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The Court of Appeal upheld the Parliament Act as an act of law this morning, effectively putting an end to the Countryside Alliance’s efforts so far to prove that the law was invalid.

This means that a ban on hunting with dogs will come into effect on 18 February, as voted for by MPs in November last year.

There is still the possibility that hunt supporters could take their case to the House of Lords, but they cannot ask for an injunction until their case has made its way there.

The ban will go ahead, and pro-hunters’ plans to continue hunting, whether legally or illegally, are set to swing into action this weekend as meets take place all over the country in defiance of what many see as an unjust law.

View details of hunts’ meets on 19 February >>

John Jackson from the Countryside Alliance said this morning said that he was encouraged by the ruling and they are to petition the House of Lords to hear their case. He also added that although the Attorney General asked for fees to be paid, the Court ruled against this request.

Chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, Simon Hart, told Horse & Hound Online: “I can think of better results but it’s not all bad. The Judge said that further debate was required, and it will be had. The Judge also refused to do the Attorney General’s dirty work in terms of interim relief, and said that he would have to make up his own mind whether to prosecute people who are accused of illegal hunting.”

The appeal using the Human Rights Act is due to get underway in April, and a petition for the appeal against the Parliament Act is due to be lodged with the House of Lords as soon as possible, added Mr Hart.

Meanwhile a new poll conducted by MORI for the BBC’s Countryfile shows that the majority of rural people oppose a ban on hunting. The poll of 2,234 people UK-wide shows that even in urban areas there is no majority support for a ban.