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 Local Government email.
Adult social services:
- The High Court has rejected a judicial review claim against a council’s decision to reduce a claimant’s personal budget from £1651 per week to £950 per week (R (Davey) v Oxfordshire County Council).
- The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has confirmed that while the government remains committed to replacing the Human Rights Act 1998 with a British Bill of Rights, that legislative development is on hold.
- The High Court has:
- held that a council did not have a good reason to depart from statutory guidance issued under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 relating to an unaccompanied young person (S v London Borough of Croydon and another);
- given guidance on how claims for damages under section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998 should be brought when there are ongoing care proceedings (H (A Minor) v Northamptonshire County Council and another); and
- found that the court had jurisdiction to make two British children, who had been living in North Cyprus since 2012, wards of court and ordered their return to the UK without notice to the mother on the grounds of their British nationality (Re K and D (Wardship without notice return order)).
- The Family Court has confirmed that the amount awarded for damages for a Human Rights Act 1998 claim against a local authority should not be significantly increased to avoid the effect of the legal aid statutory charge (Re CZ (Human Rights Claim: Costs)).
- The Prisons and Courts Bill 2017 has been presented to the House of Commons and given its first reading.
- The High Court has held that, when assessing costs on the standard basis, the costs judge should not depart from the receiving party’s last approved budget unless satisfied that there is good reason to do so. This applies even where the receiving party claims a sum equal to or less than the budgeted figures (Merrix v Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust).
- Coulson J has issued guidance about when parties should lodge their skeleton arguments for interim application hearings in the Technology and Construction Court.
- The Law Society has published a practice note on legal professional privilege (LPP) that seeks to clarify the status of LPP, explore recent concerns about how the right has been asserted, summarise practitioners’ duties and clarify the main principles of LPP.
Employment and pensions:
- The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2017 has been laid before Parliament and will revise compensation limits for certain tribunal awards and other statutory payments from 6 April 2017.
- The draft Prescribed Persons (Reports on Disclosures of Information) Regulations 2017 have been published and are due to come into force on 1 April 2017.
- The government has published its response to a consultation on reforming the employment tribunal system.
- The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman has dismissed a complaint by a member whose employment was terminated while she was receiving sick pay and who was later awarded only an early pension from deferred status. An occupational health doctor had previously recommended reasonable adjustments to facilitate her return to work, but the member had said she would prefer to be made redundant (Determination in a complaint by Dr G).
- The Environmental Audit Committee has published a report which sets out its recommendations on Heathrow Airport expansion. It concludes that the UK government is still not doing enough to demonstrate that it can mitigate the environmental impacts of the planned new runway at Heathrow.
FOI and data protection:
- The Home Office has published five draft Codes of Practice for consultation. They set out the processes and safeguards governing the use of investigatory powers, and provide detail on how the relevant powers should be used, including examples of best practice.
- The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined a private health company £200,000 for failing to keep patients’ personal information secure.
- The Article 29 Working Party has:
- The Law Commission has published a consultation on the protection of official data.
- The National Health Service Commissioning Board (Additional Functions) Regulations 2017 have been made and will come into force on 1 April 2017.
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on anti-social behavior in social housing in England.
Property and planning:
- The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal from a tenant claiming that their solicitor was in breach of its duty of care when advising on ventilation works as part of a lease purchase (Balogun v Boyes Sutton & Perry (a firm)).
- The High Court considered whether it had jurisdiction to grant relief from forfeiture of a licence (General Motors UK Ltd v The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd).
- The High Court has confirmed trial expedition principles for procurement claims (Joseph Gleave & Son Limited v Secretary of State for Defence).
- The TCC has rectified a waste recycling contract on the basis of common and unilateral mistake (Borough of Milton Keynes v Viridor (Community Recycling MK) Ltd (No 2)).
Regulation and enforcement:
- The Court of Appeal has clarified the provisions of the Environmental Permitting regime on the regulatory responsibilities of the Environment Agency and local authorities (R v Recycled Materials Supplies Ltd).
- The Health and Safety Executive has announced that a council has been fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in the Crown Court, following an incident at a school.
- A council has been fined £270,000 after pleading guilty to four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in the Crown Court, following a fire at a tower block resulting in the death of six people.