Building Schools for the Future

July 20th, 2011

In a previous post on the decision in R (Luton Borough Council & others) v Secretary of State for Education [2011] EWHC 217 (Admin) – the Building Schools for the Future case – I described the local authorities’ success as only partial. And so it seems, as Rachel Kamm reported yesterday. The case provides a good example of a very common form of victory in judicial review claims: the Pyrrhic.  Michael Gove, in his statement to the House of Commons on school funding yesterday said:

Some of those local authority areas that had experienced the termination of their BSF projects asked for a judicial review of my Department’s decisions. In February, Mr Justice Holman found in favour of the Department on the substantive matters in dispute, but he found against me on procedural grounds and asked me to look again at the decision in six local authorities. He stressed that the decision to restore all, some or none of the projects was a matter for me. Over the past few months, Ministers and officials have listened carefully to the case made by the six local authorities and I am very grateful to them for the timely and constructive way in which they have presented their case. I have today written to those authorities to let them know that I am minded to indemnify them for contractual liabilities resulting from the stage their projects had reached but Iam not minded to restore their specific BSF projects. They now have a further opportunity to make representations to me before I take a final decision.

Bookmakers are not yet giving odds on whether the final decision will be different from yesterday’s.

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