Our appeal against the judgment of Justice Lang is being heard today and tomorrow in Court 69 of the Royal Courts of Justice. I’m disappointed not to be there but I’ve had an update from our legal team.
Our barrister, David Wolfe QC was first to make submissions and those were finished just before lunch when the RSPB barrister began their submissions.
Our case, in my non-lawyerish terms, is that we said that NE had to consider alternatives to brood-meddling as means of helping Hen Harriers and they failed to do so. As I understand it, we don’t have to make the case for any particular alternative, NE have to assess them properly. Justice Lang ruled that the brood meddling that NE licensed was a piece of research and there is no alternative to doing research (except not doing it). We argue that you can’t call any old thing a piece of research otherwise that way madness lies. And in any case, this trial of brood meddling is solely for conservation purposes and that therefore other conservation approaches need to be considered as alternatives.
I have no doubt that David Wolfe made those and other points much better than that.
I am told that the three Appeal Court judges (Lords Justice Simon and Newey and Justice Sir Patrick Elias) were asking lots of questions, as I was told to expect.
This afternoon will be mostly given over to the RSPB submissions. I wish them every success.
Apart from the lawyers, the court is practically empty.
I hope to be able to make another short update later this afternoon.