Councils’ lawyers appeared in court this week to argue the government’s scrapping of schools was unlawful

A High Court challenge brought by six councils against the government over its decision to scrap 743 school building projects began this week.

Lawyers for Nottingham and Luton councils argue that education secretary Michael Gove “could not have known” the merits of what he was scrapping.

They say that officials did not suggest to him the possibility of axing all schemes that had failed to make financial close until four days before Gove made his announcement to parliament.

The decision included scrapping five schools in their areas that had full outline business case approval and had been promised BSF funding.

The councils’ legal team argues Gove acted unlawfully by not assessing their projects on a case by case basis.

>> Find out the latest government thinking on the James Review at BSEC, 23 - 24 February 2011, ExCeL London.