7 December 2001
Inquiry – ‘Chances of winning are high’
By FWi staff
CHANCES of winning legal action to force a public inquriy into the foot-and-mouth crisis are more than 60%, says legal expert.
“We believe we can show the government was wrong not to respond to requests to hold a public inquiry into its handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis,” said Tim Russ, head of the agricultural law team at west-country firm Clarke Willmott Clarke.
A chance to persuade a judge to order the government to hold a public inquiry will come next February during a judicial review of the governments decision at Londons High Court.
Two other legal teams, Gabb and Co of Wales and Bristol-based Burges Salmon, are gathering evidence with Clarke Willmott Clarke on behalf of claimants who suffered hardship due to the crisis.
After hearing evidence supporting pleas for a public inquiry and the opposing view from a Defra law team, the judge will decide whether to order ministers to open a public inquiry.
A Defra spokeswoman said the department would defend the governments decision to hold two independent inquiries and a policy commission in the aftermath of foot-and-mouth.
FARMERS WEEKLY has pledged to support part of the costs of the legal action in association with Western Morning News and The Western Mail.
- To support the campaign, with pledges of money or evidence, contact Tim Russ at Clarke Willmott Clarke, Blackbrook Gate, Park Avenue, Taunton, TA1 2PG (phone 01823 445218; fax 01823-445816)
- Thousands back call for virus inquiry, FWi, 7 December, 2001
- Click here to read the covering letter to Tony Blair