High Court Confirms Right to Inspect Local Authority Accounts


The High Court has today given judgment in R(Moss) v Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames  [2021] EWHC 1032 (Admin) , a judicial review against the council’s refusal to provide Mr Moss with copies of documents relating to the council’s financial accounts which he requested to inspect under s.26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. This is the first judgment on the public’s right of access to information under the Act, confirming that a local authority cannot refuse to provide access to documents on the basis of the time that it would take them to comply with the request for inspection [at 70] and that the range of accounts-related documents that individuals have a right to inspect is “potentially extensive” [at 68 and 70].

This is an important judgment for those seeking to scrutinise the spending of local authorities. As the Court held, the Act empowers local government electors, “the custodians of the custodian”,  to provide meaningful input into the audit of local authorities’ accounts, as is their right under s. 27 of the Act.

Mr Moss was represented by Amy Mannion of 1 Crown Office Row and William Kenyon of ITN Solicitors.

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