Application for judicial review submitted

As predicted, there was a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing over the final details of our application for judicial review of Natural England’s daft decision to license brood meddling (occasionally known as brood management) of Hen Harriers but the dream-team of lawyers submitted our application with no problem at all. Which is just as well really as our battle against the mates of the grouse shooters appeared in the Guardian yesterday.

Now there will be a period of waiting and seeing.

I’ll share some quotes from our legal documents with you over the next few days and weeks.

Here is the rather imposing covering page;


…and here is a bit from the end of my witness statement (but there are much more interesting bits to come):

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  1. Circus maxima says:

    What's the ball park for the waiting times?

    • Richard Wilson says:

      Of the magnitude of six months would be my estimate.

      • Andrew Archer says:

        But, presumably, NE and IBPC will need to suspend their meddlesome plans, at least while permission is sought for the Judicial Review to be heard? So if the court does take six months then breeding season for this year would be over.

  2. Jonathan Wallace says:

    Fingers crossed for a positive result!

  3. Pauline Greenhalgh says:

    Hoping for the best outcome ....

  4. SteB says:

    I'm sure your lawyers will pick up on this, but just in case Patrick's article in the Guardian yesterday contained a telling quote.

    'According to Natural England, the brood management plan will reduce “the perceived conflict between hen harriers and grouse management and lead to a cessation in illegal persecution [of hen harriers]”'

    If the grouse moor owners and managers can stop the illegal persecution and killing of raptors if they get their way with brood meddling, they can stop the illegal persecution and killing of raptors and Hen Harriers now - that is the tacit underlying premise of brood meddling.

    The shooting industry and Moorland Association narrative, is that Hen Harriers and other raptors are killed by unknown people or rogue gamekeepers, when the grouse moor owners disapprove of what they do. If that narrative were true, then the grouse moor owners couldn't have any effect on the illegal killing of Hen Harriers even if they wanted it. Therefore even if they got the brood meddling they wanted, they could do nothing to stop the illegal persecution of Hen Harriers, unless they really do have that influence, in which case they are culpable in the illegal killing of Hen Harriers.

    Remember, a large proportion of Hen Harriers are illegally killed before thy manage to lay eggs, during their courtship displays and nest building phase. And satellite tagged fledgelings are killed after being tagged i.e. outside the period when stealing Hen Harrier eggs would have an impact. Therefore the only way the shoot owners could prevent this happening was if they had the ability to stop those doing it, from doing it.

    In addition, even if Hen Harriers have their eggs stolen the adults will still likely stay in the uplands during the summer. So how could they be protected from persecution, if the shoot owners appeased by brood meddling are nothing to do with them being persecuted?

  5. Jonathan Wallace says:


  6. nimby says:

    Excellent news, well done & good luck to you & Leigh Day.

    Another chapter in the saga that will run until illegal raptor persecution / wildlife crime is taken seriously by those who we elect to implement law & order.

    PS: Vicarious Liability whilst not a cure might also help a bit?

  7. Paul Fisher says:

    ‘..... by those who we elect to implement law & order.’
    Exactly so. Simple when put like that isn’t it. We must stop electing them.
    At the next election, it will be incumbent on us to ask searching questions of those who we choose to elect and to dig deep into their backgrounds. Making sure of course, that our questions are heard by as many as possible.


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