November 6th, 2015 by James Goudie KC

In Tilley v Vale of Glamorgan Council [2015] EWHC 3194 (Admin), a library case, Elizabeth Laing J said:-

“64. … Whether there is an obligation to consult on alternatives will depend on the facts of the case in hand, and, in particular, on whether there are any realistic alternatives … Moseley gives limited help on the question when there will be an obligation to consult on alternatives. It is clear from paragraphs 40 and 41 of Lord Reed’s judgment that in some cases there will be no obligation to consult on alternatives; and even when such an obligation does arise, it may not require an authority to discuss alternatives in detail, or the reasons why they have been rejected.

65. I accept … that it was for the Council to decide, in the circumstances, how much it wanted to save from the library service budget. In my judgment the   Council was also entitled to consult on what it described in the consultation document as its ‘preferred option’, that is community-led libraries, in the places served by the existing village libraries, …”

The Judgment also contains interesting observations (paragraphs 69-71 inclusive) on when a consultation challenge will be out of time.

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