EU law: withdrawal of recognition from producer organisation
7 December 2012
Scottish Ministers v Angus Growers Ltd  CSIH 92
The First Division has refused an appeal by the Scottish Ministers against a ruling of the Scottish Land Court that the Rural Payments Agency (“RPA”) had been wrong to withdraw from Angus Growers (“AG”) recognition as a Producer Organisation under EU rules governing financial assistance for soft fruit growers. The appeal raised two questions under Commission Regulation 1580/2007/EC. First, had the producer organisation’s failure to respect the criteria for recognition been substantial; and second, did the failure result from an act of serious negligence by the organisation. In his Opinion, the Lord President sets out in detail the history of the RPA’s dealings with AG, and holds that the Scottish Land Court was entitled to find that any failure was not substantial. Under reference to the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the EU in R (International Association of Independent Tanker Owners) v Secretary of State for Transport  3 CMLR 9, the court found no fault with the Scottish Land Court’s analysis of “serious negligence”.
In this appeal by Special Case, James Wolffe QC appeared for the Scottish Ministers, and James Mure QC appeared for Angus Growers Ltd.
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