Challenges to budget-setting decisions

In recent months there has been a spate of legal challenges to controversial budgetary decisions by public authorities. Claimants in such cases have been encouraged by the successful judicial review of Bristol City Council’s decision to cut its special educational needs budget in R (SE) v Bristol CC [2018] EWHC 2103 Admin (Jenni Richards QC acted for the Claimant). Surrey County Council and Hackney Council face similar challenges, and Portsmouth City Council recently agreed to reverse measures intended to reduce its special educational needs spend (including the introduction of a banding policy) following judicial review proceedings (Katherine Barnes represented the Claimants).

More ambitious challenges are also on the horizon – a group of families (for whom Jenni Richards QC is acting) has issued proceedings against Central Government on the basis that the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are failing to discharge their legal duties relating to the amount of funding allocated to special educational needs provision in England.

To coincide with the start of the new financial year, the seminar will examine the lessons learned from these cases, including the consultation and equalities duties which apply to budget-setting and cuts decisions. It will also consider the scope for further challenges (both within and beyond the special educational needs context) in circumstances where local authorities find themselves under ever increasing financial pressure, with their funding from Central Government cut by 36% for 2019/20.


Monday 1st April


8.00am (registration and refreshments)
8.15 – 9.15am (seminar)


81 Chancery Lane

Add to diary  View map


  • Jenni Richards QC
  • Katherine Barnes

Key Contact:


Beth Williams

Beth Williams / 0207 832 1155


  1. Please click here
  2. State name, organisation, job title and email address of each delegate

39 Essex Chambers is accredited by the Law Society and the Bar Council to provide CPD accredited courses. This course is accredited for 1 CPD hour.

NB: This programme of speakers and talks is subject to change.

The venue has full disabled access, however, if you do have any special requirements, please contact Beth.

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

Barrister portfolio


Click the + icon next to any barrister to add their profile to this portfolio.

Barrister Call CV Email