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In brief for week ending 13 December 2017

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 Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by a local authority and an NHS commissioning group against a refusal to strike out the respondent’s claim for restitutionary damages in respect of his costs for after-care services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983, as an abuse of process (Richards v Worcestershire County Council and another).
  • The High Court has dismissed a judicial review claim brought by a representative body for care home operators against Essex County Council challenging the council’s decision to increase some of the fees that it paid to the operators of care homes in its area (R (Care England) v Essex County Council).
  • The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health has told the House of Commons that the government will not be taking forward plans to implement a cap on care costs in 2020.
  • The Local Government Association has published guidance on developing the Making Safeguarding Personal initiative for health and social care commissioners and providers.

Central government:

  • HM Treasury has announced that the 2018 Spring Statement will take place on Tuesday 13 March 2018, and has published a statement setting out the government’s Budget timetable and tax law making process.
  • The UK and EU negotiators have reached a breakthrough in Article 50 talks allowing the European Commission to recommend to the European Council (Article 50) that “sufficient progress” had been made on each of the three withdrawal issues (citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and Northern Ireland/Ireland) for it to start discussions on the next phase, covering a transition period and exploratory discussions on the future UK-EU relationship.
  • The House of Lords European Union Committee has published its report on Brexit: deal or no deal. This report looks at the potential consequences if the UK leaves the EU with no agreement (on withdrawal or future relations), and explores the feasibility of a transition period.
  • The Home Affairs Select Committee has called for written evidence on areas of EU co-operation on activity to combat serious and organised crime, terrorism and cyber-crime.
  • The House of Commons Library has published briefing papers on:
  • The Mayor of London has commissioned an independent report on the impact of Brexit on London.

Children’s services:

  • The High Court has held that a local authority’s refusal to further assess a family for support and accommodation under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 was unlawful because it had not taken into consideration the effect of section 21 of the Immigration Act 2014, which prohibits a person without leave to enter or remain in the UK from entering into a residential tenancy agreement (R (U (Children)) v Milton Keynes Council).

Civil litigation:

  • The Supreme Court has considered the time limit for bringing proceedings under the Human Rights Act 1998 (O’Connor v Bar Standards Board).
  • The Court of Appeal has considered whether a success fee was payable under a conditional fee agreement entered into before 1 April 2013 and subsequently transferred to another firm of solicitors under section 44 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Budana v The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and another).
  • The High Court has:
    • refused to allow a claim to be amended on an application heard six clear days before the trial was due to start (Bing Holdings Inc and another v Hue-Williams);
    • considered whether a second damages action should be struck out for abuse of process following the strike out, some years earlier, of the first action for procedural non-compliance (Davies v Carillion Energy Services Ltd and another); and
    • observed that an application for third party disclosure was, properly formulated, an application for information, and that there was “no clear targeted jurisdiction under the CPR for, effectively, asking interrogatories of a third party” (Richard v BBC and others).
  • Lord Burnett LCJ has given his first annual press conference.
  • The Ministry of Justice has:
    • published civil court statistics for the quarter July to September 2017; and
    • released a survey on court forms, seeking the views of legal professionals on their use.


  • The Technology and Construction Court has refused to grant CPR Part 8 declarations on the proper meaning of bespoke provisions in a term service contract relating to traffic signal maintenance and construction (Dynniq UK Ltd v Lancashire County Council).

Employment and pensions:

  • The government has published Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper, setting out a ten-year vision for reforming the relationship between work and health.
  • The UK government has announced changes to the Immigration Rules, which will mostly come into force on 11 January 2018.
  • The government has published its response to the call for evidence on the taxation of employee expenses.
  • The Pensions Ombudsman has upheld a complaint where a member’s contract of employment stipulated that his pension should be comparable to the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (FPS), but his employer failed to apply revised FPS lump sum commutation factors. It therefore fell short of its obligation to augment the member’s pension by reference to the equivalent entitlement under the FPS (Determination in a complaint by Mr M).


  • The High Court has ordered that ClientEarth’s judicial review challenge of the UK government’s July 2017 air quality plans be expedited.
  • HM Revenue and Customs has published a technical consultation on the draft statutory instrument for devolution of landfill tax to Wales and closure of the Landfill Communities Fund in April 2018.
  • The Environment Minister for Wales has announced what the Welsh Government is planning for air quality in Wales, including publication of a Clean Air Plan in 2018. The Clean Air Plan will include a clean air zone framework for Wales.

FOI and data protection:

  • The High Court has found that an employer was vicariously liable for the deliberate and criminal disclosure by a rogue employee of personal data belonging to co-workers (Various claimants v Wm Morrisons Supermarket PLC).
  • The Scottish Government has published a consultation on a draft order that will extend coverage of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 to registered social landlords and their subsidiaries.
  • The Article 29 Working Party has published its first annual joint report on the EU-US Privacy Shield.

Local government law:

  • The High Court has rejected a challenge to a council’s decision to fix, for 2016-2017, the maximum fares for hiring hackney carriages within the area using its discretionary powers under section 65 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (R (Rostron) v Guildford Borough Council).
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched an inquiry, Following Grenfell, into the human rights and equality dimensions of the Grenfell Tower tragedy to determine if the State is fulfilling its duties under human rights and equality law.
  • The Local Government Association has issued a press release calling on the government to provide clarity on how it will replace the current EU structural funding regime once the UK has left the EU.

Property and planning:

  • The Supreme Court has considered the sources, nature and extent of a local planning authority’s duty to give reasons for granting planning permission (Dover District Council v CPRE Kent).
  • The High Court has considered whether there was a legitimate expectation that the Secretary of State would give reasons for deciding not to call in a planning permission. The court also considered whether there was a duty to give reasons, either generally under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, or in the particular circumstances of this case (R (Save Britain’s Heritage) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and others).
  • The government has published a new report, Transforming Infrastructure Performance.
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government has updated its guidance on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for dwellings and its guidance on EPCs for non-dwellings.
  • Updated terms of reference have been published for the government’s Independent Expert Advisory Panel on building safety.
  • The Law Commission has published a consultation on its proposals to simplify and consolidate Welsh planning law.
  • A survey by the Home Builders Federation has highlighted the UK house building sector’s reliance on EU labour.

Public procurement and state aid:

  • The European Commission has announced that it has referred four member to the ECJ due to their failure fully to implement one or more of Directives 2014/23/, 2014/24 and 2014/25. It has also begun proceedings against the Netherlands for suspected breach of the procurement rules.
  • A European Commission notice on state aid recovery interest rates and reference/discount rates for all 28 EU member states applicable from 1 January 2018 has been published in the Official Journal.

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published a revised overview on Primary Authority which contains guidance on the six steps required for a business to establish a direct partnership.
Practical Law In brief

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