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No excuses—strict liability offences for breach of EU regulations (R (Highbury Poultry Farm Produce) v Crown Prosecution Service)

No excuses—strict liability offences for breach of EU regulations (R (Highbury Poultry Farm Produce) v Crown Prosecution Service)
Published on: 21 October 2020
Published by: LexisPSL
  • No excuses—strict liability offences for breach of EU regulations (R (Highbury Poultry Farm Produce) v Crown Prosecution Service)
  • What are the practical implications of this case?
  • What was the background?
  • What did the court decide?
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Article summary

Corporate Crime analysis: The need for harmonisation and uniformity of enforcement of standards across the EU dictates the approach to interpreting offences based on EU regulations—not domestic criminal law concepts of mens rea. Where an EU regulation imposed strict animal welfare standards on a chicken slaughterhouse, it was no answer to a charge under domestic legislation (criminalising any infringement) that the breaches alleged were acts of individual operatives and not of the operating company. Nor was it an answer to rely on domestic law concepts of mens rea to argue that the company had acted with due diligence, without negligence, or without any intention to cause avoidable suffering to chickens. No such limits to liability existed under the EU legislation; it was not open to Member States to reduce the applicable standards when introducing criminal penalties to enforce it, and Parliament could not be taken to have done so. Written by David Perry QC and Victoria Ailes at 6KBW College Hill. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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