Inquiry – Chances of winning are high

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.

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