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Coverage of Animal Law in the Chambers UK Bar guide 2022

For the first time, Animal Law is a section included in the Chambers UK Bar guide and legal rankings. Read about this emerging practice area and how Chambers have researched this new sector for rankings.

Published on 19 October 2021
Written by Eleanor Dobson
Eleanor Dobson

Animal Law makes its way into the Chambers UK Bar guide 2022

In recent years concerns over animal welfare have become an increasingly prominent topic within the legal sphere, as demonstrated by the introduction of various laws and bills that regulate animal welfare such as the Animal Sentience Bill and Finn’s Law.  

As a result of the growth and increased interest in the subject across the legal profession and legal market, the Chambers and Partners UK Bar guide has chosen to recognise those barristers who are practising in this growing field of Animal Law, to ensure the guide continues to provide comprehensive rankings and analysis across all of the UK legal market. 

What are the important factors Chambers look for when working on Animal Law Cases?

This area of the law is incredibly specific, but this section of the guide focuses on animal welfare-related cases, as opposed to matters such as personal injury claims under the Animal Act. The practitioners ranked in this section have notable experience of handling cases arising from the mistreatment of animals and are regularly called upon to represent animal welfare charities such as the RSPCA.  

We see claims arising from a broad spectrum of areas, but the most common type of Animal Law cases are those brought by local authorities and animal protection groups. These cases arise from allegations of abuse to animals and involve issues such as ‘breach of duty of care’. Cases involving injuries or abuse to animals caused by veterinary practitioners whilst treating animals within their care, and cases relating to cruelty inflicted on animals within the sports sector are also considered under this practice area. These sorts of claims are regularly brought by organisations such as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, sporting bodies or regulators.  

The rise, growth and future of Animal Law

This burgeoning market is gaining further presence within both the legal sphere and the public sector. When analysing the legal sphere, we can see organised groups of barristers and legal professionals such as ‘A-Law’ being formed. A-Law is a group of professionals who are committed to increasing the acknowledgment of animal law as a practice area, as well as assisting those looking to specialise in this space.  

Furthermore, animal welfare concerns are beginning to become more prominent at both a governmental level and in the public sphere. Recently the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare was established, and, from this, the Animal Sentience Bill arose. This bill establishes that vertebrate animals should be considered as sentient beings and looks to investigate the impact of government policy on the welfare of animals.  

As well as this, recently the Animal Welfare Bill has received Royal Assent, which will in turn allow for tougher penalties for animal cruelty. These are just some examples of how animal welfare is being increasingly discussed and acted upon within the market, with evidence that it will continue to grow following the surge of animal welfare cases which were reported during Covid-19 concerning breeding and abuse. 

If you are interested in learning more about Animal Law, listen to this podcast, An Overview of Animal Protection Law. The Chambers Student Team discusses with Edie Bowles of Advocates for Animals.

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