Barnet Council judicial review appeal begins
Second most senior judge presides over landmark case into authority's plans to outsource a wide range of services
Today marks the start of a hearing at the Court of Appeal, where the claimant is seeking to overturn a previous High Court decision not to grant a judicial review into Barnet Council's plans to outsource various services.
The case centres on a decision by the council in December 2012 to select Capita for a 10-year £320m contract to run its new support and customer service organisation (NSCSO) which the claimant, disabled Barnet resident Maria Nash, says was taken without the consultation of residents.
According to the council, the deal would see it outsource 11% of its total spending to Capita, with the company running a range of the authority's services, including procurement, information systems, corporate programmes, estates, customer services, finance, human resources and payroll, in return. The authority says that this will allow it to save £125m over 10 years; however an application for a judicial review into the contract was lodged by Nash before it was signed.
The appeal was submitted by Nash after her original application for a judicial review was refused by judge Sir Nicholas Underhill in April. The judge ruled that although the council had acted unlawfully by failing in its duty to consult residents about the outsourcing plans, the application for a judicial review was technically brought too late.
The Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, who is the head of civil justice and the second most senior judge in the UK, will hear the case alongside Lord Justice Davis and Lady Justice Gloster.
They will hear two days of legal argument between the council's barrister, Dinah Rose QC of Trowers & Hamlins, and Nigel Giffin QC, instructed by Steel & Shamash, the firm representing Nash.
As was the case for the previous hearing, both the claimant's solicitor and the council are expecting a reserved judgement, whereby the judges retire for an extended period of time - potentially a number of weeks - before delivering their verdict.