A message from David AttfieldAgreement has finally been reached with Barnet Council for the payment of my legal costs - nearly 18 months after the High Court ruled in my favour and declared Barnet Council's parking charges unlawful.
Barnet Council will be paying £155,000 for my legal costs. The good news is that this allows us to keep the promise we made at the start of the campaign - that we would aim to return larger donations at least in part. In the New Year we will be contacting donors to outline the arrangements for returning money to them.
It gives me no pleasure that, at a time when Council finances are stretched and services are under threat, the Council has senselessly incurred such a large liability. I say "senselessly" because:
- The case was won on exactly the basis that I had outlined to the Council at the very start. The Council had their eyes wide open.
- At the start of the claim, I offered to limit my legal costs to £15,000 if the Council agreed likewise. Their rejection of this offer meant that I was liable to tens of thousands of pounds in legals costs were I to lose. To protect me, I had to take out legal costs insurance, which was only available if I engaged independent solicitors and barristers. This was the only way left for me to bring the claim - but as the Council would have known, it was a very expensive way. If the Council had accepted my offer, £140,000 of public money would have been saved.
A Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all of our many supporters.