John Griffiths, Minster for Environment and Sustainable Development
I wish to inform Members about the judgment of the Supreme Court in relation to the Sea Fish Industry Authority (SFIA) Levy Challenge case.
The SFIA is a UK Non-Departmental Public Body established by the Fisheries Act 1981. Its main purpose is to promote the efficiency of and serve the interests of the UK sea fishing industry. Its activities are funded through a levy it raises on fish and sea fish products landed in the UK.
Importers challenged the legal interpretation of the word “landed” in section 4 of the Fisheries Act 1981 and the levy which was, subsequently, imposed on fish products “imported” into the UK. Although the SFIA (and DEFRA) won the initial court case, this was overturned by the Court of Appeal and DEFRA and the SFIA appealed the matter to the Supreme Court who heard the case in March 2011.
The Supreme Court has handed down its judgement today and has concluded that it was lawful for the SFIA to collect a levy on sea fish and sea fish products imported into the UK.
My Fisheries officials will work closely with the other UK Fisheries Administrations and the SFIA to reflect on the detail of the judgment.
The judgement can be viewed at http://www.supremecourt.uk/news/latest-judgments.html