His Honour, Judge Pearl has spent the last few hours listening to the barristers acting on behalf of both the Isle of Wight council and the Island resident seeking a judicial review on the decision to close five libraries.
His decision has been to grant against the Judicial Review.
In his summing up, the judge declared that the application was out of the time period and that permission should not be granted.
Would be to the detriment of good administration
Declaring that the claimant’s defence (that the Legal Services Commission had caused the delay) was not good enough, he went on to say that it would be to the detriment of good administration if he had granted a Judicial Review outside of the three month time period.
He told the court that even if he’d granted an extension, he would have refused the application for a Judicial Review anyway.
He went on to say that there were difficult circumstances affecting the defendant (council) but that they had listened to the consultation and altered their proposals accordingly (ie, the change to the four libraries due for closure after one year being scrapped).
Decision made with open mind
Judge Pearl went on to say that he felt the decision made by the Cabinet on 1 March was made with open mind. Equality issues had given him cause for reflection, but in the end, he decided they were not valid.
Summing up, he said that in his view, that in the budget meeting held on 21 February, equality assessments were considered and given due regard. He refused the application for an extension to the three month window in which to apply for a Judicial Review.
Council apply for costs
The defendant (IWC) has applied for costs of the acknowledgement of service and cost of attendance today.
One of the library campaigners, Dave Quigley, said after the decision, “We are holding the Legal Services Commission responsible for this due to their delays.”
There will be no opportunity to appeal the decision.