Make sure that you have not missed a key development in your area of the law by reading our In brief review of the latest Practical Law Public Sector email.
Care Act 2014:
- The Care Act (Commencement No 4) Order 2015 has been made, bringing into force various provisions of the Care Act 2014.
- The Care Act (Transitional Provision) Order 2015 has been made and came into force on 1 April 2015.
- BIS has published the government’s response to the October 2014 consultation on options for embedding joint working between economic regulators. The government has decided to support the current voluntary arrangements for co-operation between regulators in the context of the UK Regulators Network.
- The Court of Appeal has considered a challenge to a lower court’s findings of fact, allowing an appeal and ordering a retrial, because the lower court’s judgment comprised “a series of unreasoned conclusions with no explanation as to how they were reached.” (Weymont and another v Place).
- The High Court has granted an adjournment of a medical negligence trial because of the inability of one of the claimant’s experts to give evidence because of a concern that he would not be able to concentrate owing to media interest (Duffy v Secretary of State for Health).
- The Commercial Court has dismissed an application to amend particulars of claim at a late stage under CPR 17. The court also struck out the original claim (as the claimant conceded that her original claim was unsustainable) and entered summary judgment on the defendant’s counterclaim (Su-Ling v Goldman Sachs International).
- The judiciary has published Practice Direction on Committal for Contempt of Court – Open Court, which applies to all proceedings for committal for contempt of court.
- The MoJ has:
- published its fifth annual report on the implementation of the Law Commission’s proposals covering the period from 12 January 2014 to 11 January 2015; and
- provided a written response to Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, concerning the recent increases to court fees that came into force on 9 March 2015.
- The Association of Costs Lawyers has launched an alternative dispute resolution service for costs disputes.
- The Building Regulations &c (Amendment) Regulations 2015 have been laid before Parliament. The majority of the regulations will come into force on 1 October 2015, with partial commencement in April and December 2015. Among other things, the Regulations introduce optional requirements that a local authority can include as a condition of granting planning permission.
- The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 6 April 2015.
- The Joint Contracts Tribunal has published amendment sheets addressing the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
Education and social services:
- The School Staffing (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 29 June 2015.
- The Special Educational Needs (Code of Practice) (Appointed Day) Order 2015 has been made and brings into force the revised Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years on 1 April 2015.
- The Supreme Court has confirmed that the general rules regarding costs in children cases apply to appeals as they do for first instance hearings. The judgment reiterates that parties (publicly funded or otherwise) should be treated equally (Re S (a child)).
- Ofcom has issued new guidance to broadcasters to ensure they protect the welfare of children taking part in television and radio programmes.
- The government has published its response to the consultation on changes to Working together to safeguard children 2013 statutory guidance. Proposed changes relate to the co-ordination of referrals, the qualifications and expertise of staff required to manage allegations and the definition of serious harm and long-term impairment.
- The MoJ has announced that the government would create a new legal status of guardian of the property and affairs of a missing person. The MOJ also published the responses to its consultation on the proposed new status.
- Following consultation, the Office of the Public Guardian is to amend the current lasting powers of attorney forms to make them easier to use.
Employment and pensions:
- The Court of Appeal has upheld a tribunal’s decision that it was not necessary to imply a contract between an agency worker who had been blacklisted and the end-user to whom his services had been provided (Smith v Carillion (JM) Ltd and another).
- The EAT has:
- overturned a tribunal decision and granted a permanent restricted reporting order in respect of an individual respondent and a third party who were the subject of allegations regarding their sexual activities (EF and another v AB (Debarred) and others);
- allowed an appeal against a finding that an employee with Type 2 diabetes was disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 (Metroline Travel Ltd v Stoute); and
- held that the 10% Simmons uplift only applies to civil claims and was not intended to apply to discrimination awards for injury to feelings or personal injury in the employment tribunal (Pereira de Souza v Vinci Construction UK Ltd).
- An employment tribunal has held that it is necessary to add words to the Working Time Regulations 1998 to give effect to the Working Time Directive (Lock and others v British Gas Trading Ltd and another).
- The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court decision that a member of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) whose employment was transferred to a private contractor should have been offered the chance to retain a reduced normal pension age of 55 and a favourable accrual basis that were available in the PCSPS to active members, even though her pensionable service had ceased and her new employer did not participate in the PCSPS (Cabinet Office v Annette Ellis).
- A number of amendments to pensions and tax legislation are coming into effect on or around 6 April 2015, and several pieces of secondary legislation are putting in place consequential changes to existing legislation to reflect the reforms.
- The Finance Bill 2015 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and is now known as the Finance Act 2015. The Act contains measures of interest to environmental practitioners.
- Two Orders that prevent local authorities and best value authorities in England from charging residents for the disposal of household waste in a household waste recycling centre have been made. The Local Government (Prohibition of Charges at Household Waste Recycling Centres) (England) Order 2015 will come into force on 6 April 2015, and the Local Authorities (Prohibition of Charging Residents to Deposit Household Waste) Order 2015 will come into force on 23 April 2015.
- The Landfill Tax (Qualifying Fines) Order 2015 has been made and came into force on 1 April 2015.
