Local authority budgets

April 16th, 2019 by James Goudie KC

Following the Divisional Court decision in Hollow v Surrey County Council (2019) EWHC 618 (Admin) on local authority budgets and decisions to reduce expenditure, Supperstone J has decided R (AD) v Hackney LBC (2019) EWHC 943 (Admin), in which, again, the challenge was dismissed, and all the various grounds of challenge rejected. As regards alleged “systemic unlawfulness”, it was not the case that Hackney’s approach inherently would produce failures to comply with the relevant absolute, statutory duty (Section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014). The impact of the reduction upon SEN children and Education and Health Care Plans could be mitigated in individual cases. Nor was a banded system an intrinsically unlawful way to discharge that duty. Further, there was no breach of Section 27 of the 2014 Act, of the PSED, of Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, or of Section 11 of the Children Act 2004. Moreover, no public law consultation was required under Section 27, or the PSED or at common law. There was no legitimate expectation of consultation. It was not required in order to avoid “conspicuous unfairness”. There was compliance with the Tameside duty to equip oneself with adequate information.



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