The High Court has ruled that a judicial review must be carried out against Surrey County Council over their plans to hand 10 libraries over to volunteers.

After a four and a half hour hearing on Friday, January 2, Judge Thornton QC concluded that the case, brought to the court by campaigners SLAM (Surrey Libraries Action Movement), had sufficient prospect of success.

An injunction is now in place, pending the completion of a judicial review, ordering that the council should ‘take no irrevocable steps towards implementing the Community Partnered Libraries (CPLs) decision impugned in these proceedings until further order of this court’.

Byfleet library, which was due to open on Saturday, is the only library which will continue with its volunteer led plans under the court ruling while the remaining nine libraries will be subject to a judicial review due to start on February 20.

Following the review full time professional staff could still be returned to Byfleet. Speaking after the decision SLAM said: "We are very pleased with yesterday’s outcome and were heartened by the Judge’s comments that SLAM has shown a considerable commitment and dedication to the library service, and has shown significant resilience in coping with the hard work and stress necessary to bring to the Court’s attention this "potential abuse of power" by Surrey County Council."

Surrey County Council have said they are ‘disappointed’ with the decision and their intention is to keep Surrey’s 52 libraries open and provide greater resources.

Denise Saliagopoulos, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for community services and the 2012 Games, said: "It’s important to say that the court has not passed judgement on our plans. This is just an order halting the process ahead of a hearing to look into our proposals.

"From the start we’ve been determined to try and keep all 52 of Surrey’s libraries open while branches are closing elsewhere in the country. The good news is that volunteers at Byfleet can go ahead with their plans, but overall we’re disappointed by the court’s decisions.

"It is a particular shame for those volunteers who were looking forward to launching their own community-run libraries."

Over the last six months volunteers have been scrambled at each of the affected libraries in hopes of keeping their library open.

But as doubt hangs over their future, Residents Association Councillor Mike Teasdale and trustee of Stoneleigh Library believes libraries may never return to ‘the status quo’ regardless of the court’s decision.

He said: "We believe that one way or another Surrey County Council will not be going to go back to the status quo and the library will be affected one way or another.

"The only way it can continue to be open and available to the community is for volunteers to keep it going with some help from the council."