Combined Authority challenge succeeds


Mr Justice Ouseley has today handed down judgment in the first case to consider the statutory framework for combined authorities under the Local Democracy Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 and Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016. Combined Authorities are a key part of the government’s ‘northern powerhouse’ policy, but this case will also be of significant interest to local authorities across the country.

The Claimant, Derbyshire County Council, challenged the legality of the consultation carried out by the proposed Sheffield City Region authority in connection with an increase in its powers and its extension to encompass the areas of Chesterfield Borough Council and Bassetlaw Borough Council. Following a two day hearing in November, Ouseley J today held that the consultation was unlawful and did not comply with the statutory requirements, because it had failed to ask consultees about one of the major proposals in the scheme, viz. whether or not Chesterfield BC should become a member of the proposed Combined Authority.

James Goudie QC and Edward Capewell appeared for the successful Claimant. Jonathan Moffett appeared for the Secretary of State as Interested Party.

The judgment is available here.