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 found that a local authority was correct to suspend a direct payment support service following allegations of fraudulent dealings in relation to service user funds (R (Collins) v Nottinghamshire County Council and another).
- The Upper Tribunal has upheld a decision of the First-tier Tribunal that the continuation of the conditional discharge of a patient was compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (RP v Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and the Secretary of State for Justice).
- The Law Commission has published an interim statement on the consultation that it launched in July 2015 on the law of mental capacity and deprivation of liberty.
- The Court of Appeal has reinforced the importance to give proper consideration to the Re W factors and guidelines for whether a child should be called to give oral evidence. The decision also highlights that children’s solicitors and guardians owe a child the same professional standard of client care as an adult client (Re E (A child)).
- The High Court has held that a council failed to discharge their duty under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 to accommodate a child diagnosed with unsocial conduct disorder who posed a high risk of physical harm to his siblings (JG and another v Kent County Council and others).
- The Family Court has held that it is almost always likely to be wrong for a recording device to be placed on a child for the purpose of gathering evidence in family proceedings, whether or not the child is aware of its presence (M v F (Covert Recording of Children)).
- The Court of Appeal has considered the proper construction of a conditional fee agreement and, in particular, whether the outcome of the action represented a “win” for the claimant (Engeham v London & Quadrant Housing Trust and another).
- The High Court has:
- made an order for the inspection and imaging of electronic devices and computers belonging to ex-employees and their new employer, and destruction of any confidential information belonging to the old employer found on them (Arthur J. Gallagher Services (UK) Limited and others v Skriptchencko and others);
- considered when a body is capable of judicially reviewing a decision that it had the power to take but was taken by a body to which it had delegated that power (Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and another v The Hospital Managers of St George’s Hospital and another);
- refused a defendant permission to withdraw a pre-action admission of liability in a personal injury claim concerning an alleged faulty wheelchair. The wheelchair supplier made the admission, but when it subsequently realised that another defendant had fitted components it sought to withdraw it (Wood v Days Health UK Ltd and others); and
- refused to grant summary judgment on a claim on limitation grounds in circumstances where the claimants had underpaid the relevant court fees when issuing their claim forms (Bhatti and another v Asghar and another).
- The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has published a consultation seeking views on proposals to amend the Civil Procedure Rules in respect of appeals to the Court of Appeal.
- The Court of Appeal has confirmed a High Court ruling on a dispute as to the meaning of the term “the purpose” in an agreement for the sale and purchase of a business (Starbev GP Ltd v Interbrew Central European Holdngs BV).
- The High Court has held that a professional conduct panel did not have the jurisdiction to make a prohibition order against an individual under section 141A of the Education Act 2002 as he was not employed or engaged as a teacher at the time of the offence or at the making of the order (Zebaida v Secretary of State for Education).
Employment and pensions:
- The European Parliament has adopted a non-legislative Resolution on the application of Council Directive 2010/18/EU implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC.
- The Court of Appeal has held that an employment tribunal was entitled to treat the absence of mutuality of obligation between assignments as relevant for deciding whether two interpreters were “in employment” for discrimination purposes (Secretary of State for Justice v Windle and Arada).
- The EAT has held that a teacher had suffered indirect religion or belief discrimination when she was dismissed for standing by her husband, the headteacher of another local school, after he was convicted of downloading indecent images of children and voyeurism (Pendleton v Derbyshire County Council and The Governing Body of Glebe Junior School).
- Acas has published a research paper on the impact of its conciliation processes in employment tribunal claims.
- The Pensions Ombudsman has given his determination in a complaint, holding that a Local Government Pension Scheme employer was estopped from avoiding liability arising out of a promise made in a compromise agreement clause that was void and unenforceable (Determination in a complaint by Mrs Catherine Butterworth).
- The Environment Agency has announced that the operators of a waste company have been fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £1,000, following conviction for breaches of their environmental permits.
- A council has granted minerals permission for hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.
FOI and data protection:
- The FTT(IR) has held that the section 38 (health and safety) exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 did not apply to information relating to the staffing hours at an animal research facility and as such must be disclosed (Cruelty Free International v IC and Imperial College London (Allowed: Freedom of Information Act 2000)).
- The Information Commissioner’s Office has published details of what guidance on the General Data Protection Regulation organisations can expect to receive and when.
- The Office of the Public Guardian has published a practice note on its approach to family care payments (otherwise known as gratuitous care payments) that Court of Protection deputies make to family members who are providing care to someone lacking mental capacity.
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper providing an overview of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System under the Housing Act 2004.
Local government law:
- The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the imposition of commissioners on Tower Hamlets and Rotherham councils.
Property and planning:
- The Welsh Government has written to Chief Planning Officers with an update on the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016, highlighting changes that came into force on 21 May 2016 and setting out the expected commencement timescale for the remaining provisions.
- The House of Commons Library has updated its briefing paper on planning reform proposals.
- The DCLG has published its response on the consultation on reducing planning regulations to support housing, high streets and growth.
- The government has published its formal response to the public consultation on the governance, structure and operation of the National Infrastructure Commission.
- The Land Registry has announced that its electronic services will be unavailable between 08.55 on Saturday 18 June 2016 and 00.01 on Monday 20 June 2016.
- The first reading of the Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Bill 2016 has taken place in the House of Lords.
- The Crown Commercial Service has published a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) in relation to Open Book Contract Management.
Regulation and enforcement:
- The Investigatory Powers Bill 2015-16 has been given a formal First and Second Reading (no debate) to reintroduce it in the 2016-17 session of Parliament.
- The Law Commission has published its formal recommendations on the transition to the New Sentencing Code.
- The Sentencing Council is consulting on draft guidelines for several summary offences currently covered by the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines.