A group of producers is suing Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Steve Barclay, claiming that his department’s compensation assessment and policy are unlawful. The ministers are fighting the claim and want it dismissed.
Mrs Justice Hill in London oversaw the trial, where barrister Malcolm Birdling argued that the department’s payment decisions for poultry farmers were wrong. Lawyers representing the producers said farmers had suffered “devastating” losses and livelihoods were “threatened.”
Mark Westmoreland Smith, representing Mr Barclay, argued that the producers’ claim would “change the clear meaning” of statutory provision. Producers taking action include LJ Fairburn & Son, J W Gate & Son, Roy Scaman Farms, and Yorkshire Farmhouse Eggs. The NFU is backing the claimants.
A spokesman for the NFU said the litigation was an “important case about compensation.” Mrs Justice Hill will deliver a ruling soon.