One of the most important constitutional cases of recent years opened yesterday when the Countryside Alliance took its challenge to the ban on hunting with dogs to the House of Lords.

The importance of the case is marked by the law lords assigning a panel of nine judges to hear it instead of the usual five, and the attorney general's decision to argue the government's case personally.
The hunt supporters argue that the Hunting Act is not legal because it was pushed through despite lords' opposition, using the Parliament Act 1949, which they claim is not a valid piece of legislation.

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