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In brief for week ending 4 March 2015

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.

Central government:

  • The UK government has published a command paper setting out its commitment to deliver cross-party consensus on devolving further powers to Wales. The command paper builds on the proposals set out in the second report published by the Commission on Devolution in Wales.

Civil litigation:

  • The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2015 have been published and came into force on 27 February 2015. The Rules amend the CPR to facilitate the implementation of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.


  • The House of Lords has proposed new amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill to regulate the sale of tickets for recreational, sporting or cultural events in the UK through a secondary ticketing facility.

Education and children’s services:

Employment and pensions:

  • The Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees (Amendment) Order 2015 has been made and will come into force on 25 March 2015. The order confirms the fee payable for an employer’s contract claim when the employee’s claim contains both type A and type B claims.
  • New drug-driving laws contained in section 56(1) of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 were brought into force on 2 March 2015 by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (Commencement No 1) Order 2014.
  • The High Court has held that it was a repudiatory breach of contract for a senior employee to forward an email containing pornographic images from his work email account, entitling the employer to summarily dismiss him (Williams v Leeds United Football Club).
  • The EAT has held that an employer that took reasonable steps, but not every step possible, to ascertain whether an employee was disabled did enough to avoid having constructive knowledge of the disability (Donelien v Liberata UK Ltd).
  • The MoJ has published a new and improved online ET1 employment tribunal claim form.
  • The NHS Pension Scheme Regulations 2015 and the National Health Service Pension Scheme (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2015 have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 1 April 2015.
  • The Government Actuary’s Department has given an update on the broad comparability passport system in light of changes to the National Health Service Pension Scheme from 1 April 2015.


  • The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 6 April 2015. The regulations give the Environment Agency the power to accept enforcement undertakings, from those who voluntarily offer them, for certain offences under the Environmental Permitting regime.
  • The ECJ has held that exploratory drilling did not automatically require an environmental impact assessment although, following a case-by-case assessment an EIA might be required (Kornhuber v Bundesminister fur Wirtschaft, Familie und Jugend).
  • The Welsh Government has published a consultation on its plans to use devolved powers to replace the existing UK-wide landfill tax with a landfill disposals tax for Wales from April 2018.


  • The Department of Health has published a local authority circular advising authorities to ensure that they are prepared for the introduction of the cap on care costs under the Care Act 2014 in April 2016.

Human rights:

Local government:

  • The DCLG has published a consultation on revised best value statutory guidance.

Property and planning:

  • The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (Commencement No 14 and Saving) Order 2015 has been made, bringing certain provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 into force in Wales on 22 June 2015.
  • The Supreme Court has allowed a port authority’s appeal and held that a beach within a harbour should not be registered as a town or village green on the grounds that the public had implied permission to use the beach under the harbour byelaws, and that registration under the Commons Act 2006 was incompatible with the port authority’s statutory powers and duties (R (Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd) v East Sussex County Council and another).
  • The High Court has considered the construction of section 113(4) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, where the last day for making an application to quash a development plan document fell on a day when the court office was closed (Nottingham City Council v Calverton Parish Council).
  • The Upper Tribunal has held that, when considering whether service charge costs for improvements (as distinct from repairs) are reasonable, the landlord must show that it has considered both the availability of an alternative and less expensive remedy, and the views and the financial means of the tenants who will be required to pay for the works (Waaler v Hounslow LBC).
  • The DCLG has:
    • published guidance to support the implementation of the national Starter Homes exception site planning policy; and
    • replaced its guidance on business rates relief for retail properties in England with a new version.
  • The Planning Inspectorate has published an advice note which explains when and why local authorities should take part in the development consent process for nationally significant infrastructure projects.
  • The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on interim non-statutory standards for sustainable drainage in Wales.
  • English Heritage has published two historic environment advice notes for consultation: Conservation Area Designation, Appraisal and Management and Making Changes to Heritage Assets.
  • The DCLG has published its response to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s inquiry on the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:

Practical Law In brief

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