In court, virtually

Jay. Photo: Andy Rouse

Friday found me watching a computer screen from 10:30am to 4:30pm to watch the Wild Justice challenge to the lawfulness of Natural Resources Wales’s general licences. In theory this was in court in Cardiff but I am not sure that anyone was in Cardiff. There were many attendees from ourselves (the Claimant), NRW (the Defendant) and DEFRA, BASC and NFU Wales (interested parties). There is a long blog on the Wild Justice website describing the background to the case and some of what happened on the day.

I’ve been asked how it went. And I say it went very well because that was my impression – but it was only an impression of a fairly naive observer (and a partial one as well).

Watching a court hearing is more like watching Strictly Come Dancing (I was glad that Bill Baillie won – he won for the oldies, for the birders and for my bet on the result!) than watching a game of football or even baseball. There is no point at which the ball hits the back of the net or is hit out of the ground, and no scoreboard that shows who is winning. No, it’s more like watching dancing when, even as someone with no particular knowledge of what should be happening, it is possible to spot a stumble, or a brilliant move, and get an impression of class on the pitch, I mean dance floor.

On that basis I would say that Wild Justice’s barrister, David Wolfe QC, played a blinder – but the home supporters may have felt differently, I guess.

I’ll tell you one thing though – paying attention from 10:30 to 4:30, even with a lunchbreak, is pretty tiring – and all I was doing was watching and listening.

The judge reveals his scores in early January so that must be how he is plaqnning to spend part of his lockdown Christmas.


5 Replies to “In court, virtually”

  1. Sounds pretty good Mark, and congratulations to David Wolfe QC. Whatever the result in January. It shows that Wild Justice means business and is prepared to defend our wildlife vigorously from either those so called authorities / organisations/ groups that are slip shod and that favour the shooters when drafting wildlife regulations or those like BASC who do the actual shooting ,often for fun.
    This demonstration that these organisations will be challenged strongly is so important.

  2. Just like to add my wholehearted support for Wild Justice’s action in supporting Tress for Life in their action in challenging Natural Scotland for their diabolical action in granting consents to kill beavers.

  3. Anyone wanting a pretty erudite analysis of the four statutory agencies should read “Back to Nature” by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin pages 263 – 271.

    The section on NRW (provided by Iolo Williams) is pretty damming …. so too the piece about Northern Ireland provided by “the ruthlessly truthful young naturalist Dara McAnulty” and SNH do not get away unscathed either.

    On p264 Packham recalls his analysis in “People’s Manifesto for Wildlife” (2018) that Natural England were ‘not fit for purpose’ and reading his assessment since Tony Juniper’s arrival we have to conclude that sadly there’s no improvement …. From a personal perspective I’d have to agree, they are as much use as a chocolate fireguard in my region 🙁

    Packham’s right though, each of us as individuals has a part to play as well as collaborative efforts and Wild Justice is doing a superb job in raising the profile of various issues – long may they continue to do so, and in so doing reminding Government and their ‘paymasters’ the ‘establishment elite’ that all is not well with the “State of Nature”. Thank you Ruth, Mark & Chris and not forgetting the team at Leigh Day 🙂

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