Friday, February 25, 2022

Cumbria County Council finally abandons Judicial Review bid

Cumbria County Council's Labour administration has finally given up their futile legal challenge to the process local government reform in the area is finally over.

The government revealed its plans to reorganise how Cumbria is governed in 2021, which involve abolishing the existing county council and six district authorities.

Cumbria's existing councils will be replaced by two new unitary authorities by 2023. Cumberland Council will cover Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland. Westmorland and Furness Council will cover Eden, South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness.

Despite a motion passed by the full council urging against pursing a Judicial Review against the decision, and backbench councillors on the Scrutiny Management Board urging the county cabinet to think again following a "call-in," a flaw in the County Council's constitution allowed the six Labour members of the council to launch a legal challenge.

The Scrutiny Management Board, which warned of the possibility of escalating costs, was proved right, and the council's Labour leader proved wrong, when the court ordered the county council to pay £60,000 of legal costs to the Secretary of State and to the other six councils in Cumbria - this was a "reasonable proportion" of their costs, so allowing for the rest and for the county council's own legal costs, it is unlikely that the taxpayers of Cumbria have had much change, if any at all, from a hundred thousand pounds.

Earlier this week the challenge failed in court for a second time and the authority has now announced it will not pursue any appeal.

A council spokesman said: "After careful consideration Cumbria County Council has decided not to pursue an appeal."This follows a decision by the High Court on Tuesday 22 Feb to refuse Cumbria County Council’s application for permission to proceed with its JR. "This now concludes the Judicial Review Application process."

2 comments:

Paul Holdsworth said...

Finally, something we agree on! The sooner this basket-case of a council goes, the better.

Chris Whiteside said...

I will be very disappointed if the new councils cannot do a better job than the existing ones.