Local Government Reorganisation

August 14th, 2018 by James Goudie KC

R ( Christchurch BC ) v SOS for HCLG ( 2018 ) EWHC 2126 ( Admin ) concerned a challenge by the Council to the decision of the SOS to use his power in section 15 of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 to lay Regulations before Parliament to amend the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to enable a proposal to reorganise local Government in Dorset which would abolish all the existing Dorset authorities. The challenge failed. The Council argued that the Regulations were ultra vires and unlawful because they were retrospective. The proposal was in existence before the Regulations came into effect. Sir Ross Cranston rejected this argument. He held that there was no vice of retrospectively and no unfairness and that in any event the Regulations are procedural in character and any presumption against retrospectively does not apply. He also found that the claim had not been brought promptly and that there was no justification for an extension of time.

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