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Battle to save libraries in Suffolk

Leigh Day is instructed by a library user in Sudbury, Suffolk

Posted on 20 April 2011

A local resident and regular user of his local library in Suffolk, has instructed Leigh Day to challenge a consultation process currently being run by the Council on the future of libraries in the county. 

The consultation document, “New Strategic Direction: Have Your Say on the Future of Suffolk Libraries”, is running until 30 April and invites local residents to express their views on ways to run their local libraries. However our client argues that the consultation process is fundamentally flawed. The consultation document reveals that the Council has in fact already decided to reduce the funding for libraries by more than 30% and the consultation process is merely an exercise to work out how, rather than whether this cut should be made.

In addition, our client is concerned that no proper assessment on the impact of library closures on women, disabled people, and those from BME communities was carried out by the Council before it decided to make this substantial cut in library funding, as is required under the statutory equality duties, thereby rendering the decision unlawful.

A letter before claim has been sent by Leigh Day and we are currently awaiting a response.

Legal action to save libraries

Richard Stein and Rosa Curling, solicitors in the human rights department at Leigh Day & Co, have acted for many campaigning groups in bringing judicial reviews against government ministers, local councils, and other public bodies who threaten to close or withdraw essential public services.

Rosa has written a guide, Stand up for your Public Services, which you might find useful if you are planning to campaign to keep your local library open.  Rosa is also happy to speak to groups about possible legal action and the ways in which these can be funded.  Please contact her on 020 7650 1200 if you would like a free consultation.

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