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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Judge rejects hunt argument
Protesters outside court
Campaigners say the ban breaches human rights
A judge has rejected calls to throw out a legal challenge to the ban on foxhunting in Scotland.

Lord Nimmo Smith has agreed to hear a petition backed by the Countryside Alliance which claims the new law breaches human rights.

He decided it was acceptable for senior law officers to defend the Protection of Wild Mammals Act rather than the Scottish Parliament.

The ban, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February, is due to come into effect on 1 August.

MSPs voted in favour of outlawing hunting with hounds, which effectively stamped out mounted fox hunts, hare coursing and fox baiting.

Nine groups and individuals have lodged petitions at the Court of Session in Edinburgh claiming that the act infringes their human rights.

A farmer, a landowner, a hunt supporters' club and a hunt chairman are among those who say their way of life will be adversely affected by the new law.

The protesters name Advocate General Lynda Clark QC and the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC in their action.

Submissions rejected

That move was challenged by Dr Clark, who argued that they should have been pursuing the Scottish Parliament instead.

Colin Tyre QC, the lawyer acting on her behalf, said on Tuesday that the Advocate General was "not answerable to this court for acts of the Scottish Parliament or, for that matter, the Scottish Executive".

However, after deliberating overnight Lord Nimmo Smith said he did not agree with Dr Clark.


This legislation is very far from being a novel intervention into the freedom of human beings to act as they wish towards animals

James Wolffe QC

"I reject the submissions of Mr Tyre on behalf of the advocate general and the plea to the relevancy so far as the positions of the advocate general and the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body are concerned," he said.

Following the ruling James Wolffe QC, one of the lawyers acting on behalf of the Lord Advocate, urged Lord Nimmo Smith to reject the campaigners' argument.

'Novel intervention'

He claimed that the organisations could not prove the legislation infringed the individual human rights of their members.

He said it was one of many laws governing the way that humans can treat animals.

Mr Wolffe said: "This legislation is very far from being a novel intervention into the freedom of human beings to act as they wish towards animals."

The hearing continues.

Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

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The Scottish ban

Analysis

Background

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See also:

02 Jul 02 | Scotland
14 Feb 02 | Scotland
13 Feb 02 | Scotland
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