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Party banned from taking legal action over council decisions without leave

A High Court judge has issued an order preventing a political party from issuing legal proceedings relating to a council’s decisions without leave of a senior judge.

Mr Justice Collins made the ruling against the Communities United Party and its leader, Kamran Malik, who came third in the 2010 mayoral election in Newham behind Sir Robin Wales (Labour) and Maria Allen (Conservative).

The High Court judge took the decision voluntarily after referring to nine previous claims brought against the London Borough of Newham that had been dismissed by the courts.

Legal proceedings against the council have related to a range of decisions, including on parking charges and property licensing.

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The latest case centred on a loan the council made for the Pleasure Gardens arts and music project. 

The terms of the order mean that Malik and the CUP can only now bring proceedings relating either directly or indirectly to Newham's decisions with the leave of a senior High Court judge.

However, Malik said both he and the party would appeal Mr Justice Collins' ruling to the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights. They also plan to challenge Newham's provision of £40m as part of football club West Ham United's move to the Olympic stadium.

"All cases we have brought were genuine and legitimate," he argued.

Khyati Joshi of the CUP said the order, which is set to remain in effect until 21 May 2023, was "disproportionate". She added: "We will definitely by challenging this. Also, although Mr Justice Collins felt that the Pleasure Gardens project was property managed and financial risks were assessed, we beg to differ."

Newham, which said it has spent more than £6,000 defending the various claims, welcomed Mr Justice Collins’ ruling. 

A council spokesman it was pleased that a judge in the High Court had recognised the nuisance caused by the legal challenges.

“They have used up considerable council resources which would have been more usefully spent benefitting our residents," he added. "We hope the verdict has brought this to a close."

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