Legal Principles and Key Points
- In the case of R Moseley v Haringey LBC  UKSC 56,it was found that local authorities ought to act in a fair manner when undertaking their duties, particularly where they have a duty to consult.
Facts of the Case
- The central government offered grants for local authorities in respect of a council tax scheme which required individuals from the poorest household to pay a large amount.
- D, the local authority, rejected the grants offered by the central government which were intended to provide support given the difficulty the above would cause.
- D failed to inform the consultees about the support provided by the central government.
- In the period of 2013-2014, the central government stated that reimbursement to local authorities would be reduced by approximately 10%, in respect of the relief from council tax.
- D sent a consultation document to 36,000 households, which failed to provide options for meeting the shortfall.
- Under Paragraph 3 of Schedule 1A to the Local Government Finance Act 1992, D had a duty to “consult such other persons as it considers are likely to have an interest in the operation of the scheme.”
- C appealed the Court of Appeal’s decision who held that the consultation process did not breach the law.
- Was D’s actions unfair when undertaking the scheme for council tax support?
- Was D obliged to share information on alternative schemes with the consultees?
Held by the Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and held that D had acted unfairly by failing to provide the consultees with sufficiently enough information with regards to the availability of relief.
Lord Wilson JSC
- His Lordship found that, although D wasn’t required to take into account each choice with equal consideration, the consultees should’ve been provided with more detail in terms of the options available given that it would come across as if D’s approach would be the only way to obtain council tax relief
- “Those whom Haringey was primarily consulting were the most economically disadvantaged of its residents. Their income was already at a basic level and the effect of Haringey’s proposed scheme would be to reduce it even below that level and thus in all likelihood to cause real hardship, while sparing its more prosperous residents from making any contribution to the shortfall in government funding. Fairness demanded that in the consultation document brief reference should be made to other ways of absorbing the shortfall and to the reasons why (unlike 58% of local authorities in England: see para 15 above) Haringey had concluded that they were unacceptable.” 
- His Lordship recognised the misleading stance of D and stated that “The consultation document presented the proposed reduction in council tax support as if it were the inevitable consequence of the Government’s funding cuts, and thereby disguised the choice made by Haringey itself. It misleadingly implied that there were no possible alternatives to that choice.”