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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Despite a vigorous campaign, the local authority has recently

Resolved Question:

Despite a vigorous campaign, the local authority has recently granted planning consent to itself to build a new 420 pupil primary school on agricultural land in the strategic gap in our village community, where there are very few children to use it; 35% of the pupils at the existing 210 pupil school travel over 3 miles from the other side of town to come here.

The Secretary of State has decided not to call in the decision so we are considering a judicial review but are very concerned as to liability for costs. We are perfectly prepared to meet our own costs but have been warned that we could become liable to meet the authorities costs too if we lose or withdraw. WE are advised that the request for a judicial review must be either by an individual resident or by a "group" on behalf of a number of residents. An individual will obviously not be able to limit his/her liability so we considered setting up a company limited by guarantee, which we consider would be a charity but that is a separate issue, but have now been warned that this may still leave the subscribers personally liable without limit.

Is there any way we can go forward with our request for a judicial review safe in the knowledge that we will be responsible only for our own costs?

Many thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

You can seek a Judicial Review once you have exhausted all complaints process

Alex Watts :

Even then there is a pre action protocol to follow which can be found here:

Alex Watts :

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/protocol/prot_jrv

Alex Watts :

You might do well getting a Solicitor to deal with proceedings are there are Court rules to follow.

Alex Watts :

In short a High Court Judge will look at the decision and see whether it is legal and reasonable.

Alex Watts :

A Judge can then either agree with the decision or remit it back for further consideration

Alex Watts :

You will need a Solicitor and a Barrister for the hearing.

Alex Watts :

But if you win, you can ask the Judge for costs.

Alex Watts :

If you lose, you would not only have to pay your own costs, but those of the Council

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Thanks. You confirm that we would be responsible for the Council's costs, which are likely to be 10 times our own and could be any amount. The proposal was to establish a guarantee company to be the body to request the judicial review and fund it with the amount we have at our disposal. This would be at least adequate to meet our own cost which would have been defrayed by the time a decision is made. What we wanted to ensure is that only the funds within the company would be at risk in meeting the Council's nebulous costs if we lose. Our funds will easily meet our own costs but the Council's could be any amount and we could all lose our homes if we are liable as subscribers beyond the limit of our guarantees - hence the question - Is there any way we can go forward with our request for a judicial review safe in the knowledge that we will be responsible only for our own costs? Many thanks

Alex Watts : Sadly you won't be able to do that. If you are going to bring a JR it needs to be personally.
Alex Watts : The court will see you are doing this to limit costs and order you personally in any event, especially if the company has not been established yet.
Alex Watts : It would have no locus to bring the claim.
Alex Watts : can I clarify anything else?
Customer:

Thanks Alex,

Customer:

Thanks Alex, unfortunately you have confirmed our fears to be well founded. Your advice is crystal clear, many thanks.

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