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 Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Commencement No 2) Order 2015 has been made and appoints 21 October 2015 as the day on which sections 132 and 133 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 will come into force.
- The Court of Protection has held that the views of a person lacking capacity should not automatically be given less weight than those of a person with capacity (Wye Valley NHS Trust v B).
- The LGO has published its report on a complaint against Somerset County Council, and reminded local authorities that they cannot contract out their accountability for the quality of the services provided by third parties.
- The Court of Appeal has:
- dismissed an appeal seeking to overturn a refused adoption order application, and explained that the benefits of citizenship are relevant considerations when making adoption decisions (FAS v Secretary of State for the Home Department and another); and
- held that changes in decisions in findings of fact must be fully reasoned (Re K-L (Children)).
- The High Court has ordered the summary return of a child to Lithuania, despite the impending birth of the child’s step-sibling. The court declined to delay implementation of the order by six weeks. To do so would have run contrary to policy reasons underpinning the Hague Convention on civil aspects of international child abduction and Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003 (Re LS (A child)).
- The President of the Family Division has issued written guidance on how cases involving radicalisation should be handled in the Family Courts.
- Nagalro, the professional association for children’s guardians, family court advisers and independent social workers, the Association of Lawyers for Children and the Law Society have published responses to the Family Procedure Rule Committee consultation on amendments to the Family Procedure Rules, including the proposal for a new draft Part 3A.
- The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal against an order for summary judgment, providing guidance on the correct approach to considering factual issues at the summary judgment stage (Optaglio Ltd v Tethal and another).
- The High Court has:
- allowed a receiving party’s appeal against an order setting aside a default costs certificate, holding that the paying party was estopped by convention from relying on defective service of the notice of commencement (Edray Limited v Canning);
- exercised its discretion under CPR 40.8(1) and ordered that interest payable under the Judgments Act 1838 on costs should run from three months after the date of a costs order (Involnert Management Inc v Aprilgrange Ltd and others); and
- allowed an appeal and set aside costs orders, holding that the defendants offer letter did not constitute a Part 36 offer (Hertel and another v Saunders and another).
- The County Court has held that service of a copy of a claim form (as opposed to a hard copy bearing the court seal) by a method other than fax was a defect capable of being remedied under CPR 3.10 (United Utilities Group plc v Hart).
- The Judiciary has announced the topics for Briggs LJ’s urgent review of the structure of the civil courts.
Employment and pensions:
- The Law Society has written a letter to the Ministry of Justice’s Employment Tribunal Fees Review Team, regarding the ongoing government review into employment tribunal fees. The Law Society believes that fees have harmed access to justice.
- The Court of Appeal has dismissed appeals against decisions of the Employment Appeal Tribunal concerning entitlement to pension benefits following changes to discrimination law affecting part-time workers and civil partners (O’Brien v Ministry of Justice; Walker v Innospec and others).
- The Pension Ombudsman has given his determination in a complaint by Langley Park School for Girls against the Department for Education and Teachers’ Pensions (Determination in a complaint by Langley Park School for Girls).
- HM Treasury has published a consultation paper on the public provision of free-to client, impartial financial advice and, in particular, the roles of the Money Advice Service, Pension Wise and the Pensions Advisory Service.
- The Deregulation Act 2015 (Commencement No 3 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2015 has been made, bringing into force a number of provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015, including the provisions on noise abatement zones in section 59 and part 5 of Schedule 13, on 1 October 2015.
- The government has:
- published a response to its February 2015 consultation on strengthening regulators’ powers under the Environmental Permitting regime, with a focus on reducing waste crime; and
- tabled amendments to the Energy Bill 2015-16 relating to proposals for the grace period for early closure of the Renewables Obligation.
FOI and data protection:
- The ECJ has:
- ruled that personal data may not be transferred between public administrative bodies of a member state for subsequent processing, without data subjects being informed of that transfer or processing (Smaranda Bara and Others v Președintele Casei Naționale de Asigurări de Sănătate, Casa Naţională de Asigurări de Sănătate, Agenţia Naţională de Administrare Fiscală); and
- given its preliminary ruling to the Irish High Court that Decision 2000/520 on the EU-US Safe Harbor framework is invalid (Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner).
- The FTT(IR) has ruled that:
- it was reasonable for a council not to provide environmental information in the format requested (as this would involve creating new information) but instead to allow the requester to access databases so he could search himself (Fortun v Information Commissioner); and
- a council correctly refused to deal with a written request for questions to be answered verbally at a council meeting as a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (O’Hagan v Information Commissioner).
- The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information has published a call for evidence on aspects of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
- The Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16 has been introduced into Parliament, and includes a number of measures likely to be of interest to social housing practitioners.
- The DCLG has launched a consultation entitled Pay to Stay: Fairer Rents in Social Housing.
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on rent setting in the social housing sector in England.
Local government law:
- The Modern Slavery 2015 (Duty to Notify) Regulations 2015 have been made, and will come into force on 1 November 2015.
- The House of Commons library has published a briefing paper on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill 2015-16.
- The Cabinet Office has published a consultation on a draft code of practice relating to the requirement in the Immigration Bill 2015-16 that public-facing workers in the public sector be able to speak fluent English (or Welsh in Wales).
Property and planning:
- The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 (Commencement No 1) Order 2015 has been made, bringing provisions of the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 into force on 5 October 2015.
- The High Court has considered whether a planning inspector had been entitled to conclude that a proposal to erect a building in the green belt for storing hay and for exercising and training racehorses fell within the agricultural purpose exception or the outdoor sport exception in the National Planning Policy Framework (Winstanley v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government).
- The government has announced that local authorities must produce and bring into force up to date local plans by 2017, covering how many new homes they plan to deliver over a set period.
- The Local Plans Expert Group, a panel of planning experts charged with considering how to simplify and streamline the creation of local plans, has requested views from interested parties on its aims.
- The General Court has:
- upheld an appeal by European Dynamics Luxembourg SA, European Dynamics Belgium SA and Europaii Dynamiki against a decision by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market in relation to the award of a framework contract (European Dynamics v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market);
- dismissed an appeal by Secolux against a decision of the European Commission to not award it a procurement contract relating to safety checks to be carried out at various buildings of EU institutions in Luxembourg (Secolux, Association pour le contrôle de la sécurité de la construction v Commission); and
- handed down a judgment upholding an action by Intrasoft International SA to challenge a European Commission decision to reject its bid in a public tender (Intrasoft International SA v European Commission).
Regulation and enforcement:
- The Law Commission has published the second consultation document as part of its project to introduce a new sentencing code for England and Wales.