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09 NOV 2011

R (Luton Borough Council & Ors) v Secretary of State for Education [2011] EWHC 217 (Admin)

Education – decision-making – rationality – fettering – legitimate expectations – equalities duties

The decision to cancel the Building Schools for the Future programme was unlawful due a breach of a procedural legitimate expectation to consult and failure to comply with the equalities duties. 
11 February 2011
Administrative Court
Holman J

(1) Summary of judgment  A number of Local Authorities (LAs) applied for judicial review of the decision of the Secretary of State for Education to stop or cancel building projects that were in the pipeline due to the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. After the election in May 2010, the new Secretary of State decided to end the BSF programme. The LAs claimed that the decision was unlawful in respect of their pending and ongoing building projects and sought reconsideration of the decision to cancel their projects. The LAs argued that the decision (1) was irrational; (2) the product of the application of rules that amounted to a fetter on the Secretary of State’s discretion; (3) a breach of their substantive legitimate expectation; (4) a breach of their procedural legitimate expectation and (5) in breach of the statutory equalities duties.

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