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In brief for week ending 20 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:

Central government:

  • The Supreme Court has held that Parliament cannot have intended the Crown to be bound by the provisions relating to the ban on smoking contained in Part 1 of Chapter 1 of the Health Act 2006 (R (Black) v Secretary of State for Justice).
  • The House of Commons has voted to amend the draft European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 in order to require parliamentary approval by statute of the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
  • The European Council (Article 50) has adopted Guidelines formally deciding that there had been “sufficient progress” in the Brexit negotiations to proceed to the next phase, related to transition and the framework for the future relationship.
  • The government has published its response to the House of Commons Justice Committee’s report, Implications of Brexit for the civil justice system. The government’s response confirms its position on criminal justice, civil law (including family law) and the legal services sector.
  • The House of Commons Treasury Committee has published its report on transitional arrangements for exiting the EU.
  • The Ministry of Justice has published its report, Responding to Human Rights judgments: Report to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Government’s response to Human Rights judgments 2016-17.

Children’s services:

  • The government’s response to the House of Commons Justice Committee’s report, Implications of Brexit for the Justice System, also considers issues relating to family law, and restates that the government will seek agreement with the EU for close and comprehensive cross-border co-operation, reflecting as much as possible the current framework.

Civil litigation:

  • The Court of Appeal has:
    • considered an appeal of a judge’s decision to order costs on the standard rather than the indemnity basis (Whaleys (Bradford) Ltd v Bennett and another); and
    • held that the County Court has jurisdiction under section 23(g) of the County Courts Act 1984 to set aside a final order in previous County Court proceedings if it was obtained by fraud (Salekipour and another v Parmar).
  • The Law Commission has announced that, as part of its 13th Programme of Law Reform, it will consider whether reforms to administrative review procedures are needed.



  • The Department for Education has published consultations on:
    • proposed amendments to the statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and new non-statutory advice covering sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges; and
    • Relationships and Sex Education in schools in England.

Employment and pensions:

  • The government has published two sets of draft employment regulations to illustrate how legislation will be amended as a result of Brexit.
  • The Advocate General has:
    • concluded that Council Directive 79/7/EEC precludes the application of a requirement that, in addition to satisfying the physical, social and psychological criteria for recognising a change of gender, a person who has changed gender should be unmarried in order to qualify for a state pension (MB v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions); and
    • given an opinion on whether the Acquired Rights Directive (2001/23/EC) applied when a concession to run a public music school terminated and the service was resumed by another contractor after a gap of five months (Colino Sigüenza v Ayuntamiento de Valladolid and others).
  • The EAT has:
    • upheld an employment tribunal’s decision that an employee who raised compliance issues purely out of concern for her own potential liability did not make a qualifying disclosure for the purpose of whistleblowing protection under section 43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Parsons v Airplus International Limited); and
    • held that an employer’s attempt to bypass a recognised trade union by negotiating directly with individual employees amounted to unlawful inducement contrary to section 145B of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Kostal UK Ltd v Dunkley and others).
  • The European Commission has published a question and answer document on the common understanding reached between the EU and UK government in respect of the rights of EU27 and UK citizens post-Brexit.
  • The Knight review into the possible use of electronic balloting in industrial action ballots has been published.
  • The Ministry of Justice has published the statistics for tribunals for the period July to September 2017.


  • The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which set new packaging waste recycling targets for paper, steel, aluminium and wood, and new overall packaging waste recovery and recycling targets, from 2018 to 2020, came into force on 1 January 2018.
  • The Judicial Office has clarified listing arrangements under the Civil Procedure Rules for hearings relating to the costs capping arrangements for an Aarhus Convention claim under CPR Part 45.43.
  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has published its single departmental plan, which sets out its objectives and how it will achieve them.

FOI and data protection:

  • The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a number of new resources aimed at helping small and medium sized organisations prepare for the new data protection regime under the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
  • The Article 29 Working Party has published:
    • a summary of its November 2017 plenary meeting which took place on 28 and 29 November 2017;
    • its guidelines on consent under the General Data Protection Regulation, which are open for consultation until 23 January 2018; and
    • an updated adequacy referential working document for consultation.

Local government law:

  • The House of Commons Select Committee has published the report of its inquiry into overview and scrutiny committees, Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees.
  • The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published a report on intimidation in public life.
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a consultation seeking views on proposals for the local government finance settlement for 2018-19 and for the approach to future local government finance settlements.

Property and planning:

  • The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 have been made. Regulation 4 of the regulations will come into force on 6 April 2018. The remaining regulations come into force on 17 January 2018.
  • The High Court has considered whether owners of beach huts who had sited their huts on plots of land were occupying the land as licensees or periodic tenants (Gilpin v Legg).
  • The Planning Inspectorate has considered what happens when a council forgets to enclose a copy of the commencement notice form with the liability notice, despite the latter stating that one was enclosed (PINS: APP/W0340/L/17/1200121).
  • The Law Commission has published its 13th Programme of Law Reform, which contains several projects of relevance to property lawyers.

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:


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