A Councillor who had issued Judicial Review proceedings against East Staffordshire Borough Council has withdrawn his claim shortly before it was due to be heard by the court and agreed to pay a substantial contribution towards the Council’s costs.
The Council’s Standards Committee had previously found Councillor Andrew Riley to have breached the Council’s Code of Conduct by disclosing confidential information. However, the Standards Committee decided not to impose any sanction and, unusually, agreed not to publicise its findings for Councillor Riley’s benefit due to the particular circumstances. Nevertheless, Councillor Riley sought to challenge the decision. This brought the issue out into the public.
Councillor Riley claimed that the information he disclosed was not confidential, that the decision interfered with his right to freedom of expression and that the Standards Committee was not politically neutral and was not an independent and impartial tribunal, in breach of the Human Rights Act. He also asked the court to make a declaration that this part of the Localism Act 2011 was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Council and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government strenuously defended these claims.
A few days before the court was due to hear the case, Councillor Riley has withdrawn the proceedings and agreed to pay a significant contribution towards the Council’s costs.