High Court rejects judical review of One Barnet outsourcing programme by disabled pensioner

Maria Nash challenged One Barnet in the High Court. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Maria Nash challenged One Barnet in the High Court. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

A disabled pensioner has lost her High Court battle with Barnet Council to topple its controversial £320million outsourcing plans.

Today, judge Lord Justice Underhill rejected New Barnet resident Maria Nash’s claim for a judicial review of the One Barnet outsourcing scheme, insisting the court action was launched too late.

Ms Nash, 68, called for a judicial review of the plans to outsource a swathe of council services to two private companies on the grounds that the council failed to consult residents and did not meet equality obligations.

But in a ruling delivered this morning, Mr Justice Underhill explained that in light of the fact judicial review claim forms must be submitted “not later than three months after the grounds to make the claim first arose”, Ms Nash’s application for a judicial review “should be refused”.

Last month, lawyers instructed by Ms Nash went head-to-head with the council’s legal team in the Royal Courts of Justice during a three-day hearing between March 19 and 21.

Solicitor Gerald Shamash, representing Ms Nash, said her legal team would be appealing Mr Justice Underhill’s decision.

He added: “As far as I’m concerned we should be challenging the question of delay in the Court of Appeal.

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“The council have agreed not to sign any of the One Barnet contracts until the appeal is finally decided in relation to both contracts.

“The London Borough of Barnet failed to consult the people of Barnet on this massive contract and I think it’s wrong.”

Barnet Council leader, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said: “Lord Justice Underhill could not have been clearer in ruling the application for judicial review as out of time and in accepting that the council had met equalities criteria.

“I hope the applicant and her lawyers will carefully consider the wise words of the judge before embarking upon an appeal and incurring even more costs that will have to be met from public funds.”

For more on today’s High Court judgement, see Thursday’s Ham&High.