COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM QBD ADMINISTRATIVE COURT IN BIRMINGHAM
THE RECORDER OF BIRMINGHAM
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LADY JUSTICE SMITH
LORD JUSTICE AIKENS
| THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF 007 STRATFORD TAXIS LIMITED
|- and -
|STRATFORD ON AVON DISTRICT COUNCIL
David Lock and Philip Williams (instructed by Legal Services, Stratford-on-Avon District Council) for the Respondents
Hearing dates : 25th and 26th January 2011
Crown Copyright ©
President of the Queen's Bench Division
This is the judgment of the court
Wheelchair access policy
The claimants' case
a) the cabinet was not competent to take the decision. It should have been taken by the council.
b) if it was a decision for the cabinet, that body did not itself sufficiently consider and determine all the various matters that the decision-maker needed to decide and determine.
c) the decision should not have been a policy decision. It should have been made as a condition to the grant of individual licences. If it had been, there would have been an appeal to the magistrate's court. Because of the way in which the decision was taken, applicants for licences have been wrongly deprived of this route of challenging the decision.
d) the respondent did not conduct a sufficient consultation.
e) the respondent did not sufficiently take account of the responses to the consultation.
f) the decision contravened section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 because it failed to have due regard to the fact that it discriminated against those who are disabled but do not use a wheelchair, it being more difficult for the walking disabled to get into an expensive taxi with wheelchair access than into a less expensive taxi which is a saloon vehicle.
The appeal Ground 1
"A minister may retain his power to make a decision while relying on the department to draw his attention to the salient facts."
Here, the cabinet adopted the committee's decision upon very short consideration and without either being provided with the material that was before the committee or a résumé of the committee's consideration and reasons. If, therefore, contrary to the appellants' contention in their third ground of appeal, the cabinet was competent to take this decision, there was a significant flaw in their process.
Grounds 4 and 5
Relief the effect of delay