- The Landfill Tax (Amendment) Regulations 2015 have been made and came into force on 1 April 2015.
- The Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) Order 2015 has been made and will mostly come into force in England on 5 October 2015. It will cease to have effect in October 2022.
- The Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal Facilities) Order 2015 has been made and came into force in England only on 27 March 2015. It creates a new category of nationally significant infrastructure project for the geological disposal facility for radioactive waste.
FOI and data protection:
- The Supreme Court has held that the government’s certificate vetoing the Upper Tribunal’s order to publish 27 letters between HRH the Prince of Wales and several government departments was invalid. The letters should therefore be published under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (R (Evans) and another v Attorney General).
- The Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Right to Move) (England) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 20 April 2015. Statutory guidance on social housing allocations for local housing authorities in England has also been published.
- The Selective Licensing of Houses (Additional Conditions) (England) Order 2015 has been made and came into force on 27 March 2015.
- The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2015 have been laid and will come into force on 27 April 2015.
- The High Court has:
- granted interim relief following a decision by a local authority not to exercise its discretion under section 204(4) of the Housing Act 1996 to provide housing to a person pending her appeal to the Supreme Court (R (N) v Westminster City Council); and
- dismissed a claim for judicial review, after the appellant sought to review a decision by Oxford City Council to refuse him public housing on the grounds that he lacked capacity to apply for homeless assistance under the Housing Act 1996 (R (MT (by his litigation friend GT)) V Oxford City Council).
- The DCLG has issued its response to the consultation on proposals to streamline the resale of shared ownership properties.
- The Deregulation Bill 2014-15 has received Royal Assent to become the Deregulation Act 2015. The Act contains various provisions of interest to public sector lawyers, including reducing the qualifying period for right to buy tenants, repealing legislation relating to joint waste authorities and local area agreements, and reducing some burdens on schools, including enabling governing bodies to set term dates.
- The Local Government (Review of Decisions) Bill 2014-15 has received Royal Assent to become the Local Government (Review of Decisions) Act 2015. It will come into force on 25 May 2015.
- The Health and Safety (Safety and Quality) Bill 2014-15 has received Royal Assent to become the Health and Safety (Safety and Quality) Act 2015. The Act contains various measures intended to improve the safety and quality of health services and social care.
- The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (Commencement No 7, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2015 has been made. The Order commences the majority of the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 that have not yet been commenced.
- The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 11 May 2015.
- The DCLG has launched consultations on:
Property and planning:
- The Control of Horses Bill 2014-15 has received Royal Assent to become the Control of Horses Act 2015. It amends the Animals Act 1971 to give local authorities, freeholders and occupiers of land in England the power to deal more efficiently with fly-grazing horses.
- Two Orders revising and consolidating the existing law on permitted development rights have been made and will come into force on 15 April 2015.
- The Infrastructure Planning (Changes to, and Revocation of, Development Consent Orders) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 14 July 2015.
- The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 15 April 2015.
- The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2015 has been published and will come into force on 15 April 2015.
- Draft regulations to establish Flood Re have been laid before Parliament. They supplement the Flood Re Scheme Document signed on 16 March 2015. If adopted by Parliament, Flood Re will start operating on 1 April 2016.
- The High Court has held that a commons registration authority had been correct to refuse an application by the claimant farmers to register rights of common (R (Littlejohns) v Devon County Council and another).
- The DCLG has:
- announced changes to the Planning Practice Guidance. The changes include new guidance in relation to planning obligations;
- published two new planning directions on heritage applications and on conservation areas, both of which come into force on 15 April 2015; and
- published a summary of available powers to tackle unauthorised encampments, together with a ministerial letter.
- The government has published updated plans to protect land required for the new proposed route for the Crossrail 2 project from conflicting development.
- The ECJ has handed down a ruling on a reference from a Portuguese court on questions relating to the use in a procurement procedure of contract award criteria relating to the qualifications of the staff who will perform the contract (Ambisig v Nersant).
- The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a claimant against a High Court judgment that dismissed its challenge against HM Treasury’s decision that the government’s new tax free childcare scheme will be administered by National Savings and Investments via a private company (Edenred (UK Group) Ltd v HM Treasury and others).
- The High Court has handed down a judgment in which it considers the rules relating to the service of claim forms in actions brought under the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (Heron Bros Ltd v Central Bedfordshire Council).
- The Cabinet Office has published:
- a Procurement Policy Note (04/15) which sets out government policy to ensure that suppliers’ past performance is taken into account by contracting authorities;
- four Procurement Policy Notes to provide advice to public sector procurers on various government policies on the conduct of procurement procedures; and
- four further guidance documents on aspects of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
Regulation and enforcement:
- The Consumer Rights Bill has received Royal Assent, and is now known as the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
- The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Fines on Summary Conviction) Regulations 2015 have been made and came into force on 12 March 2015.
- The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (Criminal Courts Charge) Regulations 2015 have been laid providing further detail on the charge and will come into force on 13 April 2015.
- The Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rating (Powers of Entry: Safeguards) (England) Order 2015 has been made and will come into force on 1 October 2015.