Trustees 'may have breached legal duties' over Garden Bridge

 

The trustees of the Garden Bridge Trust may have broken charity law in their management of the failed project, a legal expert has said.

The Architects’ Journal reported that in the opinion of Jason Coppel QC, an expert in public and procurement law, the trustees, who include Joanna Lumley, had breached their legal duties to act with reasonable skill and care.

”Local
The Garden Bridge: a fantasy that never never materialised

In an 11-page legal opinion that the Architects’ Journal said it had seen, Mr Coppel said it was ‘likely’ that the trustees breached these duties ‘in particular in relation to the conclusion of the construction contract with Bouygues’.

Although trustees of a charity can become personally liable, Mr Coppel argued that legal action against the trustees of the Garden Bridge Trust could be problematic, partly because its beneficiaries were identified as ‘members of the public at large’.

‘The principal difficulty is that any potential claimant would not have suffered any loss as a result of the trustees’ actions,’ he wrote.

The publication said that the party who commissioned Mr Coppel's opinion, who wants to remain anonymous, had asked him to advise on a potential claim against the trustees following the cancellation of the project last year. It said this had resulted in the loss of an estimated £46m of public money.

Mr Coppel noted that while a ‘substantial proportion’ of the criticism directed against the Garden Bridge concerned Transport for London’s procurement of Heatherwick Studio and Arup, ‘there were […] a number of matters which have been laid at the door of the trust, in particular the decision to enter into a construction contract with the Bouygues-TP Cimolai joint venture […] at a time when the trust had neither secured all of the necessary funding for the project nor the necessary rights to use the land which would be required for the project'.

He cited a report last year by Dame Margaret Hodge – which also criticised the signing of the construction contract – and said he was unconvinced by a report on the Trust published by the Charity Commission last year, which largely backed the trustees’ actions.

‘Like [Hodge], I do not regard the conclusions of the Commission as providing a sufficient answer to an allegation of breach of the equitable duty of care, not least in the light of events which subsequently ensued,’ the Architects' Journal reported Mr Coppel as writing.

 

Also see

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
transport network jobs

Engineer Maintenance

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
Liverpool City Council are looking to recruit an Engineer Maintenance Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Tree Services Programme Manager

Nottingham City Council
£37,107
You will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the Council's trees and woods, and will provide professional advice to others Woodthorpe, Nottingham
Recuriter: Nottingham City Council

Transport Coordinator

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 to £37,670
We have an exciting opportunity for 2 highly customer focused Transport Coordinators to work in the busy Camden Transport Team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Highway Electrical Supervisor (Highway Maintenance)

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,657 to £28,221
The post will support two Senior Lighting Engineers in leading and contributing to the delivery of the Street Lighting function for the Authority Bootle, Merseyside
Recuriter: Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council

Flood Risk Management Engineer

London Borough of Bexley
£31,353 to £36,876
We are currently seeking a Flood Risk Management Engineer who will have a lead role with the Flood Risk and Development Team Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal Improvements)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal improvement projects. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal System and Operations)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal systems and operations. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Engineer (Traffic Signals)

Lincolnshire County Council
£42,806 - £49,441
Do you want to lead, manage and motivate a team of engineers working at the cutting edge of technology? Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Nuisance Control Officer

Brent Council
£38,040 - £40,086 p.a. inc. + £4,800 shift allowance p.a.
Salary range
Recuriter: Brent Council

Rights of Way Search Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£7,188 - £7,327 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in maintaining, developing and promoting the Definitive Map for Bridgend Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Countryside Access Maintenance Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£12,644 - £13,015 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in ensuring that the local rights of way network is protected, well maintained and enjoyed... Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Principal Transport Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£37,320 to £40,198
The role will require close dialogue with developers and their agents and necessitate strong partnership working with District Councils... Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Project Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £33,136
Are you a qualified Highways Project Engineer? Would you like to work in the famous James Herriot area of natural beauty? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Officer Highways and Transport

North Yorkshire County Council
£28,2281 p.a.
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Regional Strategy Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
Band 15 – up to £41,846
Are you an experienced Transport Planner? Do you have exceptional communication skills to build relationships within teams? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Area Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £53,113 p.a. winter allowance plus 10% one off additional payment for exceptional candidates
Four Area Highway Managers roles available York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Transport Planning Officer – Major Development Applications

Somerset County Council
£33,136 to £37,107
We have a fantastic opportunity in Somerset within our Highways Development Management team. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Communications Manager - North London Heat & Power Project

Camden London Borough Council
£40,028 to £46,431
We have an exciting new opportunity for an enthusiastic and talented individual to join us and be part of a team... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Commissioner for Passenger Transport Services

Somerset County Council
£45,216 per annum
You will be responsible for the development of long-term policy, strategy, plans and programmes for passenger transport Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Technician(s) / Assistant Engineer

Darlington Borough Council
£16,755 - £29,909 Annually
As part of a team you will be involved in the management and improvement of the highway network Darlington, Durham
Recuriter: Darlington Borough Council