The Countryside Alliance (CA) is taking its argument against the validity of the Parliament Act to the Court of Appeal today, where it hopes to have the original ruling against the argument overturned.
Today’s appeal is being heard by The Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales, The Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice May. A ruling from them is expected by 18 February, when the ban is due to come into force.
The CA has indicated that a ruling may be made as early as this week, after assurances that due to high levels of public interest this particular case is being dealt with more quickly than a normal appeal.
If the Court does overturn the original ruling, and agrees with the CA that the 1949 Parliament Act is not valid, then the ban will be overturned; if not, the CA will want to take their case to the House of Lords, but it can only do this if it is granted leave to do so.
If it is granted such leave, it may decide to apply for an injunction on the ban while the Lords hear the case, which the government has said it will not oppose. However, the League Against Cruel Sports has said it will argue vehemently against any injunction coming into force. Some argue that an injuction would help the government avoid trouble in the run up to an election.
Meanwhile, the BBC is reporting that it has gained access to documents confirming that policing illegal hunts is not going to be a priority, at least for Devon and Cornwall police.
The broadcaster says the documents, gathered under the Freedom of Information Act, state that:
- Policing hunting will be low priority compared to other activities like violent crime
- People with evidence of illegal hunting will be encouraged to bring private prosecutions rather than involving the police
- The Devon and Cornwall force expects that there will be some confusion with many reports of hunting – some of which will be legal, like drag hunting, and others illegal
Advice was drawn up on the assumption that the ban will be upheld, and that no injunction will be sought.