The Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Supreme Court in judgment no. 427/2020 dated May 18, 2020 has estimated the appeal filed by the Junta de Castilla y León against judgment 604/2017 of May 17 issued by the Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of Castilla y León (Valladolid Chamber).
The procedure begins with an appeal filed by the Regional Federation Ecologists in Action against Decree 32/2015 of 30 of April of the Junta de Castilla y León regulating the conservation of species in Castilla y León, their sustainable use and population control of wildlife, which was estimated by the Chamber and consequently declared null.
The consequences of this nullity of the Decree were very serious, since they endangered the practice of hunting in the Community of Castilla y León, forcing the Board to approve a new Decree 10/2018 of April 26 on the same mater ia and that it was also appealed in its day – this time by the PACMA – for the same reasons, and on which the Chamber agreed to the precautionary suspension, forcing the Courts of Castilla y León to modify the Law Hunting so that you could continue hunting. At these times, the Artemisan Foundation appeared at the time supporting the Junta de Castilla y León, also providing solid legal and scientific arguments that came to demonstrate what the Supreme Court has confirmed today.
The Supreme Court ruling focuses on determining the scope of certain articles of the Birds and Habitats Directives and of the Law on Natural Heritage and on Biodiversity and its correct application by the Board of Castilla y León, coming to recognize, in summary, that the management model of hunting species developed by the Junta de Castilla y León is fully adjusted to law.
The main reason why the TSJ Chamber proceeded to annul Decree 32/2015 was that the declaration of species as hunting carried out in this Decree "is devoid of scientific studies" that endorse that said species "They can support an orderly extraction of specimens without compromising their conservation status in their distribution area", and this despite the fact that two scientific studies were provided that proved otherwise. In view of this, the Supreme Court emphatically indicates that this claimed requirement "does not have sufficient regulatory support for the need to submit, each year or season of hunting, in each area of jurisdiction and territory, and for each species considered to be susceptible to hunting, a prior, individualized —ad hoc— territorial and material verification of compliance with the budgets provided for in Article 7 of the Directive «.
In relation to the second reason why the TSJ Chamber annulled Decree 32/2015, considering that the annual hunting orders were not the appropriate instrument to determine – each year – the hunting species , the Supreme Court in its judgment is resounding when stating that the annual Hunting Orders constitute “a regulation of sufficient rank, which clearly and precisely states the criteria of the Birds Directive for the exercise of hunting , in relation to the various species contained in the Annex to the same directive, establishing their hunting and closure periods, for each year ”. In short, it comes to recognize that the annual hunting orders that the Junta de Castilla y León has been publishing every year are fully in accordance with the law.
The Supreme Court ruling will be relevant not only in Castilla and León but in all the Autonomous Communities whose Annual Hunting Orders are systematically contested by groups such as Ecologistas en Acción or PACMA, using arguments that the Supreme Court has now considered to be not in accordance with the law.
Jorge Bernard is responsible for the legal department of the Artemisan Foundation