Now that the case has been issued, the council will be asked to defend its proposal to close six local libraries – half of the borough’s reading rooms – which campaigners allege is unlawful. The core of their argument is that the process was legally flawed and that the Council did not properly assess the impact or alternatives before voting for the closures. (The vote took place four days before the consultation period actually ended.) The six libraries were due to be shut without notice sometime between May and September, but the legal proceedings mean a temporary reprieve, at least.
Judicial review claims have been brought against other councils that are cutting funds to libraries, but the Brent review is likely to be the first to be heard at the High Court. However the case is ruled, it could be a critical precedent for people fighting cuts in boroughs across the country.
Unfortunately, no legal fight is cheap. There are lots of ways to lend your support; for starters, check out the comedy night at the North London Tavern on Friday 10th June. The Save Kensal Rise Library crew will also be at the Queen’s Park Literary Festival on Saturday 11th June.