Has Raeshaw Estate lost Judicial Review re: General Licence restriction?

Regular blog readers will know we’ve been interested in the General Licence restrictions imposed by SNH on two grouse shooting estates for suspected raptor persecution crimes, see here and see overview of events to date here.

In April 2016, one of those estates, Raeshaw, near Heriot in the Scottish Borders, submitted an application for a judicial review of the process SNH used to implement the General Licence restriction.

While that application was underway, SNH put a temporary suspension on Raeshaw’s General Licence restriction (meaning the estate was now entitled to carry on trapping and killing wildlife under the terms of the General Licence), and in May 2016 SNH announced on its website that the temporary suspension would be in place ‘until further notice’:

Raeshaw SNH temp restriction again 20 May 2016

We just looked at SNH’s website again, and it now appears that the temporary suspension has been lifted and the General Licence restriction on Raeshaw Estate has now been reinstated:

SNHGL14June2016 - Copy

That’s interesting. Does that mean that Raeshaw Estate lost the judicial review against SNH’s procedures? Was there even a judicial review? Perhaps Raeshaw’s application for a judicial review was denied by the court?

It’s hard to know! We can’t find any statement about this, anywhere. No SNH press release, nothing. We tried to contact SNH’s media lead on wildlife crime but she’s away on leave until 5th July.


It’s important to understand what happened in this case for several reasons. The public needs to know whether Raeshaw Estate is again banned, as it appears, from using certain types of traps, because then we’ll know whether those traps, if found, should be reported to the Police. You’d think SNH, as the agency that has implemented this General Licence restriction, would want to publicise this as much as possible to help with enforcement measures. It’ll be members of the public who play a crucial role in this because the Police can’t just turn up on Raeshaw ‘to have a look’ unless they have reason to suspect a crime has been committed e.g. if a passing hill walker has reported trap use on this estate.

It’s also important to understand what happened in this case because whatever did happen has huge implications for other future General Licence restrictions which SNH may choose to impose. If the judicial review failed because the court decided SNH’s procedures were fair, then this opens the floodgates and SNH can get on with imposing other General Licence restrictions that they may have been sitting on pending the result of the judicial review. If there wasn’t a judicial review because Raeshaw Estate’s application for one was rejected by the court, are there other legal options available to Raeshaw to contest the General Licence restriction? If there are other options, what are they and what impact will they have on SNH’s ability to impose further General Licence restrictions on other estates suspected of raptor persecution?

A bit of transparency from SNH wouldn’t go amiss here.

Emails to Andrew Bachell, SNH Director of Policy: Andrew.Bachell@snh.gov.uk

9 thoughts on “Has Raeshaw Estate lost Judicial Review re: General Licence restriction?”

    1. Any normal accountable business would have to have a “second in charge” to take decisions and deal with the holiday gap of more than a few days never mind one of three weeks (assuming the holiday started this week).

      1. They will have, but they are not telling you that! Delay the reply whilst they work out a way of getting out of this embarrassing situation!

  1. Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office and will not be receiveing emails. If your enquiry is urgent please contact Lynne Clark (01463 725256) lynne.clark@snh.gov.uk or Paul Robertson (01463 725265).

    This was my reply, so there are a few more avenues to explore. Obviously, I wouldn’t advocate every reader swamping Lynne.clark@snh.gov.uk with enquiries ;-)

  2. Yet again great work by RPUK but why is it that at every turn it feels like trying to get blood out of a stone, is there no-one else, no,other organisation, doing what it should be doing. It certainly completes the grim spectacle all the way from Government down.

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