Since the economic collapse of 2008, successive governments have slashed national and local budgets for vital services. Economic crisis has been used as an excuse to roll back social and community provision.

The Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) is an organisation committed to taking legal action against cuts in community services. In the aftermath of the economic collapse in 2008,  working class communities and other marginalised groups have borne the brunt of austerity measures, while the bankers responsible for the crisis have largely escaped consequences.

PILC aims to challenge local councils that seek to implement service reductions affecting various aspects of community life, including threats to library closures, youth clubs, schools, and the selling of community assets.

To contest these cuts, PILC examines the lawfulness and reasonableness of the proposed measures. We scrutinise whether the council has carried out a proper consultations exercise, and examine whether the public body has conducted a consultation in a fair and meaningful manner, giving individuals and communities the opportunity to express their views and have them taken into account.

Moreover, PILC’s lawyers assess whether a proper equality assessment has been conducted. We examine whether the proposed cuts disproportionately impact certain groups based on protected characteristics, such as race, gender, disability, or socioeconomic status. If it is found that the cuts disproportionately affect marginalised communities, PILC can argue that they are discriminatory and challenge their lawfulness on these grounds.

If your community is faced with the closure of schools, libraries or other vital facilities, you may be able to make judicial review part of your campaigning strategy. We need to ensure that local councils are held accountable for their decisions and that working class communities and marginalised groups are not disproportionately burdened by austerity measures.