On Friday 31st January papers were sent to Lincolnshire County Council setting out details of a request for a Judicial Review, in the High Court, of the County Council’s decision on 3rd December 2013 to reduce its statutory Library Service.
The claim was filed in the High Court, London, on Wednesday 29th January 2014.
The request for a Judicial Review has been issued by Public Interest Lawyers, of Eight Hylton Street, Birmingham on behalf of Simon Draper of Lincoln.
The review is asking for the Court to issue an order quashing the Council’s decision to drastically reduce its library provision across the county, made on 3rd December.
The legal papers set out a number of grounds for this request.
- First, that the consultation that preceded the decision was unlawful in that decisions had already been taken before the consultation began.
- The second reason is that the Council failed to take due regard of its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty as required by the Equality Act 2010. The Council had already identified that disabled people, older people, young people and women (particularly mothers of young children), were going to be hit by their plans but failed to ensure that the harm this was going to cause was prevented.
- In addition, it is claimed the Council failed to properly consider the proposal by Greenwich Leisure, a charitable social enterprise, to take over the whole Library Service whilst largely maintaining the library network.
- The fourth ground is that, if the cuts go ahead, the County Council Library Service will no longer be a comprehensive and efficient library service, as required by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
Commenting on the request for a judicial review, Simon Draper said “Timber, who is disabled, and I are devastated that the County Council has decided to close many of the libraries. This will leave the local community with the loss of yet another safe place for young people to study quietly, to learn and for parents to help teach their children to read. Libraries are not just for collecting and returning books, they are part of the community and help cement it together.”
Paul Heron from Public Interest Lawyers said “Great credit should go to Simon for caring enough about the library service in Lincolnshire to bring this legal action. We hope to convince the court that as a matter of law the County Council have not acted correctly in the way they have conducted the consultation process and ignored the wishes of people in Lincolnshire. I would urge all to once again lobby their councillors and ask them not to make these cuts which will devastate the library service if they are carried out.”
Save Lincolnshire Libraries on behalf of all library users in Lincolnshire welcomes the request for a judicial review and is pleased that Simon Draper has taken this step. “We regret that Lincolnshire County Council is steam-rolling ahead with seriously flawed cuts to remove statutory provision for more than thirty libraries rather than listen to 25,000 council tax payers who have actively supported our campaign to Save Lincolnshire’s Libraries,” said Phil Dilks, spokesperson for Save Lincolnshire Libraries.
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SAVE LINCOLNSHIRE LIBRARIES 10.2.2014
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How you can help
The library cuts in Lincolnshire have national implications (read this independent summary here: Lincolnshire Council’s consultation gets into further hot water … and has national implications), so we invite anyone who cares about public libraries in the UK to support us.
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