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 Office of Public Guardianship has published guidance reminding local authorities of their legal obligations and duty of care when appointed as a deputy by the Court of Protection to manage the financial affairs of people who lack mental capacity.
- The Court of Appeal has set aside a case management decision as the relevant lower court had relied on an Annex A report which was described as fundamentally flawed in the first appeal (Re S (A child)).
- The President of the Family Division has issued information to alert local authorities to the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit’s new form and guidance for requesting information and co-operation from member states.
- The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal challenging a decision of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to place the appellant on the United Nations’ Consolidated List of members subject to an asset freeze imposed on persons “associated with Al-Qaeda”, finding that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that he met the criteria for such designation (Youssef (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Respondent)).
- The Court of Appeal has considered, among other things, whether a trial judge should have allowed a defendant to raise an argument during the trial that had not been pleaded in the statements of case (Sobrany v UAB Transtira).
- The High Court has considered applications to strike out a claim or for summary judgment for the defendants or, alternatively, for extensions of time for service of the claim form, to be set aside (Medhi Khosravi v British American Tobacco plc).
- In a speech given at the IPA Annual Lecture, Jackson LJ has recommended the introduction of fixed costs for all claims worth up to £250,000.
- The Local Area Referendum (Disposal of School Playing Fields) Bill 2015-16 has been published.
- The DfE has published guidance on intervention and accountability in under-performing or failing non-maintained special schools.
Employment and pensions:
- The National Assembly for Wales has voted against giving consent to the UK Parliament to legislate for proposals contained within the Trade Union Bill 2015-16.
- The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) (Amendment) (No 2) Order 2015, which amends the list of prescribed persons to whom disclosures can be made, has been made and came into force on 1 February 2016.
- The Scottish government has published a consultation on a draft Order setting out the framework for the devolution of the Scottish employment tribunals under clause 37 of the Scotland Bill 2016.
- The EAT has:
- confirmed that it is not necessary for a claimant to go through the early conciliation process again before applying to amend an existing claim to include a new respondent (Mist v Derby Community Health Services NHS Trust);
- considered whether a claimant was required to undertake further early conciliation before applying to substitute four respondents (subsidiary companies) for the respondent (parent company) against which proceedings had been issued (Drake International Systems Ltd and others v Blue Arrow Ltd); and
- held that a claim for post-termination discrimination could not be brought against an employer’s statutory successor (Butterworth v The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office for Greater Manchester and another).
- BIS has published its response to the consultation on its proposals to implement the Posted Workers Enforcement Directive which is intended to strengthen the existing provisions of the Posted Workers Directive.
- The Environment Agency has repackaged and republished its online Environmental Permitting guidance.
- The government has published the responses to its August 2015 technical consultation on the scope of the Appraisal of Sustainability and on the methodology for the Habitats Regulations Assessment, both of which will be required to develop the National Policy Statement for its proposed nuclear geological disposal facility.
- The Law Commission has announced Defra’s response to its 2014 recommendations on conservation covenants.
FOI and data protection:
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on changes to freedom of information law in the light of the review being conducted by the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information.
- The Information Commissioner has repeated his call for tougher sentencing powers for people convicted of stealing personal data to a parliamentary inquiry into the hacking of TalkTalk.
- The government has published a revised code of practice for the interception of communications data under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). The code is applicable to the security services and any law enforcement bodies who are able to deploy powers under RIPA.
- The Court of Appeal has held that regulation B13 of the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 was discriminatory under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights as it did not cover the situations of the two appellants (a disabled child requiring an overnight carer and a domestic violence victim under the Sanctuary Scheme) and this discrimination could not be justified by the Secretary of State (R (Rutherford and others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions).
Local government law:
- The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill 2015-16 has had its first reading. The Bill, which was introduced in the Queen’s Speech 2015, takes forward the reforms that are intended to allow for the implementation of devolution agreements with combined authority areas and with other areas.
Property and planning:
- The Welsh Government has published a consultation document on the Statement of Public Participation, the first stage in preparing the National Development Framework for Wales.
- The Concession Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016, which repeal the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012, have been published. The regulations implement for Scotland Directive 2014/23, and will come into force on 18 April 2016.
- The ECJ has published a ruling on questions referred from an Italian court relating to the compatibility with EU law of an Italian law authorising regional health authorities to entrust certain voluntary associations with the provision of medical transport services, without prior advertising (Consorzio Artigiano Servizio Taxi e Autonoleggio and Others v Azienda Sanitaria Locale di Ciriè, Chivasso e Ivrea).
- The Court of Session (Outer House) has held that a petition for judicial review of a decision of the local authority to enter into a development agreement and a related technical services agreement with a company was competent but was barred by mora (delay), taciturnity and acquiescence (Kenman Holdings Limited v Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and others).
- The European Commission has presented a revised proposal for a new Regulation on giving third-country goods and services access to the EU’s internal market for public procurement and procedures supporting negotiations on access of EU goods and services to the public procurement markets of third countries.
Regulation and enforcement:
- The Sentencing Council has published a new definitive sentencing guideline for theft offences, which came into force on 1 February 2016 and must be followed by every court unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.
Practical Law In brief