In a hearing in London today, the Court of Appeal granted Doncaster resident Carol Buck the right to appeal a High Court judgment of August 2012 in a case seeking to prevent the Mayor of Doncaster from going ahead with swingeing cuts to library services in the area. The decision means that a full appeal hearing will now take place in the Court of Appeal before June this year.
The Claimant will be asking for this hearing to take place as soon as possible, so that the important question of the balance of power between the Mayor and the elected Council in vital areas such as cuts to local libraries can be clarified.
At the hearing, the Court of Appeal agreed that all of the appeal points raised by the Claimant should be considered at a full hearing before a three judge Court of Appeal, including:
- The powers of a democratically elected Council to propose reasonable binding amendments to the Council’s annual financial strategy;
- Whether the budget constitutes a Council ‘strategy’ which the Mayor is required to follow.
If the Claimant is successful in her appeal, the Court of Appeal will have the power to quash the Mayor’s decision thus restoring the previous council-funded library services while the Council and Mayor reconsiders the financial strategy.
The Court of Appeal’s decision today comes amid growing uncertainty over the future of publicly funded services in Doncaster and across the UK as a whole. Where local services are being lost, it is vital that voters know the extent of the powers of their elected representatives so that those same representatives can be held accountable for their decisions.
Speaking today, Carol Buck, said as follows:
“I am very pleased that we have been given permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal. I am only sad that the Mayor has ignored local protests and failed to resource the libraries in the way the Council intended.”
Daniel Carey of Public Interest Lawyers said as follows:
“I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has recognised the importance of the issues in this case and the validity of our legal arguments. The democratic mandate of the Mayor does not extend to trampling the democratic mandate of the full Council when it has specifically provided for the funding of highly valued services such as Doncaster’s libraries.”