We advise clients by telephone and by email, by letter and (if it suits them) at our office here in Norfolk.

The Council is a Creature of Statute

Because Parish and Town Councils are 'creatures of statute', they can only do what Parliament allows. The Auditors are always there, counting and checking, and the expansion of Judicial Review has added Judges to the list of those peering (albeit metaphorically) constantly over our shoulders.

The 2000 Act Power of Well-being" (now in force in Wales) and the Localism Act General Power of Competence (now in force in England) have removed most of the worry about acting 'ultra vires' (beyond the Council's powers) for those Councils which manage to jump all of the statutory hurdles enabling them to use the well-being or general power - but, so far, not very many do qualify.

Our advice to Parish and Town Councils is always to start from 'What would we like to do' and only then to progress to 'Have we got the power to do that?'

We have advised several unfortunate Councils who have had the Auditor or an irate citizen claiming that the Council's decision was illegal. In every case, it is a problem that needs resolving; either we must persuade the objector that we were in the right all along, or we must persuade the current members of the Council that their predecessors have left them in a mess and that it is up to the current councillors to sort it all out.