Oxfordshire County Council could face a challenge in the High Court over plans to cut funding for youth services and libraries.
Solicitor and county councillor Richard Stevens, who represents Oxford’s Leys and Lye ward, believes the scale of cuts proposed by the council could cause services to fall beneath the minimum levels required in law.
The Labour councillor believes campaigners opposed to the cuts could claim the reduction in services are illegal at a judicial review.
He said: “I am concerned that the legal implications of the Conservatives’ proposals have not been fully thought through.
“The law says that we must provide a ‘comprehensive’ library service and it’s difficult to see how what’s being proposed is comprehensive.
“The Tory administration urgently needs to explain in detail how its proposals on libraries and youth services will be legally compliant. Otherwise there is a risk that they will expose the council to legal challenge.”
The county council has proposed withdrawing funding for 21 youth centres, restructuring the service around seven hubs offering ‘early intervention’ over truancy, unemployment, teenage pregnancy, drug use and anti-social behaviour.
The measures would save £4.2m by 2015.
The Conservative-run council also wants to withdraw funding from 20 libraries, saving a further £2m over four years.
Council leader Keith Mitchell has said he wants community groups to step forward to save services, but campaigners against the library cuts say little information has been made available about how to do that.
The Education Act states that local authorities must provide “sufficient” educational and recreational leisure activities for all 13- to 19-year-olds.
The Public Libraries and Museums Act says they must also provide “a comprehensive and efficient library service” for everybody wanting to use it.
Mr Stevens said campaigners could argue that on an estate like Blackbird Leys, one of the biggest in Europe, withdrawing funding for the library could break the law.
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “The council has sought legal advice on its budget setting and business strategy.
“There continues to be consultation with legal services on all aspects of the council’s procedures in respect of its proposed redesign of services.
“The council will be adhering to its statutory responsibilities at every stage throughout this proposed process.
“It should be pointed out that the funding issue for local councils is a national one.
“Many councils across the nation are proposing to cease funding libraries and youth centres. As such any potential legal issues would not be unique to Oxfordshire.”
He said it would be “unlikely” libraries would close before December, even if the council approved the funding cuts next month.