Cowl and Others v Plymouth City Council (2001)

The case concerned the closure of a residential care home by the local council and the residents' dissatisfaction with the decision.

Permission was sought for a Judicial Review of the council's decision making process and it was refused. The residents  appealed against this decision and the appeal heard by Lord Woolf  was dismissed.

One of the major factors influencing Lord Woolf was the residents' failure to take up the council's offer to set up a complaints review panel. He was also critical of the decision to litigate rather than mediate.

His comments are reproduced below.

"Without the need for the vast cost which must have been incurred in this case.........the parties should have been able to come to a sensible conclusion as to how to dispose of the issues which divided them. If they could not do this without help, then an independent mediator should have been recruited to assist. That would have been a far cheaper course to adopt. Today, sufficient should be known about ADR to make the failure to adopt it, in particular where public money is involved, indefensible."


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