July 23rd, 2012 by James Goudie KC


In Kotegaonker v SoS for Environment etc and Bury MBC [2012] EWHC 1976 (Admin) Hickinbottom J held that a footpath linking two privately-owned sites, one containing a health centre and the other containing shops, could not be a public highway, either at common law or under the Highways Act 1980 s.31, because members of the public had no legal right of entry at either end of the path.  They entered the health centre and the shops under licence from the respective landowners, not because they had an unrestricted right to do so.  There was no statutory definition of the word “highway”.  Common law did not have any authority directly on the issue.  As a matter of principle, the concept of a highway that was unconnected to any other highway was incongruous, because such a way did not have all the requisite essential characteristics of a highway.  Passing along a route as licensee did not constitute passing along it “freely and at … will”, since passage was at the will of the landowner, who could withdraw the licence at any time.  The fact that the owners of the health centre and the shops at either end of the path had never imposed any restrictions was irrelevant to the terms of s.31, which required that the right of way had to be enjoyed by the public “as of right”.


Yet another first instance decision on the PSED: R (Hunt) v North Somerset Council [2012] EWHC 1928 (Admin).  Applying the approach of the Court of Appeal in the Brent Libraries case, [2012] LGR 530, Wyn Williams J dismissed a judicial review challenge to North Somerset Council’s decision to approve, during its budget-setting process, a proposal to reduce financial provision for youth services and to review the ways in which such provision was made in its area.  The Judge held that the Council had complied in substance with its duties under s.149 of the Equality Act 2010 and s.507B of the Education Act 1996.

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