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High Court finds that the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has acted ultra vires by continuing to withhold approval for the pier-side weighing facility at Killybegs Port by reference to the ownership concerns raised by the European Commission.
Judicial review - statutory process for the approval of a pier-side weighing system at Killybegs Port - pier-side weighing system is intended to allow fish catches to be weighed on landing to ensure compliance with the relevant European and domestic legislation on fisheries control - Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has, to date, failed to approve the use of the pier-side weighing system - the division of competence between the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, as the designated national authority for fisheries control, and the European Commission - whether the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has improperly abdicated its statutory responsibilities to the European Commission – legislative regime – factual background - correct interpretation and interaction of the Control Regulation, the Commission’s Implementing Regulation and the Domestic Regulations 2016 - whether a decision on approval has merely been deferred or refused - whether it is lawful for the Sea- Fisheries Protection Authority to withhold approval for the pier-side weighing system pending further engagement with the European Commission - nothing under either the Control Regulation or the Commission’s Implementing Regulation which precludes weighing facilities being held in private ownership - question of the division of legal responsibility as between the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, qua the national “single authority”, and the European Commission - gravamen of the complaint made against the Authority is that it has abdicated its statutory duties to the European Commission, and that it has taken into account an irrelevant consideration, namely a supposed requirement for the public ownership of weighing facilities - not a merits-based challenge - approach of the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority is unlawful - not permissible for the national “single authority” and a “competent authority” to abdicate its statutory decision-making functions in this way – Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority has acted ultra vires by continuing to withhold approval for the pier-side weighing facility at Killybegs Port by reference to the ownership concerns raised by the European Commission – sufficient interest/locus standi – judicial review granted –
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