INDEX July 1, 1987
No claim against councillors

Regina v Waltham Forest London Borough Council and others, Ex parte Baxter and others.

Court of Appeal (Sir John Donaldson, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Lloyd and Lord Justice Balcombe).

26 June 1987.

On an application for judicial review of a council's rate resolution, the applicants grievance could be best remedied in terms of speed or economy by granting leave to move against the council, but not against the individual councillors who voted in favour of the resolution.

The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the applicants from the decision of Mr Justice McNeill on 17 June 1987 whereby he ordered that the leave to move for judicial review granted as regards the second to 32 respondents, who were individual councillors be set aside.

James Wadsworth QC and A de Freitas (instructed by Richards Butler) for the applicants; James Goudie QC and Patrick Elias (instructed by Waltham Forest London Borough Council) for the respondents.

SIR JOHN DONALDSON, MR said that ratepayers of Waltham Forest Borough Council had applied to the court for leave to move for judicial review following the making by the council of a rate resolution which had the effect of increasing the amount of rate against the general body of ratepayers by 62 per cent. The application was made against the council and against individual councillors who voted in favour of the resolution.

Mr Justice McNeill set aside leave which had been granted to move against the council and 31 individual councillors. He said: "I have a strong suspicion... .that these councillors are named as respondents purely for the purpose of obtaining discovery from them. Secondly,.... they are joined because the applicants seek costs against them individually in the event of success... In my view, either of those would be an improper reason for joining them." The duty of the court on an application for leave was to look at the real grievance of the applicant and to see how that grievance could be best remedied in terms of speed or economy.

His Lordship could not see how speed or economy would be assisted by joining 31 councillors.

His Lordship agreed that they should not (be?) joined to obtain discovery or costs against them. There was no ground on which the judge's decision to set aside leave could be faulted.

Ying Hui Tan, Barrister.

Independent July 1, 1987.
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