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 Public Sector email.
- The Wales Bill 2013-14 to 2014-15 received Royal Assent on 17 December 2014.
- The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 8) Rules 2014 and Practice Direction making document, comprising the 78th update to the CPR, have been published. Most of the amendments, including changes to CPR 36, enter into force on 6 April 2015.
- On 9 December 2014, the House of Lords proposed further amendments to Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2013-14 to 2014-15 for consideration by the House of Commons.
- A provisional sitting of the House of Commons has been scheduled for 12 January 2015 to consider the latest amended draft of the Consumer Rights Bill.
Education and children’s services:
- The Court of Appeal has considered the lawfulness of the Lord Chancellor’s Exceptional Funding Guidance in respect of immigration cases. The case provides useful arguments for family practitioners to use when applying for exceptional case funding in family matters (R (ota Gudanaviciene and others) v Director of Legal Aid Casework and others).
- The High Court has:
- heard an application from a local authority to invoke its inherent jurisdiction to safeguard a girl from sexual exploitation and prevent the ten men involved from exploiting other girls (Birmingham City Council v Riaz and others); and
- quashed the decision of a County Borough Council to close a village school and merge it with another primary school on a single site (R (McCann) v Bridgend County Borough Council).
- An updated version of the School Admissions Code came into force in England on 19 December 2014, under the School Admissions Code (Appointed Day) Order 2014.
Employment and pensions:
- The Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014, which cap retrospective unlawful deduction claims at two years, have been published. They are designed to limit the impact on businesses of the EAT’s decision in Bear Scotland Ltd and others v Fulton and others.
- The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2014 have been made and will come into force on 5 January 2015. The regulations will prohibit employment agencies and employment businesses from advertising vacancies for jobs based in Great Britain exclusively in other EEA countries.
- The ECJ has ruled that there is no general principle of EU law prohibiting discrimination on grounds of obesity, but that obesity may fall within the definition of disability under the Equal Treatment Framework Directive (FOA, acting on behalf of Karsten Kaltoft v Kommunernes Landsforening, acting on behalf of the Municipality of Billund).
- The High Court has rejected UNISON’s second challenge to the lawfulness of the system of employment tribunal and EAT fees introduced in July 2013 (R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor and another (No 2)).
- The EAT has held that:
- a tribunal failed to take full account of the public nature of Twitter when finding that an employee’s dismissal for posting non-work related but offensive comments from a personal Twitter account was unfair (Game Retail Ltd v Laws); and
- a deduction made by an employer from a final salary payment to repay the cost of a training course should be ignored when calculating whether the employee had received the NMW (Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs v Lorne Stewart plc).
- BIS has published:
- an online calculator to help prospective parents work out their entitlements to time off and pay on the birth of a child, taking account of existing maternity and paternity leave rights, and the new shared parental leave scheme which will apply to babies due on or after 5 April 2015;
- the results from its survey of members of the Recruitment Employment Confederation into the use of pay between assignments contracts; and
- the fourth work-life balance survey, which provides details and statistics on employers’ policies and practices in relation to flexible working arrangements.
- The Fuel Poverty (England) Regulations 2014 were made on 4 December 2014 and came into force on 5 December 2014.
- The draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015 were published on 15 December 2014 and are due to come into force on 6 April 2015. They introduce enforcement undertakings for use in Environmental Permitting offences in England.
- Defra has published:
- The EA has published standard rules consultation no 14 on proposed new standard rules and amendments to existing standard rules for some waste activities under the Environmental Permitting regime.
- The Law Society has published a practice note setting out good practice on contaminated land for solicitors in property transactions.
FOI and data protection:
- The DCLG has published a transparency code for smaller authorities.
- The ECJ has given its preliminary ruling that the Data Protection Directive applies to CCTV installed by a person on his family home for crime prevention purposes and directed towards the public footpath and neighbouring house (František Ryneš v Úřad pro ochranu osobních údajů).
- The CMA has announced that it has decided not to refer the merger of Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust and West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust to a Phase 2 investigation under the Enterprise Act 2002.
- The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (Commencement No 4) Order 2014 has been made, bringing into force from 16 December 2014 certain provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
- The DCLG has published a consultation on proposed amendments to the provisions on forming a combined authority or economic prosperity board in Part 6 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.
Property and planning:
- The High Court has:
- considered whether, when determining if use was “as of right”, it was necessary to ask if the quality of the use was such that a reasonable landowner could be expected to intervene to resist it, before applying the tripartite test (Powell and another v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and another); and
- held that it is not appropriate to apply the eiusdem generis rule to the interpretation of a planning permission (R (XPL Limited) v Harlow Council).
- The government has published its response to the consultation on an alternative approach for implementing sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) and on the mechanisms for their long term maintenance.
- The DCLG has published a consultation on changes to statutory consultee arrangements for planning applications.
- The government has published the National Policy Statement (NPS) for National Networks.
- High Speed Two (HS2) Limited has published a register of undertakings and assurances, detailing the commitments offered throughout the parliamentary process for the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill 2013-14 to 2014-15.
- The Land Registry has updated Practice Guide 40 – Land Registry plans – Supplement 4 – Boundary agreements and determined boundaries to explain boundary agreements in more detail.
- The Law Society has issued a revised version of its practice note on flood risk. Most of the revisions reflect the new flood maps issued by the Environment Agency in December 2013 and the continuing discussions about Flood re.
- The ECJ has ruled:
- that an economic operator that has breached national competition rules may be excluded from a public procurement procedure (Generali-Providencia Biztosító Zrt v Közbeszerzési Hatóság Közbeszerzési Döntőbizottság); and
- on a reference from an Italian court on the compatibility with the EU rules of national law governing the participation by a public hospital in procurement procedures (Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Careggi-Firenze v Data Medical Service Srl).
- The Single Source Contract Regulations 2014, which establish a framework for the award by the Secretary of State for Defence of “single source” defence contracts, came into force on 18 December 2014.
- An Advocate General has given an opinion on the compatibility with Directive 2004/18 of award criteria that evaluate the teams specifically put forward by the tenderers for the performance of the tendered contract, having regard to the composition of the respective teams, their proven experience and analysis of their CVs (Ambisig).
Regulation and enforcement:
- The DECC and Defra have laid before Parliament reports on reviews of their powers of entry in accordance with section 42 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
- Defra and the WG have published a consultation on a draft Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No 6, Revocation and Savings) (England and Wales) Order 2015 and draft Control of Waste (Dealing with Seized Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.