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In brief for week ending 11 May 2016

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.

Central government:

  • The House of Commons library has published a briefing paper discussing the reaction to and issues surrounding the government’s leaflet ahead of the EU referendum recommending that the UK should remain a member of the EU.

Children’s services:

  • The Family Court has given guidance on cases where a parent wants their child to be adopted rather than being cared for by a wider family member, including those with an international element (Re RA (Baby Relinquished for Adoption: Case Management)).
  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper discussing the introduction of 30 hours of free childcare in England, which is scheduled to take effect from September 2017.
  • The DfE has published a consultation on changes to disqualification arrangements for childcare workers under the Childcare Act 2006 in England.

Civil litigation:

  • The Access to Justice Act 1999 (Destination of Appeals) Order 2016 has been published in draft. It makes changes in relation to routes of appeal.
  • The Court of Appeal has:
    • held that a stay does not prevent a party from disclosing information in an order to third parties as ordered. Furthermore, a clear obligation preventing a party from disclosing information to third parties is required for contempt proceedings to succeed in circumstances where despite a stay being granted, a party discloses information as ordered (Re L (A child)); and
    • set aside an appellant’s permission to appeal a decision by the Secretary of State in an immigration case concerning continuous residence on the grounds that he had failed to comply with the duty of candour as required in judicial review cases (R (Khan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department).


  • The Enterprise Bill 2015-16 received Royal Assent on 4 May 2016, to become the Enterprise Act 2016. The Act deals with a range of government commitments that are intended to support the growth of enterprise in the UK.


Employment and pensions:

  • The EAT has held that there only needs to be a loose causal link between an employee’s conduct and their disability for a discrimination arising from disability claim to be made out (Risby v London Borough of Waltham Forest).
  • HM Treasury has confirmed that regulations implementing the cap on public sector exit payments will not come into force before 1 October 2016.
  • The government has launched a call for evidence as part of its review into increasing progression in the labour market by people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • The Pensions Ombudsman has given his determination in a complaint, holding that an LGPS administering authority and LGPS pensions administrator should have informed a deceased member’s mother of the statutory two-year time limit for payment of death benefits to avoid the payment being an unauthorised payment for tax purposes (Determination in a complaint by Ms Pearlena Lettman).


  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper providing a general overview of the extent of the problem of fly tipping and the powers and responsibilities of the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to deal with it.
  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Northern Ireland) have published an updated version of Part 2 of the government’s Guidance on the legal definition of waste and its application (2012).
  • Defra has announced new powers for local authorities to tackle fly tipping by issuing fixed penalty notices.
  • Natural Resources Wales has published a report on the implementation of the contaminated land regime in Wales in the period 2001-13.

FOI and data protection:

  • The FTT(IR) has clarified when it is possible for a public authority to change its position to give a neither confirm nor deny response after originally confirming that it held the information requested (Frank Richardson v Information Commissioner (Dismissed Freedom of Information Act 2000)).
  • The official text of the General Data Protection Regulation has been translated into the EU’s official languages and published in the Official Journal of the EU, along with the Directive for the police and criminal justice sector.
  • The European Commission has published proposals for Council decisions on the signing and conclusion of the EU-US data protection umbrella agreement.
  • A NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £180,000 after the Information Commissioner’s Office found there had been a serious breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 after revealing the email addresses of more than 700 users of an HIV service.


  • The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has published a report of investigations into unsafe discharge from hospital. The report highlights cases that have been investigated by the PHSO where people have been discharged from hospital before they are fit to leave or without making sure they can cope on their return home.


  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper considering the issues around applying as homeless from an assured shorthold tenancy in England.

Local government law:

  • The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal by a council against a High Court decision quashing a traffic regulation order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (Williams v Devon County Council).

Property and planning:

  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper setting out the House of Lords’ amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16. The Bill aims to speed up the planning system in order to deliver more housing.
  • The High Court has held that an Inspector acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government had failed to have due regard to the public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 when considering a planning application (LDRA Ltd and others v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and others).

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The magistrates’ court has dismissed an application by the National Crime Agency to make a direction that the claimant provide an encryption key and/or password in the interests of good case management (Love v National Crime Agency).
  • The Ministry of Justice has published figures showing that thousands of cases are adjourned because of failures in the interpreting service.
  • The London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association, which represents the interests of specialist criminal lawyers in the London area, has submitted a strongly worded response to the Sentencing Council’s consultation on reduction in sentence for an early plea guideline.
  • The Law Society has responded to the Sentencing Council’s consultation on its draft guideline on reduction in sentence for a guilty plea.
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