In what is being described as extremely positive news by four leading shooting membership organisations, Defra has described Wild Justice’s judicial review seeking to restrict gamebird releases as ‘vexatious’ and ‘pointless’.
Defra has asked the court to refuse Wild Justice permission to bring the claim and goes further in asking to be awarded its costs.
Defra’s hard-hitting submission is in response to an attempt by Wild Justice to substantially amend their judicial review to ensure that the 2021 release of game birds and the review currently being undertaken by Defra on gamebird releasing is not carried out unlawfully. Defra noted in its submissions to the court that Wild Justice are ‘shooting at the wrong target’ and should be refused permission to amend the judicial review.
A spokesperson for the four shooting membership organisations (BASC, Countryside Alliance, the Game Farmers’ Association and the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation), who are registered as interested parties in the case, said: “We welcome the fact that the Government has taken such a strong line in resisting this wholesale change of approach from Wild Justice. This judicial review is clearly misdirected in terms of the law and serves no purpose. Resources and expertise should be going towards reviewing gamebird releases, not unnecessary and pointless court cases.
“Wild Justice’s application to amend the grounds of their judicial review is an admission that their claim was misconceived. As interested parties we ask that Wild Justice do the right thing and drop the case now and await the outcome of Defra’s review.”