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High Court Success for Douglas Lloyd

Douglas Lloyd has appeared successfully in the High Court, in an appeal by way of case stated. The appeal concerned time limits for prosecution of animal welfare offences and provides helpful authority on statutory interpretation and secondary legislation.

Douglas previously appeared on the case at Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court, where he acted on behalf of a cattle farmer. He successfully argued that the court had no jurisdiction to try the alleged offences, as they were brought outside the time limit provisions of s.127 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980. The prosecution, Staffordshire County Council, appealed by way of case stated. The case was heard at the High Court in Birmingham. Following oral submission by both parties, Lord Justice Faux and Mrs Justice Andrews DBE, agreed with Mr Lloyd’s submissions that the extended time limits provided by s.31 of the Animal Welfare Act should be interpreted as applying only to offences under that Act, and did not extend to offences created under secondary legislation arising from the Act.

The decision will have a significant practical impact, since prosecuting authorities (backed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) had previously adopted the position that extended time limits applied.

The judgment will be published shortly.