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The Hunting Act 2005 is to be challenged in the Court of Appeal next week. The High Court rejected the challenge brought by the Countryside Alliance (CA) last July under the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, but the CA decided to appeal.

Both cases will be heard by the Court of Appeal in a five-day appeal hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, London from 13 – 15 March and 20 – 21 March. Sir Anthony Clarke (the Master of the Rolls), Lord Justice Buxton and Lord Justice Brooke will hear the appeal.

Although the High Court rejected challenges to the Hunting Act under European Human Rights Legislation and under European Trade Law, judges did agree at the time that the ban would have a “substantial general adverse effect on the lives of many in the rural community in England and Wales.”

The Countryside Alliance anticipates the Government will challenge this finding, relying on the fact that many hunts claim to be enjoying increased support this season. However the group is convinced this situation is “purely a show of opposition to the law” and that the long term impact of the ban will be significant and negative.

 A large part of the CA’s challenge next week will centre on the court’s justification for the Hunting Act. The appeal will challenge the court’s proposed “legitimate aim” of the Hunting Act (to prevent unnecessary suffering, to “protect morals”) and the lack of evidence available to identify this aim.

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