Brick Court Chambers

News & Events

‘One of the super-sets’, Brick Court Chambers is ‘an all-round strong’ set with ‘a large selection of high-quality competition law specialists’, ‘top commercial counsel’, ‘an excellent chambers for banking litigation’, and a ‘go-to’ set for public administrative law.
The Legal 500 2020
The clerks’ room ‘sets the benchmark’ for other sets with its ‘friendly, knowledgeable, and hardworking’ clerks.
The Legal 500 2020
"An outstanding commercial set with a track record of excellence across its core areas of work."
Chambers & Partners 2018
"A set that is singled out for its "first-rate" clerking and "client service-oriented, commercial approach."

High Court finds DEFRA unlawfully failing to compensate farmers for preventive culls


Under the Animal Health Act 1981, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has the power to cull healthy birds in order to curb the spread of avian influenza, subject to the payment of compensation. Due to widespread recent outbreaks of a highly virulent form of avian influenza and resource constraints, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (“APHA”) has often delayed carrying out the cull after having condemned birds to be culled. As a result of those delays, in the interim period significant numbers of healthy birds have become affected with avian influenza. Under APHA’s compensation scheme, these birds were not compensated, effectively allowing the Secretary of State to financially benefit from his own delay.

The Claimants, who are poultry farmers who had significant losses due to this scheme, supported by the National Farmers’ Union as intervener, successfully argued that the correct interpretation of paragraph 5(2) of Schedule 3 to the Act is that the obligation to compensate accrues at the time that healthy birds are condemned to be culled, and not at the later point that they are actually culled. The Secretary of State now has to reconsider the compensation to be paid to the Claimants.

The Court further held that the obligation to compensate farmers is a continuing obligation, such that there is no issue of limitation for any farmers affected by the unlawful scheme.

The Claimants were represented by Jacksons Law, who instructed Malcolm Birdling and Jagoda Klimowicz. Malcolm and Jagoda also appeared for the National Farmers’ Union as intervener.