A PUBLIC interest lawyer has advised that the Vale Council should expect more legal challenges ahead of a conference for library campaigners fighting spending cutbacks.

Michael Imperato of Watkins & Gunn Solicitors said the authority will experience more challenges, this year, ahead of a major conference in Cardiff for campaign groups.

Mr Imperato, who successfully advised the Rhydyfelin Library Support Group in their case against Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, will be speaking at the Public Law conference at the Hilton Hotel on January, 23 which is expected to attract a number of local library campaign groups fighting local closures.

Public spending cuts have seen libraries, schools, hospitals and other publicly owned venues earmarked for closure across the country.

Vale council cuts will result in the downgrading of library services in the area, including the use of volunteer librarians in Rhoose and Dinas Powys.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, last year, decided to reopen Rhydyfelin library after the local campaign group were successful in securing a judicial review.

Michael Imperato said: “This is a very significant conference at a crucial time in Wales as local authorities have to have their budgets in place for the start of April.

“With budgets slashed, local authorities have to pass on these cuts which is why so many of our schools, hospitals and libraries are at risk of closure.

“If you live in Cardiff or the Vale of Glamorgan, you will be losing half your libraries this year and most non statutory children play centres and that’s just for starters.

“Not many people realise that you can challenge a local authority or government’s decision in courts through a Judicial Review case but they are an extremely important way of holding a public body to account.

“The reason why a lot of the cuts can be challenged is that the consultations run by local authorities are not adequately carried out and therefore deemed to be illegal.

“There have been many successful challenges to closures against councils across the UK and we hope this conference will help campaigners in their efforts.”

Watkins & Gunn Solicitors has teamed with Thirty Park Place barrister chambers, the largest barrister’s chambers in Wales, to host the Public Law conference, which will cover an update of Judicial Review cases in 2014, consultations, who has standing and what constitutes a public body?

Those interested in attending should email events@30parkplace.co.uk