Talking Point

Today Barry Hearn and Leyton Orient will be returning to the High Court to seek a Judicial Review of the LLDC tender process for the Olympic stadium.

It is the second time that Orient have been involved in judicial review proceedings in relation to the Olympic Stadium. Their first legal challenge in 2011 initiated a series of events which ultimately led to the process being abandoned, and a new tender process commencing.

The new judicial review application is a claim relating to that new bid process.

In April this year Leyton Orient submitted a written application for a judicial review to the high court into the bid process but was rejected.

This time Barry hopes a oral hearing debating the issues surrounding the Stadium will allow the review to be granted

The Background to the challenge

All bidders were required to consent to ‘teaming’ when submitting their bids as the LLDC planned to team as many bidders as the event calendars would allow. The purpose of this requirement was to ensure maximum use of the stadium and return to the tax payer.

West Ham agreed to this teaming clause in their bid.

Leyton Orient claim that the LLDC’s decision has left West Ham as the only potential tenant and should of considered teaming with Leyton Orient.

What is a Judicial Review?

A Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.
In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.

It is not concerned with the conclusions of that process and whether those were ‘right’, as long as the right procedures have been followed. The court will not substitute what it thinks is the ‘correct’ decision.

This may mean that the public body will be able to make the same decision again, so long as it does so in a lawful way.

So the judge could make the LLDC review its decision process again but it cannot force the LLDC to make West Ham and Leyton Orient share the stadium.

I have no problem with Leyton Orient as a club and even less problem with the Leyton Orient fans who support their local team through thick and thin but I do have a problem with Barry Hearn. He is like a bad loser who refuses to give in gracefully. I also think it is insulting to suggest Orient fans will switch alliances to West Ham just because we move into the Olympic stadium.

My own personal view is this latest attempt for a judicial review will also be rejected as was the case with the written submission in April but I am sure that is not the last we have heard of Barry.

In what appears to be separate orchestrated campaign, a group of Leyton Orient fans have launched their own bid to prevent West Ham moving into the Olympic Stadium.
The supporters make the claim the move breaks league rules blocking one club moving too close to another. They have contacted football clubs up and down the country in an attempt to get as many supporters as possible behind a campaign.

They have created an online petition which has been signed by over 500 people.

Their Group leader, Mat Roper, an Orient fan for 35 years, says: “We want to highlight how unfair this whole affair is”

I understand that Matt Roper is the brother of Daniel Roper who is the official Leyton Orient club mascot but I am sure that is just a coincidence.

4pm UPDATE

Leyton Orient lose right to Judicial review. At the High Court, Mr Justice Lewis said the LLDC was entitled to make the decision which was not “irrational”.

LLDC statement:

“We welcome the ruling and are pleased that Mr Justice Lewis agrees that we ran a fair, open and transparent competition to appoint concessionaires for the stadium.We believe the agreement we have with West Ham United Football Club and UK Athletics will deliver a fantastic sporting and community legacy in east London and represents the best deal for the taxpayer.”

WHUFC.com Statement:

“West Ham United welcome the decision to not grant permission for a judicial review into the LLDC’s process that awarded the Club the opportunity to make the Olympic Stadium its home in 2016.Although the application for a judicial review would not have had any impact on West Ham United’s move to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Club have always believed the process was robust, fair and transparent. The Club and other key stakeholders in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park can now focus fully on progressing their groundbreaking plans to create a stunning venue of which the whole country can be proud, alongside a long-lasting and tangible Olympic legacy with a real community club at its core.”

Leyton Orient Statement:

Karren Brady told the House of Lords only a few weeks ago that West Ham United had no objection to a ground share with Leyton Orient, but West Ham United’s barrister today claimed that to ground share would adversely affect the club because the Olympic Stadium is “part of the brand”.

Our real concern is the lack of transparency that has been shown throughout the process by a public body. It is deeply disappointing that both the Court and the LLDC have made decisions based only on financial considerations, when the purpose of the Stadium’s legacy was regeneration of the area with a community focus.

We believe that the LLDC exercised its discretion to favour West Ham United, no doubt under pressure from West Ham United to make them sole football tenants for the benefit of their “brand”. Delivering a new brand to West Ham United was not the intended purpose of the Olympic Stadium, and we now have to look to the House of Lords to find a common sense solution for Olympic legacy and local community.

Sky Sports News Report on the judgement

If you haven’t seen it yet here is Karren Brady and Barry Hearn in front of the House of Lords select committee in July. I am sure we can expect more pantomime from Barry at the high court today.


Barry Hearn at the Select Committee


Karren Brady at the select committee