Six Members of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) have successfully challenged
the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the lack of transparency on the calculation of fees that the FSA
The case, which was heard on 21 and 22 June 2022, in the Royal Courts of Justice before Mr
Justice Mostyn, found that the absence of information on the calculation of various elements of the
fees, together with a lack of information on how costs were apportioned between the hourly rates
for Official Veterinarians (OVs) and Meat Hygiene Inspectors (MHIs) “had the consequence of
preventing a reasonably astute reader of the material on the website from checking, broadly, the
accuracy of the calculation of the hourly charging rates. The consequence constituted a breach of
the duty of transparency”.
The judicial review did not look at the lawfulness of the fees levied and that is now the next step that
needs to be considered.
It is now up to the FSA to agree with AIMS and others how the lack of transparency is to be
remedied and if agreement is not forthcoming the Judge will rule on any dispute.
This successful judgment is not the only outcome gained to date from the challenge.
In the lead up to the case evidence emerged that strongly suggests FSA had in the past illegally
included profits and pre-service training costs from their contract Eville & Jones (E&J) in its charges.
“How to recover those illegal charges will now be considered, as can recovery and prevention of
future inclusion of other elements of the charges, which can now be identified as a result of the
increased transparency” said Peter Hewson, Veterinary Director at AIMS.
“One such example is the cost of the very considerable checks the FSA carries out on the
performance of E&J OVs and MHIs,” he said
AIMS Head of Policy, Norman Bagley said: “AIMS is very grateful to its legal team at Roythornes
Solicitors along with Hugh Mercer QC and Naomi Hart as well as all who supported the challenge,
either by putting themselves forward to be named in the case or by providing financial support.
“We have and will always put the interests of our members first and stand up against unfairness
from regulatory bodies.”