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- The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal against a committal order for contempt of court based on a judge’s confusion about the contempt being tried. The contemnor was also not informed about their right to remain silent nor warned about the privilege against self-incrimination (Re L (A Child)).
- The High Court has suggested how the court can ensure compliance with directions for disclosure in future hearings (Re SB and others (Fact-Finding)).
- The Court of Appeal has considered whether a claimant’s application under CPR 6.15(2) should have been granted where the claimant had failed to follow the rules on service by email (Barton v Wright Hassall LLP).
- The Ministry of Justice has published court statistics for the quarter October to December 2015.
- The High Court has considered whether a contractual provision requiring that a terminating party give notice and an opportunity to cure the breach applied when a party was terminating at common law for repudiatory breach (Vinergy International (PVT) Ltd v Richmond Mercantile Limited FZC).
- The Inner House of the Scottish Court of Session has upheld a first instance finding that a beneficiary’s request for payment under an on-demand performance bond was valid (South Lanarkshire Council v Coface SA).
- The DfE has:
- updated its guidance on schools causing concern, to reflect the new intervention powers introduced by the Education and Adoption Act 2016;
- published its response to the consultation on proposals for intervening in failing, underperforming and coasting schools and how the new measures in the Education and Adoption Act 2016 should work in practice; and
- outlined its plans for improving the adoption system in its policy document Adoption: a vision for change (March 2016).
Employment and pensions:
- The Scotland Bill 2016 has received Royal Assent to become the Scotland Act 2016.
- The House of Lords has voted through several amendments to the Trade Union Bill 2015-16 at the Report Stage, including the insertion of a new provision concerning electronic balloting.
- The EAT has:
- held that a tribunal was wrong to strike out a whistleblowing complaint at a preliminary hearing because the employee had no prospects of successfully showing that she reasonably believed her complaint about her cramped working conditions was in the public interest (Morgan v Royal Mencap Society); and
- rejected an appeal of a whistleblowing claim, warning employment tribunals to take care when deciding if the alleged disclosure was providing information (Kilraine v London Borough of Wandsworth).
- The final reports of the BIS/EHRC research into pregnancy and maternity issues at work have been published, and BIS has responded to the EHRC’s recommendations for action.
- The Women and Equalities Select Committee has published a report on the gender pay gap.
- The Environment (Wales) Bill 2015-16 has received Royal Assent, to become the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The Act provides a general framework for sustainable management of Wales’ natural resources and environment.
- The Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Oil Storage) (Wales) Regulations 2016 have been made and came into force in Wales on 15 March 2016. The Regulations aim to prevent water pollution caused by spills from above ground oil storage containers.
- The Landfill Tax (Amendment) Regulations 2016 have been made and came into force on 1 April 2016. The regulations amend the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996 to reform and simplify the Landfill Communities Fund.
- The Department of Energy and Climate Change has published guidance for domestic landlords on tenants’ rights under minimum energy efficiency standards legislation.
- Defra has:
- launched a consultation on a consolidated version of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007; and
- published the government response to its further consultation on proposals for improving the Local Air Quality Management system in England (excluding Greater London).
- The government’s environmental regulation team has transferred from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
FOI and data protection:
- The Upper Tribunal has ordered disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 of the name of a local councillor who defaulted on council tax payments, holding that the name could not be withheld from disclosure under the exemption for personal data (DH v Information Commissioner and another).
- The FTT(IR) has refused an appeal of the Information Commissioner’s decision that a local council was not required to disclose the outcome of its internal investigation into why a council officer had not been issued with a parking ticket as it was exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Pritchard v Information Commissioner).
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on EEA migrants’ access to social housing in England.
Local government law:
- The Home Office has updated its Prevent duty guidance for England, Scotland and Wales.
- The DCLG has published a new policy paper, Fighting fraud and corruption locally 2016 to 2019. The policy paper supersedes a previous paper published in 2011 and will form the new counter fraud and corruption strategy for local government.
Property and planning:
- The Historic Environment (Wales) Bill 2015-16 has received Royal Assent to become the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016, and is coming into force in stages.
- The Court of Appeal has considered:
- reasonable endeavours and good faith obligations in the context of detailed obligations (Bristol Rovers (1883) Ltd v Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd); and
- the meaning and application of government policy contained in paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and held that the NPPF is a policy document and should not be treated as if it had the force of statute (Suffolk Coastal District Council v Hopkins Homes Ltd & another).
- The government has published:
- the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-21, replacing the government’s previous national infrastructure plans, which were first published in 2010; and
- a discussion paper on introducing more frequent revaluations for business rates in England.
- The DCLG has launched consultations:
- BIS has launched a consultation on the privatisation of the Land Registry.
- The Welsh Government has published Technical Advice Note (TAN) 12: Design (2016) and accompanying guidance on design and access statements.
- The Cabinet Office and the Crown Commercial Service have published procurement policy note 03/16 relating to the publication of payment performance statistics.
- The government has published its Government Construction Strategy 2016-20.
Regulation and enforcement:
- Two new sets of regulations in England and Wales impose a duty from 6 April 2016 on every keeper of a dog to have their dog microchipped and to record information on a database.
Practical Law In brief