European Court Upholds EU Seal Ban

A European Union ban on imports of seal products not derived from the traditional Inuit seal hunt has been upheld.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice rejected an appeal brought by an association representing the interests of Canadian Inuits — Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami — and seal product manufacturers against a ruling from a lower court in 2013.

The court ruled that earlier judgement was correct in holding that the legality of the basic regulation must be assessed on the basis of the facts and the law as they stood at the time when it was adopted, so that, contrary to the submissions of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the other associations and individuals, the date of the Commission’s proposal for a regulation is not relevant in that regard.

In an action challenging a legislative measure, such as the basic regulation, it is not that proposal, liable to be amended during the legislative procedure, whose lawfulness is reviewed by the EU judicature, but the legislative measure as adopted at the end of that procedure by the EU legislature.

Secondly, the Court stated that the appellants are wrong in maintaining both that the considerations in the preamble to the basic regulation are not sufficient to justify recourse to Article 95 EC and that the General Court could not take into account the information provided by the Commission during the judicial proceedings.

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