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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers
News EU & Competition Law 8th Dec 2021

Final Supreme Court judgment in long running EU business human rights case

The Supreme Court has today handed down its final judgment in the long running case of R (on the application of AIMS and another) v Food Standards Agency.

The central issue was whether EU law, including A1P1 human rights provisions, required the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to provide a slaughterhouse owner with a right to challenge the merits of a decision, made by an Official Veterinarian (OV) that a carcase was not fit for human consumption. The appellant judicially reviewed the FSA’s decision to refuse to provide such a right of challenge, arguing that the FSA ought to have followed the procedure laid down by s. 9 of the Food Safety Act 1990, which would have entrusted to a justice of the peace the final decision as to whether a carcass, refused a health mark by an OV, be allowed onto the market. There was no attempt by the appellant to judicially review the OV’s decision.

The judicial review was dismissed by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. On further appeal to the Supreme Court, a reference was made to the CJEU, which gave judgment earlier this year. In the light of answers given by the CJEU, the Supreme Court considers it clear that the s.9 procedure is not compatible with the requirements of the applicable EU Regulations, whereas judicial review of a decision of an OV such as that at issue in these proceedings is so compatible, and has therefore dismissed the appeal.

Sir Alan Dashwood QC, Adam Heppinstall QC and Jonathan Lewis (assisted by Beatrice Graham who was a pupil in Chambers at the time of the Supreme Court hearing, Beatrice has prepared an alerter on this case which can be found here) represented the FSA before the Supreme Court and CJEU.

The final Supreme Court judgment is here. The CJEU’s judgment is here. The 2019 judgment of the Supreme Court is here.

Sir Alan and Adam appeared for the FSA before the Court of Appeal and Adam represented the FSA before Simon J in the Administrative Court sitting in Leeds, at first instance. The Court of Appeal’s 2017 judgment is here and the 2015 first instance judgment is here.

Henderson Chambers offers both regulators and the regulated a full public law, regulatory and commercial service, with its members able to advise and appear in prosecutions, regulatory appeals, civil claims and group actions relating to all aspects of food law, trading standards, product safety, consumer protection, financial services, advertising and all other allied jurisdictions and sectors. This includes advice and representation where the issues arise under Retained EU Law.

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