Court dismisses Badger Trust’s challenge against unmonitored badger culling


Re: R (Badger Trust) v The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs & Anor [2014] EWHC 2909 (Admin)

The claimants, Badger Trust, sought to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State to continue, for a second season, the culling of badgers by controlled shooting in two pilot areas without the programme being overseen by an Independent Expert Panel (IEP). The previous cull by controlled shooting was monitored by an IEP.

The claimant’s case was based on an alleged unqualified and unequivocal promise by the defendant in his Policy Statement, which they claim gave rise to a legitimate expectation that any culling would be overseen by an IEP.

The Court dismissed the application and did not accept the language used by the defendant gave rise to a legitimate expectation. The Court accepted that the defendant undertook to only roll out the culling programme if the IEP indicated that it was an acceptable culling technique, but the Court did not accept that the defendant promised to keep the IEP in place after the first season of culling.

The claimant sought to rely other material, which they claimed supported their case, however, the Court was reluctant to place any weight on any document other than the Policy Statement.

David Wolfe QC was involved in this case.