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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Under what legislation can a councillor be forced to abstain

Customer Question

Under what legislation can a councillor be forced to abstain from voting if they have voiced their personal opinion through the press or other publicly available documents on a planning issue at district council?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This is to do with a planning permission issue.


Occupiers of a public house want to turn it into a house, much to the protest of local residents. In essence, they have fabricated stories and an entire marketing campaign to try and con the council into granting permission and showing their intentions are bona fide.


A local council has spoken in a newspaper article about her personal support for the family to turn it in to a house and more importantly, publicly called for them to appeal a refusal for permission by the planning committee.


My question is, as the councillor has publicly stated her support for the applicants in newspapers and other publicly available documents, does this mean her predetermination should prevent her from voting on a planning committee for approval of the permission?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

I’m afraid I cannot see any basis for asking a councillor to do so. Councillors are entitled to have view and express them publicly.

They are under an obligation to declare any personal interest and then ethically they should abstain from voting. That is not whats happened here on the face of it.

The fact that a Councillor takes the view that he supports this application doesn’t mean he can be forced to abstain.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please remember to rate my service either OK SERVICE or above and then I will give you related information for free.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So there is no legislation in England & Wales that would prevent a councillor using predetermination to vote on a planning matter?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Not unless there is a personal interest. They should declare personal interests.

If its just that they take a view in advance then that is something they are entitled to do.
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I have been asked to confirm what my colleague has said. There is no legislation which prevents someone from voting on an issue on which they have publicly expressed an opinion.

There would be no reason for it.



Please remember to rate my colleagues answer positively so that she gets credit.

Thank you

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Would you be able to clarify an issue regarding auction bidding too?

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Of course. If you post another question, on of our experts will pick it up.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Are auctioneers legally allowed to fabricate bids during an auction to bid the price up to the reserve price?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

I think you need to ask another question on that point as its not related and not really my area.

All the best.