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An Olympic Legacy for Leyton Orient?

Friday, 13 December 2013

In September, the High Court ruled against allowing Leyton Orient’s application for judicial review into the London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLDC) decision to grant West Ham United use of the Olympic Stadium.

A judicial review is a court proceeding where the judge considers the lawfulness of a public body’s decisions. In this case Leyton Orient had applied to have the LLDC’s competitive bidding process for the Olympic Stadium reviewed.

What Were LLDC’s Grounds for Rejecting Leyton Orient’s Bid?

The LLDC had originally rejected Leyton Orient’s bid for sharing the Olympic Stadium on cost grounds, on the basis that the proposed arrangement was financially unviable.

Leyton Orient argued in the High Court, on the 19th September 2013, that the process for consideration of bids had been unfair as the LLDC had rejected their bid to share the stadium with West Ham far too early.

Leyton Orient also claimed that their bid for a ground-sharing arrangement with West Ham had not been considered properly because the LLDC’s decision-making process revolved only around issues of finance.

Leyton Orient’s Position Following the Bid Ruling

After the ruling, Leyton Orient claimed that the “local community” would not be served best by simply delivering a “new brand to West Ham United”. The club went on to state that it will have to look to the “House of Lords to find a common sense solution for the Olympic Legacy”.

However, as emerged in court, the annual operational costs of the stadium had been estimated to be £1.5m a year. As such, West Ham United’s proposal to pay £2m in rent per year left Leyton Orient’s proposal to pay £500,000 (albeit rising to £1m if they reached the Championship and £5m if they reached the Premiership) seeming less financially certain and viable.

Judicial Review of the LLDC Decision

Mr Justice Lewis, in his judgement, made clear that the LLDC’s method of considering bids was “logical”, and that the decisions made were “rational”. It referred to the financial basis of LLDC’s decision – specifically the revenue the ground-sharing proposal would generate compared to the revenue West Ham United occupying the stadium alone would bring in.

Mr Justice Lewis agreed with the LLDC that the corporation had run a fair and open competitive bidding process and, therefore, that there were no grounds for judicial review. He went on to reject explicitly Leyton Orient’s case, stating that the club did not have an “arguable” case.

Leyton Orient were refused leave to appeal to the High Court, their application for judicial review being thrown out. Despite this, the club could still take the case to the Court of Appeal.

For more information about this case contact Peter Gourri today by email or telephone 0207 611 4848.

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