Wild Justice granted permission to review General Licences in Wales

Not everybody loves Wild Justice, which stands up for wildlife using the legal system and by seeking changes to existing laws, as much as we do. The shooting industry, for example, appears most displeased to be told that their ‘right’ to release farmed pheasants in vast numbers might not actually be legal as it could damage protected habitats (Wild Justice have been granted a judicial review of the impacts of non-native gamebirds on sites of high nature conservation importance). And how about shooters who had been happily abusing vaporous General Licences giving them the ‘right’ to kill wild birds otherwise protected by law until Wild Justice stepped in: not fans apparently.

Now it looks as though Wild Justice might be adding Natural Resources Wales to the list of toes they’ve trodden on in the eighteen months or so since they formed. How so? The latest press-release from WJ explains all:


Permission granted for judicial review of Welsh general licences – we’re going to court

We have just had some good news.

This morning we heard from our legal team that the Hon Mr Justice Griffiths has granted us permission for judicial review of Natural Resources Wales’s (NRW’s) general licences – we are going to court!   Moreover, we have been granted an expedited hearing which is excellent.  

This challenge is to the legality of NRW’s general licences authorising the killing of a variety of bird species as ‘pests’ or for nature conservation purposes.  See these posts on the Wild Justice blog for more details if you are interested in the technicalities – see here, here, here and here.  This challenge is, thanks to you, fully funded – see here.    We don’t know when this case will come to court but some time in the autumn looks likely.  

Mr Justice Griffiths refused BASC’s (British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s) application to be added as an Interested Party ‘because the Defendant [NRW] and Secretary of State [DEFRA, as an Interested Party] sufficiently represent the interests engaged by the claim and can advance the evidence and arguments to oppose it. The addition of BASC as a further Interested Party is neither necessary nor desirable and would only serve to increase the costs and prolong the proceedings.‘. 

We expect BASC, having blown one gasket (see here) to blow another one on this correct characterisation of their value to these proceedings; neither necessary nor desirable.  We wonder what the BASC membership will make of this as undoubtedly BASC will have incurred staff and legal costs already in getting nowhere…

Still, we mustn’t gloat…

These legal cases often seem quite long drawn out affairs. And then news, often good news (but it won’t always be good news) pops out all of a sudden. It’s a good way to start the week…and we wanted you, our supporters to be the first to know.

  That’s all for now.

Wild Justice (Directors: Mark Avery, Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay), 03 August 2020


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