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Scott v The National Trust (1997)


Applications for leave to apply by judicial review to stop the deer hunting ban on National Trust Land in Devonshire and Somerset and for injunctive relief.


Renewed application by deer hunters and tenant farmers for judicial review of the National Trust's decision not to renew deer hunting licences on its land in its Devon and Somerset estates. Their earlier application Ex parte Scott & Ors (1998) had been refused on the ground that the court did not have jurisdiction to entertain it as the application should have been brought by way of charity proceedings with leave of the Charity Commissioners and was within the meaning of s.33(8) Charities Act 1993. The Charity Commissioners had refused to authorise judicial review proceedings and the applicants, under s.33(5) of the Act, applied for leave and for interlocutory injunctive relief. The National Trust applied to strike out the proceedings.


The applicants could be regarded as partners of the National Trust within s.33(1) of the 1993 Act in the management of the land in question and in the successful preservation of the red deer herds there. This was one of the statutory purposes under the National Trust Act 1907. Accordingly the applicants had sufficient interest within s.33(1) of the 1993 Act to bring charity proceedings. National Trust's application to strike out the proceedings was dismissed. However as Parliament had laid down a special procedure for monitoring charities under s.33 of the 1993 Act and in all but exceptional cases that was the procedure to be followed, judicial review would not normally be granted where an alternative remedy was available. The evidence as to the National Trust's decision-making process was that they had acted reasonably, in good faith.

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21 Aug 1997

Chancery Division
Robert Walker J

‚Äč[1998] 2 All ER 705

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