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R (on the application of GREENWICH COMMUNITY LAW CENTRE) v GREENWICH LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL

A local authority’s decision to withdraw funding for a community law centre was lawful where the centre had known for more than six months that the existing funding arrangement was coming to an end and the local authority had paid due regard to its equalities duties and the potential impact of closure on the centre’s existing clients in coming to its decision.

9 January 2012

The claimant community law centre (C) applied for judicial review of the defendant local authority’s decision to cease funding it. C provided free legal advice and assistance to its clients, predominantly on immigration and employment issues. C formed part of a consortium of law centres offering similar services across the borough. While the local authority undertook a recommissioning exercise it had entered into a six-month interim funding agreement with C. Due to budgetary cuts for the voluntary sector, the local authority announced that its funding, including an immigration and employment grant, would be offered on a single agency basis, meaning that the borough’s law centres would have to apply for the limited grants. C applied for the immigration and employment grant. The local authority’s evaluation panel met to consider the respective law centres’ bids for grants and produced a report scoring the bids, which indicated that C had a lower score than the other centre ten...

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