12th May, 1987 INDEX




via Members' Secretary
Ext. 4340

12th May, 1987


I have this morning, met the Borough Solicitor to discuss the letterwe all received from the solicitors acting for the Waltham ForestRatepayers Action Group, The Borough Solicitor has already taken advicefrom Barristers' on how this should be dealt with. The main points arisingfrom our discussion are as follows.

Firstly, the letter which we received, and letters which have beensent directly to the Council, contain various threats that are in fact verylight on detail. At this stage there is no point whatsoever in Individualmembers replying to the letter. As far as the Council is concerned, anacknowledgement only will be sent to the letter which was received. Itwould be necessary for Writs to be served before any Court action wouldoccur. At this stage, no Writ has been received and no direct applicationhas been made to the High Court by the Ratepayers Action Group. However,It does seem likely that further papers will be received from them withinthe next day or two. These may include Writs against the Council andpossibly also against individual members. It is perhaps important torealise that the process of judicial review would only apply to actiontaken by the Council and not to action taken by individual members. AnyWrits served on members would have to specify the action which was proposedagainst members. If a Writ is received in the form of an application forjudicial review, then it is likely that the Court hearing would take placea few days later. The Council would be represented at that hearing,

If Individual members are served with Writs which specify actionagainst them, then it is likely that we would need separate representation,and because the action was being taken against us as individuals, it wouldnot be possible for us to look to the Council for an indemnity. I alreadyhave the name of a firm of solicitors who have represented Council membersin other boroughs when there have been legal problems,

It is at this stage, very difficult to do anything more than note theletters we have received. What further action is necessary will depend onwhat happens later this week. If we receive further letters which aresimilar to the ones we have already received, then no further action wouldbe needed, but obviously if Writs are served either on the Council or onindividual members, we will have to make decisions on how we deal withthem. Particularly if we receive Writs as individuals we will need speedylegal advice and it is obviously better that we should receive that adviceas a group rather than all individually be put to separate expense. Iwould suggest that members hold themselves ready for an emergency Groupmeeting, possibly at the end of this week, if it does turn out that wereceive Individual Writs.

Finally, it is important to note that the legal opinions we have sofar received are that there is very little of any real substance in theletters so far from the Ratepayers Action Group.