Fish Legal - using the law to protect fisheries and angling
Fish Legal (previously known as the Anglers' Conservation Association, founded in 1948) was set up to protect all coastal and inland waters in the United Kingdom from pollution and other damage.
Funds donated from a wide range of interested anglers, clubs and federations, and raised by Fish Legal itself, are effectively pooled so that no one person has to foot the costs of bringing defendants to court. Fish Legal's team of solicitors - both English and Scots-qualified - also offers advice to its member clubs, fisheries and riparian owners covering a wide range of angling and related law, completely free of charge.
Fish Legal's solicitors represent the organisation's member clubs, fisheries and riparian owners in seeking compensation from offenders who cause pollution or other damage to rivers and still waters. Fish Legal also obtains injunctions to prevent activities which threaten to damage the aquatic environment - if broken, offenders can find themselves in contempt of court and can even be jailed.
Fish Legal uses the whole range of the law - common, statutory, European and international to protect fisheries and angling. Fish Legal can often seek and win compensation for its members for any damage caused. When it does, all of the money goes back to the members concerned to carry out habitat work or re-stock the waters.
Fish Legal's legal team has teeth and bites hard. In the face of a challenge from our lawyers, many cases have been settled quickly even before the issue of proceedings. Fish Legal uses expert methods to calculate damages payable and these have been accepted by insurance companies, loss adjusters, solicitors and judges. In addition, we employ environmental economists and fisheries surveyors to verify and quantify financial losses to our members. We also employ leading fisheries biologists and experts to advise on the effect of pollution on fish and other wildlife. All this can mean that the cost to us of taking an individual case on behalf of our members can be as much as £30,000. Our legal team has built up an enviable reputation for its resolve. We have taken many controversial issues to the courts and taken risks to ensure that polluters are called to account. Fish Legal has achieved many changes in environmental legislation and is constantly pushing at the boundaries of the common law to improve the protection it offers to rivers, lakes, streams and ponds.
Over the years, the organisation has taken on many thousands of cases against polluters and those who damage fisheries, recovering millions of pounds in damages. Not only is the club, fishery or riparian owner compensated, but there is also a much wider public benefit from tackling pollution and damage to the aquatic environment head-on. We have more cases on-going at the moment than at any time in our history, as well as offering more routine legal advice to hundreds of angling clubs and fishery owners across the country. Summaries of our current work and, in some instances, links to case studies can be found in the Current Cases & News section.
Most importantly, Fish Legal is unique in that not only do its club or riparian owner members not pay a penny for legal representation when Fish Legal takes court action on their behalf, but the member also gets to keep all the damages to pay for protection and improvement of the affected fishery. No other organisation works in this way.
Fish Legal Advice Line for Members
Fish Legal offers a general legal helpline (01568 620447) to member clubs, fisheries and riparian owners on all aspects of fishery law and fisheries in general.