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22 October 2021

Publish date: 22/10/2021

I'm sure that all of LLG would join with me in expressing condolences to the family of Sir David Amess, who was killed last week when undertaking his role as MP. By all accounts he served his constituents with a commitment that has been applauded by politicians from all sides and he was also greatly liked and respected. Events such as this and that of the killing of Jo Cox are bewildering in their pointlessness and it is unfortunate that this may undermine our communities by instilling caution and reticence in those who serve the public as MP's and in other roles such as Councillors.

As we move forward from this tragedy, it is important to remember the democratic system that we support in our day-to-day work. One that protects freedoms, promotes equality and tackles social injustice. In our role as local government lawyers, we all play a part in protecting these democratic cornerstones from the ground up...

Safety in governance and public office will clearly be an important talking point over the next few weeks and will no doubt be one of the subjects for discussion the LLG Governance Conference taking place on 4 November 2021. Whilst we must avoid knee jerk reactions which impact upon the ability of our politicians to keep in touch with their constituents/residents it is important that we acknowledge the risks and seek to support our councillors to mitigate these risks.

I'm very much looking forward to the LLG Governance Conference where our focus will be on the ever-changing LA legal landscape. With in-depth analysis on the judicial review regime, divergence from European law, electoral reform, levelling up, governance, scrutiny and the role of the monitoring officer; our expert speakers will deliver a programme that senior lawyers and those aspiring to grow in their careers need to know.

I will be particularly keen to hear from Joshua Rozenberg, (Legal Commentator and Journalist) on his thoughts around the proposed judicial review reform at the conference which I will be chairing. The Judicial Review and Courts Bill is soon to have its second reading in the House of Commons following a reschedule last week due to the death of Sir Amess. The bill addresses two areas of concern for the government. The first is the flexibility of remedies that the court is able to give, which will allow courts to both suspend the effects of a quashing order and limit the retrospective effect of quashing orders. The second is the efficiency and structure of the courts system, which the government says is undermined by a particular route of judicial review. The bill will reverse the effect of the Supreme Court's 2011 judgment in the case of "Cart", which would prevent Upper Tribunal appeals being subject to judicial review.

Whether attending virtually or in person, you will receive a very warm welcome at the LLG Governance Conference and have the opportunity to network with colleagues and build stronger links to the Monitoring Officer community.

Best wishes

Quentin Baker
LLG President