Following an outbreak of “swine flu” in Oxfordshire in October 2016, Denmark has banned all “imports of pork” from the UK to Denmark. Although the disease is highly contagious between humans it cannot be contracted from pigs, or from eating pork
The Danish embargo has prompted angry scenes in the House of Commons, encouraging the UK Government to introduce the (fictitious) Meat Imports Retaliation (Denmark) Act 2016, (MIRDA 2016). The MIRDA, brought into effect on the 30th November 2016, entitles the Secretary of State for “Environment, Food and Rural Affairs” to do “as he sees fit” in order to meet the objectives of the legislation. In February 2017, the Secretary of State passed the (fictitious) Meat Imports Regulations, banning “the import and export of all meat products between the UK and Denmark”.
George has a large farm near Dover, in Kent, and exports live pigs to Denmark at least once a fortnight. As there has been no recorded incidence of swine flu in Kent, the UK Government has not introduced a ban on the movement of pigs in the southern counties of England, (although it has done so in the West). Consequently George has arranged to continue exporting his pigs to Denmark for the next six months, as scheduled.
On the 1st March, an animal rights group, who object to the export of live animals for slaughter, blocked the gangway to a boat belonging to Zippy Exports Ltd, preventing George’s pigs from being loaded for transit to Denmark. The police were called but Inspector Bungle, whose wife is the Director of the animal rights group concerned, refused to act against the protesters. Instead he arrested George for committing an offense under MIRDA 2016 and insisted that the pigs were returned to the farm.
George was released from the police station within 24 hours but has since been served with a summons stating that he is being prosecuted by Dover District Council for attempting to export meat products in breach of the “2017 Meat Regulations”.
George has also received a letter from Rainbow Lawyers4U, acting on behalf of Zippy Exports Ltd, who are claiming payment in accordance with the terms of their contract for transporting the pigs, including any potential loss of earnings from that same contract over the next six months.
Advise George as to the following. Each question is worth equal marks.
- The difference between the legal status of the Meat Imports Retaliation (Denmark) Act 2016 and the Meat Imports Regulations 2017 and whether or not George is likely to be in breach of either one of them. Your answer should include an evaluation of any relevant constitutional principles and rules of statutory interpretation that are likely to affect any judicial decision making.
- The distinction between an appeal and an application for judicial review and how either of these options might apply to George’s case if he is convicted at the Magistrates Court.
- The likelihood of Zippy Exports succeeding in any action brought against George for breach of contract.