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In brief for week ending 19 July 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 High Court has quashed a needs assessment undertaken by Merton Borough Council, ruling that it was unlawful as it failed to comply with the statutory requirements under the Care Act 2014 (R (JF) v Merton LBC).

Central government:

  • The government has introduced the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19, formerly referred to as the Great Repeal Bill, to Parliament and published its Explanatory Notes.
  • The Department for Exiting the European Union has published position papers on judicial and administrative proceedings that are ongoing at the point of exit from the EU, and on privileges and immunities.

Children’s services:

  • The Court of Appeal has stated that local authorities seeking a placement order should file the child’s permanence report and the agency decision maker’s decision record to support the application. Failure to do so is “poor practice” (Re S-F (A Child)).
  • The High Court has:
    • confirmed that an adoption order could be set aside if it was fraudulently obtained and the fraud influenced the decision (Re W (A Child) (No 4)); and
    • decided that where special advocates are appointed for the parents and closed material hearings are required, the police should be ordered to fund the special advocates’ costs (R (Closed Material Procedure: Special Advocates: Funding)).

Civil litigation:

  • The High Court has refused a claimant permission under CPR 36.11(3)(d) to accept a defendant’s Part 36 offer (made almost six months previously) two days after trial began. The decision is a salutary reminder to parties that, if they choose not to accept a Part 36 offer before trial, they cannot assume that the court will subsequently permit them to do so, should events during trial cause them to reassess their position (Houghton v PB Donoghue (Haulage & Plant Hire Ltd) and others).
  • Two new witness summons court forms have been issued and one enforcement agent form has been revised by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee of the Ministry of Justice.
  • The Judiciary has announced that the Rt Hon Sir Ian Burnett has been appointed as the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, with effect from 2 October 2017.



  • The High Court has held that a local authority has breached a child’s right to education under Article 2 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights, and made unlawful needs and care assessments of the child (R (E) v London Borough of Islington).

Employment and pensions:

  • The Court of Appeal considered for the first time the meaning of the “public interest” test under section 43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Chesterton Global Ltd (t/a Chestertons) and another v Nurmohamed and another).
  • The report, “Good Work: the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices” has been published and makes a number of recommendations designed to improve the working conditions of atypical workers and individuals working in the gig economy.
  • The Supreme Court has confirmed that same-sex partners are entitled to equal survivors’ pension benefits (Walker v Innospec Ltd and others).


  • The Department for Exiting the European Union has published a factsheet on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill’s impact on environmental protection.

FOI and data protection:

  • The ECJ has clarified an exception to the access to information obligations on EU institutions, under which an EU institution may be able to refuse access to information if disclosure would seriously undermine the institution’s decision-making process (Saint-Gobain Glass Deutschland v Commission).
  • The Department of Health has responded to the reviews of data sharing and security in health and social care by the National Data Guardian for Health and Care and the Care Quality Commission and outlined its intentions to implement these.
  • The Ministry of Justice has disclosed the handwritten notes of an employment tribunal judge in response to a subject access request.


  • The National Assembly for Wales Research Service has published a briefing paper on the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill 2017.

Local government law:

  • The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published its annual report for 2016-17 and announced its intention to undertake a review of local government standards as part of its forward plan for 2017-18.
  • The Welsh Government has issued a consultation on electoral reform in local council elections.

Property and planning:

  • The Department for Communities and Local Government has written a new letter to chief planning officers explaining how the planning system enhances security.
  • The National Assembly for Wales has published a briefing paper on the planning enforcement system in Wales.
  • The House of Commons library has published or updated briefing papers on:

Public procurement and state aid:

  • The ECJ has handed down:
  • The Competition and Markets Authority, in partnership with Spend Network, has launched a screening for cartels tool to help procurers screen their tender data for signs of cartel behaviour.
  • The European Commission has announced:
    • that it has decided to approve state aid of EUR49 million to support a EUR310 million investment in Mondi SCP, a Slovak paper and pulp manufacturer; and
    • that it has approved public service compensation granted to Inverness airport in the UK under the state aid rules.

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Competition and Markets Authority has published guidance for all licensing authorities in England and Wales on the impact of taxi and private hire licensing on competition and consumer welfare.
  • The Welsh Government has published its response to its consultation on introducing fixed penalty notices for small-scale fly-tipping offences.
Practical Law In brief

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