HC Deb 06 August 1976 vol 916 cc1103-4W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations his Department made to ensure a speedy proceeding through the courts of the hearings in the case of the Tameside schools; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mulley

The Tameside situation clearly demanded speedy action, and throughout the case counsel, acting on my behalf, stressed the urgency of the position and sought the earliest possible date for each stage of the proceedings. When seeking leave in the Divisional Court on 18th June to apply for the order of mandamus, he asked for an early hearing and the case began in the court on 5th July. When the order of mandamus was granted on 12th July, the Divisional Court decided that execution of the order should be stayed for 10 days pending an appeal, on the understanding that the Court of Appeal would hear the case at an early date.

When the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the authority and refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords, I decided within 24 hours to petition the House for leave to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal. Inquiries made of the Judicial Office of the House of Lords indicated that the Appeal Committee might be prepared to hear my petition within a matter of days. In the event, the Committee heard the petition three days after the decision of the Court of Appeal, when counsel again stressed the urgency of the position. Their Lordships granted me leave to appeal on that day and heard the appeal itself on the two following days.