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Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.
In terms of how to proceed you are looking at court action as a last resort. You mention that you have escalated your complaint to the Ombudsman - this would be to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). And I presume their draft decision does not uphold your complaint to the local authority?.
Luckily, there is a legal remedy available against a council with it being a public body. You can issue "Judicial Review" proceedings which is where you involve the court, and a senior judge or panel of judges looks the legality of the local authority's decision. If the judge(s) find in your favour, they will make an order which is binding on the public body (e.g. they may say the public body’s decision was invalid) and they are then forced to act to sort the problem out. Further, if your human rights were breached then compensation may also be payable.
The issue with judicial review is that the cases are quite complex, but as a result of that, a law firm can usually recover their legal costs from the local authority if they win the application. You would be offered a no win no fee agreement with the law firm, to sue the local authority, which is the only option you have assuming the Ombudsman has not upheld your complaint. If they do not offer a no win no fee agreement, if you are in receipt of means tested benefits then legal aid may well be available to you. We cannot act as JustAnswer is an internet forum and not a law firm - we can only give information and guidance from a legal standpoint.
Here are a few firms who specialise in this area :
I hope this helps - please feel free to ask me anything else.
I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.
Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.
You may be, yes. They probably wouldn't change their opinion even if you reply with your comments. The Ombudsman's job is to ensure the council's decision is correct and fair. So I am not sure why they are taking this stance. Any of those law firms I mentioned would be able to pursue court action.
You would need a solicitor, yes. It's beyond the remit of this site but happy to answer any more questions regarding judicial review of the local authority's decision.
My pleasure, thanks
Thank you, ***** ***** say any of those mentioned would be able to assist. Have a good day. Jim
The court has discretion to extend it given the fact the Ombudsman took that amount of time, yes. The law firm will need to make an application to extend it.