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In brief for week ending 3 August 2016

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 upheld a challenge that a local authority’s decision not to exercise its general power of competence under section 1 of the Localism Act 2011 to provide accommodation to an EEA national with physical and mental health difficulties who was homeless was unlawful (GS v London Borough of Camden).
  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper setting out the means-test that applies to care home residents and those in other settings (such as care at home) in need of social care in England.


  • The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal from the Court of Appeal, holding that on a correct interpretation of an agency agreement, the agent’s authority to collect debts owed to the principal was not irrevocable, and did not survive the termination of the agency agreement by the principal (Bailey v Angove’s Pty Ltd).
  • The Home Office has published an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • The Law Society and CLLS have published a practice note on the execution of documents using an electronic signature.

Children’s services:

  • The Court of Appeal has:
    • considered how the “nothing else will do” test should be applied to circumstances where the child has been placed with prospective adopters for a significant amount of time and birth relatives (with no existing relationship to the child) put themselves forward as carers late in the day (Re W (A Child));
    • held that while a local authority should give regard to a young person’s wishes and feelings about becoming accommodated under section 20 of Children Act 1989, the authority can accommodate against the young person’s wishes if not doing so would seriously prejudice their welfare (Re W (A Child)); and
    • allowed the publication of the fact-finding judgment in relation to a child’s death within her sibling’s care proceedings. The judgment clarified the approach to be taken when there are prospective criminal proceedings connected to the same facts (Re C (A Child)).
  • The High Court has clarified the meaning of “cannot be found” under section 52(1)(a) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 where an application for a placement order was made for an orphan (West Sussex County Council v Alma).

Civil litigation:

  • The Judicial Office has published Briggs LJ’s final report and recommendations arising out of his Civil Courts Structure Review.
  • The Administrative Court Office has announced that the President of the Queen’s Bench Division has given approval for a pilot scheme to ensure urgent matters brought before the court are dealt with expeditiously.
  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper providing information on the Supreme Court’s role in devolution.
  • The Civil Justice Council’s Civil Litigation Review Working Group has published a report following a number of surveys, the aims of which are to get a better understanding of how hot-tubbing is operating in England, the extent of its use by judges and legal practitioners and whether its aims are being achieved.
  • The Law Society has launched a consultation on its new guidance on Legal Professional Privilege.

Employment and pensions:

  • The EAT has:
    • held that an employee who was told that an initial decision to dismiss him had been revoked, despite the appeal only addressing one of the two disciplinary allegations that had resulted in his dismissal, meant that the employee had not been dismissed (Folkestone Nursing Home Ltd v Patel); and
    • clarified the meaning of the extended definition of “worker” under section 43K(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, which applies to protected disclosures made by agency workers (McTigue v University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust).


  • The ECJ has given a decision clarifying the appropriate assessment process for plans and projects likely to have a significant effect on protected sites under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive 1992 (Hilde Orleans and others v Vlaams Gewest).
  • The Environment Agency has published guidance on fire prevention plans for waste sites.

FOI and data protection:

  • The FTT(IR) has held that internal communications relating to the government’s proposals on the terms of reference for the Independent Airports Commission’s deliberations on airport capacity are excepted from disclosure under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (Chris Ames v Information Commissioner).
  • The Article 29 Working Party has published a statement welcoming the adoption of the EU-US Privacy Shield, but notes that some of its concerns raised in its Opinion (WP238) still remain.
  • President Obama has signed into law H.R.1428, commonly known as the Judicial Redress Act, considered an important step in mending US-EU privacy relations after the European Court of Justice’s ruling that the US-EU Safe Harbor framework for data transfers was invalid.


  • The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman service has published a service charter and guidance on its complaints process.

Local government law:

  • The High Court has held that a claim for unjust enrichment against a council and a local clinical commissioning group arising from their duty to provide after-care services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 could be brought as a common law claim, and did not have to be brought by way of judicial review (Richards v Worcestershire County Council and another).

Property and planning:

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Health and Safety Executive has announced that an NHS Foundation Trust has pleaded guilty to breaches of regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999 and section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and been fined £30,000.
  • The Environment Agency has announced that a waste operator has been found guilty of breaching the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and fined £1,200.
Practical Law In brief

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