‘Legality’ is problematic here, as we have only pre-epidemic case-law to go on, and it may be that courts will look less stringently on consultations conducted under complicated circumstances. The trouble is, we won’t know until a test case is brought. The issues could be around access and equality. Nearly all of the steps of a consultation are ‘technically’ possible without being in the same room as people (pre-engagement, options development, options appraisal, consultation can all be done either online, by e-mail, by telephone or by post), but the challenge is likely to come from the equalities quadrant. We know from case law that courts frown on single dialogue methods, and simply shifting everything to a virtual platform may seem like an easy solution, but it excludes those who have no access to it. Continuing (particularly if they are in the final phases) is probably less problematic than starting.
Last updated byAnonymous on March 30, 2020
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