[JURIST] The judicial panel of the UK House of Lords, also known as the Law Lords, Wednesday upheld [judgment text] a controversial ban on hunting with hounds under the Hunting Act 2004 [text]. The Lords said that overturning the ban, which prohibits fox and deer hunting and rabbit coursing with dogs in England and Wales, would subvert the democratic process as opponents of the ban had not succeeded in Parliament. The Countryside Alliance [advocacy website], which brought the challenge, argued that the ban is in violation of human rights and places thousands of jobs at risk, and said that it plans to appeal the decision to the European Court of Human Rights [press release].
Last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge [JURIST report] brought by the Countryside Alliance alleging that the fox hunting ban infringed the right to private family life, peaceful assembly and freedom of association. In 2005, the Countryside Alliance lost another challenge [JURIST report] questioning the legality of the 1949 Parliament Act [BBC backgrounder], which was used by the House of Lords to push the Hunting Act through Parliament. The first criminal prosecution under the Hunting Act occurred last year, when a UK court found a man guilty of illegally fox hunting with dogs [JURIST report]. BBC News has more.