Update from the High Court Day 2

Royal Courts of Justice

Our lead barrister, Helen Mountfield QC, was fantastic in Court today, spending the morning on her feet setting out the rest of our challenge to Brent’s decision and deftly answering questions put to her by the judge. This morning’s arguments focused on Brent’s failure to properly consider the serious difficulties of having to switch libraries and the adverse impact of such a switch on particular groups (especially children), not to mention whether the libraries that would be able to absorb all of this extra traffic could do so and how they would be affected. Ms. Mountfield also explained how Brent failed to consider how the alternative delivery models that it has proposed fall short, both because they assume that everyone has home internet access and because they fail to recognise that accessing books is only one of a number of services provided by libraries, most of which (access to workstations, study space, homework clubs etc) need to be local to be relevant.

But for many watching, it was the arguments made about Brent’s inadequate consultation process and the failure to properly consider community proposals that really hit home, and some of these arguments seem to have resonated with the judge, who pressed Brent’s lawyer on why the criteria used to evaluate the proposals had not been disclosed in advance. At the end of the day, the judge again indicated that Brent had yet to answer that issue to his satisfaction.

Brent’s QC spent the afternoon arguing its case and will be back this morning to finish up, after which Ms. Mountfield will spend some time replying to any final issues. It is expected that all argument will be concluded by lunchtime and that the judge will reserve his decision, which is to say, he will deliver it at a later date, although it is not known when that will be. After Court, our solicitor, John Halford, was very pleased with how the day had gone, as were those of us who had been who had been watching from the gallery.

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