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Council taken to Supreme Court over youth services cuts

North Somerset Council has been taken to the Supreme Court by a service user unhappy with cuts the authority made to youth services.

The Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to a decision by the Court of Appeal not to give Aaron Hunt any relief despite ruling that a 70%-plus council cut to youth services was unlawful.

Hunt is also challenging an order by the Court of Appeal that he pay 50% of North Somerset Council’s costs, even though it had ruled in his favour.

Hunt, who has ADHD along with other learning difficulties and behavioural problems, used to attend a youth club run by the council. But North Somerset cut its Youth Services budget in 2012-13 when its grant funding from government was reduced.

Hunt sued the council for failing to discharge its consultation duties under the Education Act, and for councillors failing to consider their public sector equality duty.

The case was dismissed in the High Court but this was overturned by the Court of Appeal in November 2013. It concluded that the decision to cut youth services by more than 70% had been unlawful.

Lord Justice Rimer, who gave the judgment of the court, said there was insufficient evidence for the High Court judge to conclude that North Somerset had taken the steps required under the Education Act.

He also said the Court of Appeal was unable to agree with the High Court judge when he concluded that councillors had read the relevant equalities impact assessment.

But the Court of Appeal refused to quash North Somerset’s decision to approve the cuts, with Lord Justice Rimer saying that it was “now too late to unwind what has been done”.

In a subsequent ruling the Court of Appeal ordered that Hunt pay the council’s costs, reduced by 50%.

A five judge panel in the Supreme Court will now hear the case on 29 April.

(Image source: UK Supreme Court)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Linda   23/04/2015 at 08:03

Seems a tad unreasonable to win a case AND then face costs! Surely North Somerset will bite the bullet and accept they didn't do what they should and let it ride before wasting even more public money on another court session.

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