From Councillor Kevin Bonavia:
Lewisham Council have just served our legal challenge on the Government’s decision to drastically downgrade Lewisham Hospital A&E and maternity services on the ground that the Special Adminstrator was acting beyond his powers.
Depending on how the Government respond, this could end up being decided in Court as part of a substantial judicial review, by which we would seek the Court rendering the Government’s decision void.
As such, this could be a costly process, so the Council has set up a Legal Action Fund for the public to donate whatever they can towards legal funding. We don’t know at this early stage how much will be required, but if there is any surplus it will go to a local charity, Children First Lewisham.
The link to the online donation form can be found here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/news/Pages/Council-takes-Lewisham-Hospital-decision-to-the-courts.aspx
I think this is a good practical step forward. I’ve replied to Kevin asking for a breakdown of the costs involved – I’ll update this page when he replies UPDATE: see below
If you can contribute to the fund, the direct link is here:
You can pay by credit or debit card, and the minimum is a fiver.
From Kevin again:
The costs of the legal challenge are initially likely to consist mostly of engaging specialist barrister expertise at Queen’s Counsel level, which unfortunately is not pro bono. Other work is being carried out by the Counsel’s in-house legal team for which there is no additional cost, although it does of course add to their workload. Provision also has to be made for any costs orders that be made by the Court during judicial review proceedings, but it is too early to estimate how much these might be at the moment.
As for operating the legal challenge fund, there are no external costs as this has been set up and maintained by Council officers, so it’s a matter of use of officers’ time, which I understand is quite minimal since the payment system used is the same as that for other payments made to the Council online. Just to make a small clarification to your post, I understand that people can enter a lower sum than the suggested £5 – and also a higher sum than the suggested maximum of £25! As of yesterday, the fund had received donations in a total sum of £2,400.