(This is intended to be a brief summary to help our members understand what is going on. It is not exhaustive and for that reason should not be relied upon. The Sky Blue Trust can take no responsibility for any action taken based on these details.)

The parties involved

Claimants: Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Limited, ARVO Master Fund Limited. Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Limited (now dissolved)

Defendants: Coventry City Council

Interested Parties: Arena Coventry Limited, Alan Edward Higgs Charity

The Grounds for the Judicial Review – in brief

That the Coventry City Council decision taken to repay the mortgage at Arena Coventry Limited and to act as lenders
constituted State Aid and was not properly notified to the EU Commission

  • was improper use in trying to force sale of Club to new owners at low value
  • was outside its statutory powers
  • was not a reasonable investment decision

The Hearing 10th June 2014

Will take place in Birmingham before Justice Hickinbottom and expected to take 3 days

It will only consider the process by which the loan was approved and the legal basis for the decision to do that based on the evidence available at the time. It is not a far reaching enquiry into events at Coventry City Football Club.

No witnesses are expected to speak only the barristers will. All parties can be expected to attend however

The judge will focus on the written witness statements and other documents and on legal arguments presented by the barristers

The Judge has been provided “skeleton arguments” and documents from both sides some weeks before the hearing and will have pre-read these

The Judge may make a decision at the end of the hearing but it is more usual for the Judge to go away a produce a detailed written judgement

The Judge will have to decide if the Coventry City Council acted unlawfully and if so what actions they must take to put it right. If the judgement is the Council decision cannot stand the Judge will not normally step in and make the new decision in place of the public authority, but he may tell them to go away and reach a new decision. That new decision could result in exactly the same situation however or mean the decision must be undone.


Either party can appeal against the decision and have 21 days after the Judge’s decision to do so. If an appeal is to be made the application is made to the Court of Appeal. If the application to appeal is refused that is the end of the matter. However the Court of Appeal must refer points of European law that do not have a reasonably obvious interpretation to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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