The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) and the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) have reached agreement on a judicial review challenge before the High Court in Northern Ireland.
On 28 June 2018, UFU was granted leave to apply for judicial review to challenge a decision of DAERA made on 26 January 2018 by which it decided to replace a two-stage area-based review process of CAP decisions (internal review by DAERA followed by an independent Panel) with an enhanced single-stage process (internal review by DAERA). The enhanced single stage appeal process was introduced for applications received from 1st April 2018.
UFU sought a quashing order of the decision to move to a single-stage review and it challenged the decision on domestic law, EU law and human rights grounds.
The High Court in Northern Ireland has approved an agreement reached between the parties. DAERA has agreed to retain the Independent Stage 2 Panel subject to the following primary conditions:
- users of the Independent Stage 2 Panel shall be charged the sum of £ 200.00 said fee to be subject to review by the Department within 18 months.
- users of the Independent Stage 2 Panel shall be entitled to introduce new evidence only if exceptional circumstances or force majeure are established.
- the final decision on any individual case shall remain with DAERA.
Both UFU and DAERA have welcomed the positive engagement which has led to the resolution of the case. DAERA will move quickly to engage with stakeholders to confirm acceptance of the revised approach and, subject to the outcome of this process, apply it to all review applications received from April 2018.