Is consultation binding?

The simple answer is that consultation is generally not binding.

All that is required is that the consulter conscientiously takes into account what consultees say. So even if all responses point one way, the consulter can take them into account and go the other way (provided, of course, they can identify good reasons to do so).

Sometimes, a consulter will say in advance that they will treat a particular percentage response as binding. Consultees then have a ‘legitimate expectation’ that the consulter will stick to that promise. But even, the promisor can identify overriding reasons to break their promise – so nothing is ever certain!

For more information about the requirements of consultation see this post. But also beware that consultation by governors under section 5(1) may not leave governors with any power to stop the process of conversion.

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