Consultation

February 19th, 2015

R (T) v Trafford MBC [2015] EWHC 369 (Admin) was primarily concerned with whether the Council was under a common law duty to include alternative options in its consultation on proposed budget savings.  Stewart J held that the Council was under no such duty.  On the proper interpretation of Moseley in the Supreme Court it is only sometimes that fairness will require consultation upon arguable yet discarded alternative options.  Moseley does not cast doubt on what was said by the Court of Appeal in Rusal. The Council were entitled “lawfully to present their preferred option and to consult on the best way to achieve that”: paragraph 37(vii).  The point in Moseley was that the consultation document was misleading.  If an authority does not consult on rejected options, and presents only a preferred option for consultation, that is not misleading.  It was legitimate to focus the consultation on savings in services when circumstances dictated that it was not realistic to increase council tax or use reserves: paragraph 38.

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