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Specialist Services

Animal Law

We empower people to defend and champion the interests and rights of animals. Animal welfare is fundamental to any society that aspires to promote compassion, minimise cruelty and regulate abuses of power. 

We work with organisations and people that share our commitment to the protection of animals from cruelty, and to using the law to improve their lives. Activists and campaigners can rely on us to help them to work through complicated legal issues and to uphold their rights to speak out.

When the natural world is under threat, we are the Animal Law specialists that campaigners, activists and animal welfare organisations turn to.

Legal problems and issues can result from decisions made by local public authorities or national legislation. The decisions of public bodies can seriously impact wildlife, domestic animals and animals in industrial or commercial settings, including:

  • Policy decisions on issues such as animal culling
  • Regulation of industries that impact wildlife
  • Animal testing and experiments
  • Investigations concerning animal cruelty
  • Licensing of zoos and pet breeding organisations
  • Wildlife management

Our Animal Law solicitors empower you to persuasively engage with public bodies on these issues. When necessary, we can challenge local and national decisions. We help ensure that authorities are serious about their responsibility to protect wildlife and safeguard animal welfare and act when they should.

We defend those who defend the rights of animals.

Our Animal Law team work with you to confront or expose harm, so that you can make positive and lasting change for animals.   

We help campaigners and animal welfare organisations to bring prosecutions against bodies responsible for inflicting cruelty on animals. 

Evidence to support pro-wildlife and animal protection campaigns is not always readily available. We have the legal know-how to help you when you are seeking to gather intelligence, and we have a proven record in dealing effectively with freedom of information and data-saving requests.

Individuals on the frontline of animal welfare campaigns may find themselves charged with offences arising from actions intended to protect or save the lives of animals. We have a long history of successfully acting in criminal and civil proceedings against activists. Our skilled team can also help if you face employment issues as a direct result of an alleged offence.


Our work in this area is extensive and cutting-edge. It has included:

  • Initiating a ground-breaking private prosecution against the circus owners responsible for the cruel treatment of Anne, Britain’s last circus elephant (the prosecution was taken over by the authorities and resulted in convictions and Anne being rehomed).
  • Numerous legal challenges concerning badger culls in both England and Wales, before the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and the Information Rights Tribunal
  • Confronting attempts to charge organisations arranging peaceful protests
  • Defending individuals involved in campaigns in opposition to vivisection, animal experimentation, hunting, the fur trade, culls and other programmes that endanger animals
  • Acting for campaigners in appeals against historic convictions, where it was revealed afterwards that their groups had been infiltrated by undercover police officers
  • Advising animal protection organisations in potential and actual prosecutions against bodies responsible for inflicting cruelty on animals
  • Litigation on the right to manifest religious beliefs associated with a sacred animal
  • Providing decisive pre-publication libel advice, general advice and training in relation to libel risks for publishers, reputation management and privacy law
  • Advising in relation to restrictions on political advertising, including the 2014 ‘Gagging Laws’
  • Advising clients on using Data Protection Law in their campaigns
  • Establishing that anti-hunting beliefs should be protected from discrimination in the case of Hashman v Milton Park (Dorset) Ltd t/a Orchard Park
  • Representing an employee who had been dismissed for rescuing an abandoned puppy whilst at work
  • Assisting wildlife protection organisations to make formal complaints against the police for unlawfully seizing wildlife and failing to provide adequate care in custody

Past and current groups we have assisted include Badger Trust, Humane Society International, Greenpeace, Compassion in World Farming, RSPCA, Animal Aid, Animal Defence International, Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Save The Beaver, C.A.R.I.A.D., the Animal Advocacy Project, Wildcat Haven, and Landowners Against Culling.

Meet the team

John Halford

Head of Public Law and Human Rights

Alice Hardy

Public Law and Human Rights

Theodora Middleton

Public Law and Human Rights

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.