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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March 2005, 19:13 GMT
Fresh legal challenge to hunt ban
A hunt
The first legal challenge to the ban failed in the Court of Appeal
Campaigners have won permission to mount a second legal challenge to the ban on hunting with hounds in England and Wales.

Countryside Alliance members were ruled to have "an arguable case" on human rights grounds by Mr Justice Collins at the High Court in London.

It remains uncertain whether the Alliance itself can join the challenge, or if it is restricted to individuals.

A full judicial review application is expected to take place within months.

The Countryside Alliance claims the ban, which came into force in February, contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case also raises the question of whether compensation should be paid to those people losing money and their livelihoods as a result of the ban, such as farriers, saddlers and feed merchants.

It remains to be seen whether the latest challenge can only be brought in the names of members who say their individual rights have been infringed.

'Watershed' development?

The Hunting Act bans deer-hunting and hare-coursing with dogs, as well as fox hunting, in England and Wales.

The RSPCA welcomed the ban, calling it "a watershed in the development of a more civilised society for people and animals".

The first legal challenge to the ban recently failed in the Court of Appeal.

It was based on the argument that the use of the 1949 Parliament Act by MPs to force through the Hunting Act in the face of opposition from the House of Lords was invalid.

Three senior judges headed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, rejected this argument.

The House of Lords has been asked to make a final ruling in that challenge.



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