First case on Schools Consultation (Scotland) Act 2010
11 June 2012
The first case on the Schools Consultation (Scotland) Act 2010 has been decided in the Court of Session. The decision is Comhairle nan Eilean Siar v. Scottish Ministers  CSOH 94.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the education authority for the Western Isles, proposed to close two primary schools and two S1/S2 secondary schools. The Scottish Ministers called in the proposals under the Schools Consultation (Scotland) Act 2010 and subsequently refused consent to the proposals.
In a petition for judicial review brought by the Comhairle, Lord Brailsford reduced the call-in notices and decisions to refuse consent in each case. He rejected the Scottish Ministers’ contention that their only role was to ensure that the education authority had complied with the statutory requirements and held that the effect of a call-in notice was to remit the proposal to the Scottish Ministers for their decision on the merits. He further held that, in any event, the Comhairle had properly and fairly considered all matters relevant to the proposal.
W. James Wolffe QC of Axiom Advocates represented the Comhairle. Ruth Crawford QC and Morag Ross, also of Axiom Advocates, represented the Scottish Ministers.
The Scottish Ministers have marked a reclaiming motion against Lord Brailsford’s decision.
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