REUTERS | Maxim Shemetov

In brief for week ending 4 June 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 e-mail.

Central government:

  • The Queen’s Speech 2014 has been made to both Houses of Parliament, setting out the government’s legislative priorities for the 2014-15 parliamentary session.

Civil litigation:

  • The High Court has:
  • The Court of Appeal has listed three appeals that raise arguments relating to the principles established in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd to be heard together over two days.
  • The MoJ has proposed a number of changes to the legislation governing negligence cases.

Education and social services:

  • The Court of Appeal has declared that the Legal Aid Agency acted unlawfully by refusing to pay for an expert witness report that was ordered for a child by the Family Court (JG v Lord Chancellor and others).
  • The Family Court has upheld adoption orders for two siblings, rejecting their parents’ argument that placement with a same sex couple was unsuitable given their Slovak Roma origin and Catholic roots (Re J and S).
  • The Court of Protection has dismissed an application by Associated Newspapers Limited to be joined in personal welfare proceedings relating to an elderly person’s capacity to communicate with third parties, including the media (Re G (Adult)).
  • The DfE has:
    • published statutory guidance on the constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools in England; and
    • updated its suite of standard documents providing guidance on setting up a free school.

Employment and pensions:

  • The EAT has held that:
    • an employee who gave much longer notice than was contractually required had affirmed his contract and waived his right to claim constructive dismissal (Cockram v Air Products plc); and
    • an employment tribunal adopted the wrong approach when considering whether a decision to terminate a consultancy agreement was on the grounds of age (Reynolds v CLFIS (UK) Ltd and others).
  • An ET has held that the public sector pay freeze did not constitute indirect age discrimination (Mort and others v Commissioners for HMRC).


  • The European Commission has formally withdrawn its proposal for a Directive on access to justice in environmental matters.
  • The Environment Agency has published a report and prototype software to assist local authorities in managing local flood risk.
  • The DECC has launched a consultation on its proposals to revise the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff for biomethane injection to grid.

FOI and data protection:

  • The FTT(IR) has ruled that:
    • common interest privilege applied to a borough council’s correspondence with a law firm instructed by the council’s contractor who was investigating whistleblowing claims made against the council (Wirral Borough Council v Information Commissioner); and
    • a borough council was not obliged to disclose information about the participation of local councillors in the local government pension scheme and the employer contributions made in respect of them (Benjamin Crompton v Information Commissioner).
  • The ICO has published updated technical guidance on the difference between data controllers and data processors.
  • The Law Commission has published a report on whether to extend the current hate crime offences.
  • The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe has published a report on governmental access to lawyers’ electronic data, raising concerns about the protection of privileged electronic transmissions.


Local government:

Property and planning:

Public procurement:

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