Supreme Court rules on the requirements of lawful consultation

The Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in its first ruling on the requirements of lawful consultation (R(on the application of Moseley) v London Borough of Haringey [2014] UKSC 56).  The Claimant, a resident of the London Borough of Haringey, challenged the lawfulness of Haringey's statutory consultation prior to the introduction of its Council Tax Reduction Scheme (the "CTRS"), which replaced Council Tax Benefit.  The CTRS  was necessary to absorb  a government reduction in funding.  Haringey had a choice about whether to pass the entirety of the shortfall on to those on low income who had previously been in receipt of Council Tax Benefit, or absorb the shortfall in other ways, such as cuts in services. However,  its consultation was premised on the assumption that the shortfall would be met  entirely by reductions in Council Tax Benefit and that there were no other options.  The Supreme Court held that the consultation was unlawful as fairness demanded that the consultation document should refer to alternative methods of absorbing the shortfall in government funding and the reasons why it was considered other options were unacceptable.

 

The judgment can be found (here) and the Supreme Court press release (here)

 

Jamie Burton and Sam Jacobs acted for the Claimant, instructed by Alex Rook at Irwin Mitchell.

 

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