Holman J rules Gove’s BSF decision was ‘unlawful’

Mr Justice Holman has ordered the Government to review its plans to scrap the Building Schools for Future programme.


Michael Gove MP
Michael Gove MP

The decision, handed down this morning, gives victory to six local authorities that brought the judicial review proceedings.

In his judgment Holman J held that the  decision taken by the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove MP to halt investment in refurbishing every school in the country was taken without consultation.

The judgment stated: “I do consider and hold that, unlawfully and without justification, he failed to consult with any of these claimants as to the effect on their individual projects of his possible decision options.”

The case, which is listed as one of The Lawyer’s top 20 (3 January 2011), was a major challenge to the Government’s austerity cuts.

Claimant lawyers:

Dickinson Dees partner Neil Harrison instructed 11KBW’s Peter Oldham QC to act for the London Borough of Newham.

Bevan Brittan partner Emily Heard instructed 11 KBW’s Nigel Giffin QC to lead Rachel Kamm, also of 11 KBW, to act for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Landmark Chambers’ Richard Drabble QC and Daniel Kolinsky instructed by Ward Hadaway partner Karen Andrews for Nottingham Borough Council and Addleshaw Goddard partner Simon Kamstra for Luton Borough Council.

Waltham Forest Borough Council in-house lawyer Robin Levett instructed Brick Court’s Jemima Stratford QC to lead Oliver Jones.

Brick Court’s Harry Matavou QC led Tony Singla instructed directly by Kent County Council Legal and Democratic Services

Defendant lawyers:

Treasury Solicitor Andrew Jack instructed 11 KBW’s James Goudie QC, Clive Sheldon and Robin Hopkins to represent the Secretary of State for Education.