Monday 19 December 2011

Appeal Court rejects library campaigners' case - Supreme Court next?

The Court of Appeal  today dismissed the appeal by Brent Library Campaigners over the closure of six Brent Brent libraries.  However the indefatigable campaigners are now looking to petition the Supreme Court over the decision.  They would seek a hearing on the grounds that the case raises issues of public importance in terms of library closures and wider public service cuts. It would be the first opportunity for the highest UK court to consider both the equality duties at the heart of the case and the legality of large-scale library closures.

The campaigner's solicitor, John Halford, of Bindmans LLP said:
Today's Court of Appeal ruling is very difficult to reconcile with what Parliament intended when it enacted the equality duty that obliges Brent, and all other local authorities, to properly grapple with the impact withdrawal of local services of this kind has on communities. The Court of Appeal appears to accept that there is a risk of indirect discrimination against significant numbers of people in Brent resulting from its plans to impose devastating cuts on local library services, but it has excused the Council from properly taking that risk into account before deciding to make those cuts. Our position is that this is simply wrong in principle. If the Supreme Court is willing to hear  this case, we anticipate the outcome being very different.
The full text of the judgment can be found HERE

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