The Advocate General has issued her opinion in the case of Robin John Feakins v Scottish Ministers. The opinion concludes that whilst the interpretation of Article 18(2) was correct the Article, which contains the ‘best value rule’, is invalid.
This decision represents (interim) success for the legal team of Sir Crispin Agnew QC and Neil MacDougall. The next stage in proceedings is for the European Union’s Court of Justice to issue its judgment. The Court usually adopts the opinion of the Advocate General however they are not bound by it and are free to reach a different conclusion.
If adopted, the decision will have wide-ranging consequences in the agricultural community. Should the Court reject the validity of the best value rule the decision will have retroactive effect. The practical effect of this is that up to a decade of farmers’ entitlements may have to be recalculated. The Dean had made submissions on behalf of the Commission seeking to limit the effect of any such decision, but the Advocate General did not think such a limitation was justified.
The full text of the decision will be available on the European Union’s Court of Justice website on the day it is read in court.
So in the week when England have suffered consecutive defeats in the World Cup it appears Scotland may well have suffered its own defeat in Europe!