Jonathan Werran 10 October 2013

Doncaster ruling means councils can't force mayors to revise budgets, top judge finds

One of the country’s most senior judges has declared former Doncaster Mayor, Peter Davies’ victory in a legal battle over library closures, raises ‘important issues’ over the powers directly elected mayors hold over full councils.

In effect, the legal ruling makes it clear that full councils cannot order a directly-elected mayor to spend money in a particular way.

The comments were made yesterday in a High Court ruling, which found against resident, Carol Buck, who claimed Mr Davies, had illegally refused to put into effect a library funding budget amendment.

Court ruling The court ruling throws up issues around the division of power.

In March 2012 Doncaster councillors voted a £380,000 contingency budget to provide support to 14 community libraries. However, Mr Davies, who was defeated in this May’s local elections, refused to spend the money.

Lord Dyson, who is Master of the Rolls, the second most senior judge in England, said: ‘The claim raises important issues as to the division of powers between a directly elected executive and the full council of a local authority.’

‘The full council cannot require the mayor to expend money in a particular way’, added Lord Dyson, who sat with Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice McCombe in the appeal court.

 
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