1. We are writing again to those of you who have received earlier communications from us, and to
others who may be interested.
2. Sandy Muir, as most will know, is seeking to persuade the Court of Appeal not to overturn the
judgment of the High Court last summer that Wandsworth Borough Council acted unlawfully in
offering a lease for the use of Neal’s Lodge as a private fee-paying nursery. Such use would
effectively restrict its availability to all but the more privileged local residents.
3. Legal proceedings of this nature can be costly and protracted. Wandsworth Council applied for
permission last August to appeal the High Court’s judgment on three grounds.
4. Permission to appeal the judgment on two grounds was granted in November. Permission on the
third ground, which was entirely new, was withheld.
5. With a view to minimising his financial exposure, Sandy applied to the Bar Pro Bono Unit for
support from a barrister acting on a pro bono basis. The unit approved the application and Victoria
Wakefield of Brick Court Chambers volunteered to represent Sandy at the Court of Appeal. This has
significantly reduced the costs of defending the High Court judgement.
6. The Council’s ‘skeleton argument’ was filed with the Court of Appeal on 5th December. Victoria
delivered Sandy’s response on 21st December.
7. Sandy has also applied for a Protective Cost Order – which should further reduce costs. The
Council has asked that the Court defer a decision on the PCO, pending further representations. A
decision is unlikely before February. The appeal hearing itself is likely to be scheduled between April
8. Sandy has asked that we pass on his thanks to all those who have generously pledged financial
support if it is required. He is very grateful and has been hugely encouraged by these pledges.
9. The pro bono representation of Sandy’s case will be very helpful in reducing costs. But the
Council has large pockets: it is evidently determined to reverse the High Court’s judgment,
regardless of the negative impacts on the Common and for local residents, and the potential
implications for the use of open spaces owned by local authorities elsewhere.
10. If the judgment is upheld, however, it could prove a ‘landmark’ judgment, given those wider
implications. We will continue to seek assistance, in whatever form it can be given, in mounting a
strong defence of what we believe was a sound judgment by the High Court.
11. We shall keep you informed of further developments and very much appreciate your support. If
you have any questions, wish to make a new pledge, or increase an existing one, please let us know.
You can also write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With best wishes for a Happy New Year,
George Meakin David Kirk
Chair, Wandsworth Common Management Advisory Committee Chair, Wandsworth Society
See previous article:Wandsworth: Legal Judgement On Ownership and Disposal