7 Jul 2011

GCC face High Court Judicial Review

Today the courts decided that Gloucestershre County Council will face a High Court Judicial Review on its 'destructive library proposals' on 28 and 29 September. The injunction that stops libraries closing (including mobile libraries) remains in place.

Update 9pm: I understand that permission for judicial review was granted on all three of the grounds put forward by the counsel speaking on behalf of Public Interest Lawyers and the claimant; 1. Failure to consider the statutory requirements of the 1964 Public Libraries Act, 2. Failure to conduct proper equality impact assessment, 3. Failure to consult adequately. The campaign group, who are not bringing this court action, issued a statement outside the court: "We are really pleased with the outcome of today's hearing and look forward to the proper scrutiny of GCC's plans for our library service in court. This scrutiny has never been allowed within GCC's own procedures, where party politics has appeared to be prioritised before the needs and concerns of service users - including some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. However, as Gloucestershire taxpayers, we regret the expense that may now be incurred by the county, which could have been avoided if only GCC had paused in their plans and listened to and engaged meaningfully with service users, and at central government level if DCMS and Ed Vaizey had fulfilled their duty to superintend. Public libraries are facing unprecedented cuts and closures nationwide, and we hope that other authorities will note the outcome of today's hearing when formulating their own plans for the future of their library services." 

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