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.
- The Law Commission has published a consultation on how to make the law applicable in Wales easier to use and understand.
- The Welsh Government has launched a new website, Cyfraith Cymru/Law Wales, with the aim of helping professionals and the public better understand how Welsh law is diverging from the rest of the UK.
- The Master of the Rolls has issued new practice guidance for “hear-by” dates in the Court of Appeal, which will come into effect on 1 August 2015.
- The Ministry of Justice has published a review of the Civil Justice Council (CJC) and Family Justice Council (FJC), recommending that both the CJC and FJC should remain separate, non-departmental public bodies.
- The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal, on grounds of particular public interest, against the Court of Appeal’s decision in a case considering whether a service provider had made reasonable adjustments to avoid disadvantaging passengers who are wheelchair users.
- The government has announced that it will introduce legislation to protect vulnerable individuals from aggressive fundraising practices by an amendment to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill 2015-16. The government has also commissioned a review of the self-regulation of charity fundraising.
Education and children’s services:
- The Education Funding Agency has published an updated template form to be used by local authorities to request that the Secretary of State for Education direct an academy to admit a looked after child.
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the measures in place that aim to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged children in England and explains how these measures have developed since 2010.
- The Supreme Court has:
- unanimously upheld an appeal challenging the Secretary of State’s decision in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) that a severely disabled child should cease to receive payment of the state benefit, Disability Living Allowance, after the 84th day of his admission as an inpatient in an NHS hospital (Cameron Mathieson, a deceased child (by his father Craig Mathiesen) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Respondent)); and
- considered the ordinary residence of a young man without mental capacity, who was placed in another local authority area as a looked after child and was moved again as an adult into residential care (R (Cornwall Council) v Secretary of State for Health and others).
- The High Court has:
- dismissed a claim in defamation by a mother after hospital staff treating her four-year old daughter referred the daughter to social services following confrontational and erratic behaviour by the mother (Ma v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust); and
- criticised a local authority for the lack of preparation for a fact finding hearing in care proceedings, which embarrassed them into funding legal representation for the intervener (Wirral Borough Council v KR and others).
Employment and pensions:
- The Court of Appeal has restored an employment judge’s decision that an employee was unfairly dismissed for gross misconduct because no reasonable employer would have dismissed him in the circumstances (Newbound v Thames Water Utilities Ltd).
- The EAT has:
- set aside a costs order against a claimant who requested the presence of an interpreter at a hearing “if possible” in an email to the tribunal (Schaathun v Executive and Business Aviation Support Ltd); and
- held that the Working Time Directive does not require workers on sick leave to demonstrate that they are physically unable to take annual leave in order to carry over accrued unused statutory holiday to a subsequent leave year (Plumb v Duncan Print Group Ltd).
- Acas has published statistics which show that it dealt with over 83,000 notifications in the first year of mandatory early conciliation.
- HM Treasury has published a Command Paper, Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation, which sets out a number of reforms that the government hopes will improve productivity in the UK. Announcements relevant to environmental lawyers include the scrapping of the allowable solutions framework to achieve the 2016 zero carbon homes target, and introducing a zonal system that will give automatic permission for construction of housing on suitable brownfield sites.
FOI and data protection:
- The Information Commissioner’s Office has published its 2014/2015 annual report. This includes information and statistics on its case work, including under the Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.
- The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has published his 2014 annual report. 2014 was a year of transition for the EDPS, marked by the delayed selection and appointment of a new Supervisor and Assistant EDPS.
- The Court of Appeal has held that a local housing authority was entitled to find that its housing duty had ceased because the appellant had refused accommodation that was suitable for her (Poshteh v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea).
Local government law:
- The Playing Fields (Community Involvement in Disposal Decisions) (Wales) Regulations 2015 have been laid before the National Assembly for Wales and will come into force on 1 October 2015.
- The First-tier Tribunal has decided that a council was correct to list both a playing field and a car park as assets of community value (C, S & D Trouth v Shropshire Council and another).
Property and planning:
- The Court of Appeal has considered whether the Secretary of State must visit a proposed site to personally assess the visual impact of wind turbines (Ecotricity (Next Generation) Ltd v the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and another).
- HM Treasury has published its productivity plan, Fixing the foundations: creating a more prosperous nation. The plan sets out the government’s agenda to reverse the UK’s productivity problems and secure rising living standards, and contains measures that aim to improve and streamline the planning system.
- The Welsh Government has launched a consultation seeking views on how to improve access to the Welsh countryside for recreational activities.
Public procurement and state aid:
- The High Court has handed down a judgment on an action brought by an unsuccessful tenderer to challenge a public procurement exercise conducted by a council (Woods Building Services v Milton Keynes Council).
- The General Court has dismissed an appeal against decisions of the Publications Office of the European Union in ranking bids for contracts for the provision of computing services (European Dynamics Luxembourg SA, European Dynamics Belgium SA and Evropaïki Dynamiki – Proigmena Systimata Tilepikoinonion Pliroforikis kai Tilematikis AE).
- The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has published a new state aid manual.