down by the court.”

The decision is to be revealed at 10am on Thursday 12 July at the Royal Court of Justice, London.

For more on this topic

Go to our dedicated pages on the badger cull and bovine TB

Join the conversation about reaction to this announcement on our badger cull forum