June 19th, 2014 by James Goudie KC

R (Stirling) v Haringey LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 116, (2013) LGR 251, is now entitled R (Moseley) v Haringey LBC. The authority consulted upon a Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). Following the consultation, the Government announced a Transitional Grant Scheme (TGS). The authority adopted a CTRS without re-consultation, claiming that the TGS did not affect the draft scheme. The consultation process was alleged to be unfair and unlawful because (1) consultees had not been provided with sufficient information to understand that there were alternatives to the draft scheme; and (2) the Respondent should have re-consulted when the TGS was announced.

On 19 June 2014 the Supreme Court heard an appeal from the decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal rejecting that argument.  The issues before the Supreme Court are:  (i) the extent of the duty to consult set out in paragraph 3(1)(c) of Schedule 1A to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 in respect of Council Tax Reduction Schemes; (ii) whether the authority was required to provide information to consultees on alternative options to its preferred proposal in circumstances where those alternatives were reasonably obvious; and (iii) whether the authority was required to draw consultees’ attention to a new factor which emerged during the course of the consultation process.  This is remarkably the first occasion on which the Supreme Court has considered the public law principles which govern the content of the duty to consult.

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