REUTERS | Yannis Behrakis

In brief for week ending 3 December 2014

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.

2014 Autumn Statement:

  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer has delivered the Autumn Statement. The Statement includes a number of items of interest to those in the public sector and local government.

Civil litigation:

  • The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision in Blankley v Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, in which the court considered the effect on a solicitors’ retainer if their client loses mental capacity during the course of proceedings.
  • The High Court has:
    • dismissed an appeal against a decision refusing a claimant’s application for trial by jury, and considered the circumstances in which the presumption in favour of trial by jury in certain civil cases will be reversed (Gregory v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis); and
    • considered the situation where the Official Solicitor concludes that he can no longer act as litigation friend for a protected party because the anticipated source of money for his costs ceases to be available (Bradbury and others v Paterson and others).

Education and social services:

Employment and pensions:

  • The Court of Appeal has considered whether an employee who was summarily withdrawn from his post as High Commissioner was entitled to damages for the depressive illness that ensued (Yapp v Foreign and Commonwealth Office).
  • The European Commission has published an online public consultation on the review of the European Working Time Directive.
  • New shared parental leave and shared parental pay regulations came into force on 1 December 2014.
  • It has been announced that the claimants in Hertel (UK) Ltd v Woods and others and AMEC Group Ltd v Law and others will not be appealing the EAT’s decision.
  • The DH has published the draft National Health Service Pension Scheme Transitional Provisions Regulations 2015 and the draft National Health Service Pension Scheme, Injury Benefits and Additional Voluntary Contributions (Amendment) Regulations 2015 for consultation.
  • The Pensions Regulator has published a series of checklists designed to assist public sector pension schemes in assessing the effectiveness of their administrative procedures.


  • The government has published a new National Infrastructure Plan 2014, which sets out the government’s long-term plan for investment in the UK’s infrastructure, including announcements on ultra-low emission vehicles, flood defences and planning.
  • The Environment Agency has published a consultation on proposed new standard rules and amendments to existing standard rules for some waste activities under the Environmental Permitting regime.
  • The DECC has launched a consultation on the transferability of building-mounted solar photovoltaic installations under the feed-in tariffs scheme.
  • Defra has issued a discussion paper on the definition of waste, its application to re-use and repair activities, and some of the problems that may occur.
  • The final report of the Smith Commission on further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament has been published. The report includes a number of recommendations relating to environmental and energy issues.
  • HMRC have published a draft Devolution of Landfill Tax (Consequential, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2015 and Revenue and Customs Brief 45 (2014): devolution of Landfill Tax to Scotland and the transitional period for the Landfill Communities Fund.

FOI and data protection:

  • The MoJ is conducting its triennial review of the role and functions of the Information Commissioner’s Office and is inviting contributions from people and organisations.

Local government:

  • The DCLG has published a consultation on its review of the Bellwin scheme of emergency financial assistance to local authorities.

Property and planning:

  • The government has published a new National Infrastructure Plan, which sets out the government’s long-term plan for investment in the UK’s infrastructure, which includes compulsory purchase reforms and planning announcements which are of interest to property law practitioners.
  • In response to an earlier consultation, DCLG intends to make changes to English national planning policy regarding affordable housing requirements on small scale sites, including those in designated rural areas.

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Consumer Rights Bill 2014-15 has been republished following the end of the Report stage in the Bill’s progress through the House of Lords. There are a number of proposed amendments to the Bill that may be of interest to commercial law practitioners.

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