“Herrmann versus Germany” Case

On 26 June the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in Strasbourg delivered final judgment in the Case “Herrmann versus Germany”. This case, examined by FACE’s Technical Group Legal Affairs (TG LEG) initiated by a small landowner (who described himself as being ethically opposed to hunting) against the German legal system whereby land parcels of less than 75ha must be part of a “hunting cooperative”. In a first ruling by a Chamber of the ECHR on 20 January 2011 this arrangement had been con-sidered in the public interest (prevention of game damage, etc.), and the Chamber moreover held that this interest, in the German context, did necessitate and justify interference with the applicant’s right to the peaceful enjoyment of his private property. This was appealed and the Grand Chamber of the Court reached another conclusion in its final judgment from June this year

The Grand Chamber found that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) of the Convention.

The case is expected to have limited consequences for hunting in Europe. The Grand Chamber has not ruled against hunting as such and does not call into question the benefits of hunting in the public interest. However, the Grand Chamber found that the obligation to tolerate hunting on his own private property imposed a disproportionate burden on the applicant who was opposed to hunting for ethical reasons. The Court is thereby following its findings in two previous judgments concerning hunting legislation in France and Luxembourg.