Vicarious liability – on the horizon in England?

At the moment it seems at least as likely that the Conservative Party will include a promise to introduce a law of vicarious liability for wildlife crimes in their election manifesto as will the Labour Party. Given that this would merely be catching up with Scotland it’s hardly the most radical of ideas but, it seems, too much for Labour. But we’ll see.

Having said that, it would be very unlikely that Labour would oppose any such legislation and therefore one route to success, always a bit of a gamble,would be to hope that a sympathetic MP comes high in the Ballot of Private Members’ Bills.

I scoured Betfair but they didn’t seem to be allowing betting on the different parties’ chances of including vicarious liability in their election manifestos, so here are some prices:


Lib Dems Evens

Conservatives  6/1

Labour 8/1

UKIP 50/1 (we believe they are down the pub thinking about it right now)

SNP 100/1 (‘we already have it where we come from – and very good it is too. You should try it!’ – an SNP spokesperson might have said, if asked)

The Green Party  100/1 (they would ban all bloodsports so why bother with vicarious liability?)





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14 Replies to “Vicarious liability – on the horizon in England?”

  1. Would EVEL prevent the SNP, should they 'hold the balance', from taking VL forward in the harsh, barren and backward south?

  2. The problem is with the two "main" political parties is they are completely obsessed with responding to the "what's in it for me senario". In several Northern European countries, nature and the environment are much higher on the political agenda than in the UK.
    What we desperately need in this country is a leader with the vision and fore thought of JFK (John F. Kennedy) and his approach when he asked the American people "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". This approach would help so much to dispell the enormous introversion that afflicts this cnuntry and out of that I am sure people and Parties would respond to the desperate need to end to persecution of nature in or uplands and else where.
    Can you see the Tories and Labour turning over a leaf and adopting this approach? I am afraid not.

  3. Mark, I'm not briefing against you or the E-petition to ban driven grouse shooting which you've registered and which I've signed and support. I'm not even briefing against the idea of licencing grouse moors and gamekeepers for which I registered an E-petition some time ago as I believe that is also a way forward. However I strongly believe the time has now come to push again for the offence of vicarious liability to be enshrined in English law. I wrote a piece on my own Blog recently ( 9th January, "Vicarious liability offence must now be accepted in law. Hen Harrier debate (Part 2 )" . See

    With the likely confusion that will follow the General Election in May, 2015 I honestly don't believe the right opportunity will emerge to secure major changes such as licencing or banning driven grouse shooting. I hope I'm wrong. In Part 1 of the above on my Blog I assessed where I thought we were currently in the Hen Harrier debate and came to the above conclusion. It seems to me that in this battle for progress against raptor persecution we continually need to secure "stepping stones of success" of which I now consider Vicarious Liability to be a major component. I'm sure there will be some who believe this to be side lining the main objectives and I acknowledge their views.

    There is much to be done whatever we feel the priority action to be and we must ensure we all continue to work together. Incidentally, Part 3 of the Hen harrier debate on my Blog will deal with what I consider the role of the RSPB should be in the current circumstances. I hope they're up for it!!!

  4. David Cameron's father is an estate owner..I'd be surprised if the Tory's actually introduced vicarious liability..

    1. David Cameron's father is dead, died in September 2010, and doesn't appear to have owned an estate -

  5. Perhaps I have an overly cynical view but this is just a selection of the promises made by the Conservative Party in their 2010 manifesto:

    Page 65:

    “We will clean up politics: the expenses, the lobbying and problems with party funding. We will cut the cost of Parliament, cut the number of MPs and cut Ministers’ pay. We will give citizens direct control over what goes on in Westminster, make government more accountable and safeguard the independence of the civil service.”

    Page 89:

    “A Conservative government will cut carbon emissions and rebuild our energy security. We will make it easier for people to go green, with incentives for people to do the right thing. We will protect our precious habitats and natural resources, and promote a sustainable farming industry. We will fulfil our responsibility to hand on a richer and more sustainable natural environment to future generations.”

    Page 91:

    “We will reduce carbon emissions in line with our international commitments. We will promote small- and large-scale low carbon energy production, including nuclear, wind, clean coal and biogas. We will safeguard our energy security by ensuring there is sufficient spare capacity in the energy system. We will make it easier to go green, including through a ‘Green Deal’ to cut household energy bills.”

    Page 95:

    “We will protect and improve the UK’s natural environment, and pioneer new schemes to improve conservation. We will push for reform of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies to promote sustainable farming and fishing. We will promote high animal welfare standards and ensure that government procures locally-produced food wherever possible. We will work towards a zero-waste society.”

    Marks out of 10 for honouring their commitments?

  6. Were a commitment to ban hunting or a ban on smoking in public places - two of the most significant reforms of the Labour govt. - in the 1997, 2001 or 2005 Labour manifestos? I honestly don't know/can't remember but have a feeling these were enacted at least in part through Private Members Bills or amendments to govt. bills? So there might be a small chance ...

  7. Would the Green party really ban all forms of hunting? I know they say they have opposition. In a private discussion many years ago with their party leader at the time in Scotland, which was long enough ago I think I can now discuss it here, I spoke to the Green representative about exactly this. In that there is better and worse forms of hunting and they absolutely agreed, and then went on to say their blanket opposition was grass roots in that much of their membership was from people who entirely oppose hunting, but that in principle they would welcome a change in that position but cant do so without it being membership driven...... as such at that time, despite my interests in wildfowling I chose to vote for them given that it was proportional rep in Scotland. I'd likely vote for them more often if there was proportional rep in UK wide elections and certainly if they were slightly less polemic on this issue.


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