(165)  Fox-hunting bill given Royal Assent

The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill, which seeks to ban fox-hunting with dogs, received Royal Assent on 15 March 2002.  It can therefore be taken that neither the Law Officers nor the Secretary of State for Scotland thought the Bill to be beyond the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.  Any challenge to the Bill on this ground will therefore have to be made in the courts by persons or organisations with an interest in the matter.  Meantime, discussion of legislative regulation of fox-hunting in England and Wales has resumed, with the most likely outcome now thought to be a complete ban except in certain areas of the country.