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In brief for week ending 22 July 2015

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 government has announced to the Local Government Association that the planned cap on care costs will not come into force until April 2020.
  • The Department of Health and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have launched a consultation to help decide on additional social care topics that are suitable for developing into quality standards and guidelines as part of NICE’s social care work programme.

Civil litigation:

Education and children’s services:

  • The DfE has published a response to the recommendations set out in the Life lessons: PSHE and SRE in schools report. The PSHE (Statutory Requirement) Bill 2015-16 has also been published.
  • The Charity Commission has published guidance on umbrella trusts for schools, explaining what they are and the requirement to register them as charities.
  • The Court of Appeal has:
    • retrospectively validated the making of care and placement orders when a lower court had departed from the required procedure to determine a mother’s mental capacity to litigate (Re D (Children)); and
    • endorsed the use of a three stage test when considering an application to oppose adoption (Re D (Children)).
  • The High Court in a care proceedings case has considered the legal status of a Scottish judgment in English proceedings and whether any finding of facts made by the Scottish court could be used as a basis to re-open previous findings made by the English court (Re M (Rev 3)).

Employment and pensions:

  • The government has published a new Trade Union Bill to reform aspects of the law relating to industrial action, picketing, trade union governance and the powers of the Certification Officer.
  • The High Court has held that the territorial scope of the Equality Act 2010 did not extend to Afghan interpreters working with British military forces in Afghanistan, who were employed by the British government (R (Hottak and another) v The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and another).
  • The EAT has held that a mass compulsory retirement of police officers following budget cuts was not indirect age discrimination because it was justified (Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and others v Harrod and others).
  • HMRC has published a discussion document seeking suggestions on ways to improve the efficiency of the IR35 legislation in reducing the tax and NIC advantage for individuals engaged through a personal services company instead of as direct hire employees.
  • The government has published consultations on:
    • the detail of the proposed ballot thresholds for industrial action in important public services under the Trade Union Bill 2015-16;
    • measures in the Trade Union Bill to enshrine in law certain aspects of the Code of Practice on Picketing, such as the requirement for a union to inform the police of the time and place of the picket and to appoint a picket supervisor;
    • removing the prohibition against employment businesses supplying agency workers during a strike; and
    • implementing the mandatory gender pay gap reporting duty under section 78 of the Equality Act 2010.


  • The draft Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2015, which set out the areas to be protected from shale gas fracking under the Petroleum Act 1998, have been published.
  • The Department of Energy and Climate Change has published a consultation on proposed changes to implementation of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • The government has launched its Cutting Red Tape programme for waste, energy, mineral extraction and agriculture.

FOI and data protection:

  • The ECJ has partially overturned a 2013 ruling by the General Court that the European Commission could withhold documents about breaches of EU environmental law by member states (ClientEarth v European Commission).
  • The government has announced that it has established an independent commission to review the freedom of information regime.


Local government law:

  • The House of Lords’ Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee has published its fourth report on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill 2015 in response to the government’s amendments to the Bill.
  • The Local Government Association has announced that a inquiry had been launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution in the UK into devolution and constitutional reform.
  • The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has published a press release announcing that it is to take oral evidence as part of a new inquiry into local council bank loans.

Property and planning:

Public procurement and state aid:

  • The TCC has interpreted a contract relating to the award of service points under a long term PFI contract in favour of the defendant (Portsmouth City Council v Ensign Highways Ltd).
  • The EU Open Data Portal, also known as Tenders Electronic Daily or TED, has added a subset of TED data covering public procurement for the European Economic Area, Switzerland and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from 1 January 2009 to 31 March 2015.
  • The ECJ has handed down its ruling on a preliminary reference from the German Federal Supreme Court on whether Article 107(1) of the TFEU precludes national legislation that, for the improvement of the social structure of agriculture, prohibits a state agency from selling to the highest bidder in a public call for tenders agricultural land available for sale, if the highest bid is grossly disproportionate to the value of the land (BVVG Bodenverwertungs-und-verwaltungs GmbH).

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 5 October 2015.
  • The Better Regulation Delivery Office has published a policy paper on the extension and simplification of the Primary Authority scheme.
Practical Law In brief

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