Court Rejects Claim For Judicial Review Of Salford Transport Cuts

Lawyers Acting For Families Of Wheelchair Bus Users Reveal Battle To Save Service Will Continue

23.10.2014

Specialist lawyers representing two disabled adults in a legal challenge of Salford City Council’s plans to cut a vital wheelchair bus service have revealed they are disappointed and considering an appeal after a judge ruled that the service should be withdrawn.

Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law team brought a judicial review regarding the council’s announcement in July that the transport service would be withdrawn at the end of August, following concerns from local people that the move would mean vulnerable members of the community cannot access the care services they require.

Now, following a judicial review into the plans at the High Court in Manchester this week, the court has ruled that the bus service should come to an end.

Mathieu Culverhouse is the legal specialist from Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law team in Manchester who represents the two adults in relation to the issue.

Expert Opinion
We are very disappointed with the outcome of this judicial review and the consequences this will have on so many vulnerable members of the community in Salford. The decision has placed many families in a difficult situation as to how they will ensure that their loved ones will be able to access the vital day centre services they are entitled to.

"We are now determined to investigate every possible avenue in order to ensure that our clients will be able to access the support they require and are considering an appeal of today’s decision."
Mathieu Culverhouse, Associate

The legal team acting in the case challenged the decision on the transport cuts on several grounds, including:

  • That council did not adequately assess the care needs of the community and how they can be met, with families stating they were not asked about alternative travel
  • That the local authority also failed to provide reasons which demonstrated that the decision was properly considered
  • That the council did not meet responsibilities under the Equality Act, including the requirement to assess the potential impact of this decision on the disabled people affected

However, in his judgment, His Honour Judge Stephen Davies ruled that he was “unable to accept that [the Claimants’] challenge is made out” and dismissed the claim.

The legal team’s clients in this case are Swinton man Michael Robson, who requires around-the-clock care for cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He uses the transport service to access the St Georges Day Centre in Salford two days a week.

Speaking after the judgment, Michael’s mother, Mary Robson, said “I am so disappointed with this outcome.  We thought we had a good chance of saving the transport service and we will now have to see what happens with the appeal.”

The team’s second client is Jennifer Barrett, from Salford, a wheelchair user with quadriplegic cerebral palsy who needs the service to attend the Waterside Resource Centre in Salford four days a week.

Commenting on the judgment, Jennifer’s mother, Elaine Barrett, said “I feel very sad for all the people who use the transport service, and for the staff at the transport, who have been absolutely wonderful over the years.”