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British judges could force mothers-to-be to pay compensation to their child and face criminal charges for ingesting certain types of food or drink during pregnancy that are deemed risky for unborn children.

Currently, a council in north-west England, which cannot be named, is looking to slap a woman with a criminal injuries payout to the person's daughter, who is now six, after she had allegedly drank half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager a day during pregnancy.

The council made its first attempt at to win compensation on the child's behalf in January but failed.

If the Court of Appeal rules in the girl's favour, it could mean other types of food and drink, such as unpasteurised cheese, runny eggs or raw meat and fish, could land women with "crime of violence" charges because it puts the foetus at risk.

However, despite the council claiming that the girl in the court case is suffering from "growth retardation" due to the mother's excessive drinking, the opposition has stipulated that there is no empirical evidence that can be blamed for the daughter's state of health.

"Can it be said a pregnant mother who eats unpasteurised cheese or a soft boiled egg, knowing the risk [would then be liable for the same treatment]?" said Ben Collins, a lawyer for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

A judgment in the appeal is expected at a later date.