The UFU and DAERA have reached agreement on the judicial review of changes to the agricultural appeal process in Northern Ireland, the organisations announced this Friday.
The dispute centred on DAERA's decision in April to remove the second independent panel stage in the area-based review process of CAP decisions. The new system was to involve a one-stage internal review by DAERA only.
Before the judicial review initiated by the UFU against the decision came before the High Court last month, the two sides reached a settlement and the court has now approved their agreement.
DAERA has agreed to retain the independent panel for a second stage of appeals subject to three primary conditions: A charge of £200 will apply to those seeking a second-stage review before the panel. DAERA will review this fee within 18 months.Farmers can introduce new evidence at second stage only, if exceptional circumstances or force majeure are established.The final decision on any individual case will remain with DAERA.
"Both UFU and DAERA have welcomed the positive engagement which has led to the resolution of the case," the organisations said in a joint statement. "DAERA will move quickly to engage with stakeholders to confirm acceptance of the revised approach and, subject to the outcome of this process, apply it to all review applications received from April 2018."
This is a separate case to the action settled last month after DAERA agreed to reverse intentional cross-compliance penalties imposed on its former president Ian Marshall. A second-stage independent panel had recommended in favour of Marshall that the breach be changed from intentional to negligent.
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