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 Health and Safety Executive has announced that a care home company has pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000, after a resident of the care home in question received significant scalding injuries and subsequently died.
- The Local Government Ombudsman has issued its first joint investigation report into a care home and local authority following a complaint concerning neglect.
- The European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament have reacted to the outcome of the referendum in the UK.
- The High Court has confirmed that apparent bias and pre-judgment are not a ground for terminating the appointment of a children’s guardian (QS and RS and others (No 2)).
- The Family Court has held that the wishes of Hungarian parents for their relinquished child to be adopted in the UK rather than Hungary cannot constitute significant harm or unreasonably withholding consent for the child to be placed outside of the jurisdiction (A Local Authority v A Mother and Others).
- The government has launched a new voluntary transfer arrangement for the care of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
- The Association of Lawyers for Children has published guidance to members about its concerns over the Settlement Conferences pilot scheme and advises members involved to consider if they can discharge their professional duties to the client.
- The High Court has allowed appeals against three different costs judges’ decisions. In each case the costs judge had held that the success fee and ATE premium were irrecoverable because the claimants’ funding arrangements had been changed from legal aid to a CFA and ATE insurance shortly before 1 April 2013, without explaining to the claimants that this change would mean losing the 10% (Simmons v Castle) uplift in general damages (Surrey v Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust).
- Following its 2015 consultation on simplifying Welsh legislation, the Law Commission has published a report entitled “The Form and Accessibility of the Law Applicable in Wales”. The report recommends a novel approach to law-making and ways to make the existing law applicable in Wales clearer, simpler and more accessible.
- HM Courts & Tribunal Service have now installed new presentation screens and ClickShare in over 500 courtrooms, meaning that evidence no longer has to be transferred into a physical format and court users will no longer be reliant on having compatible playback devices in the court.
- The Education Funding Agency has published the 2016 version of its Academies Financial Handbook, which sets out the financial management, control and reporting requirements applicable to academy trusts.
Employment and pensions:
- The EAT has confirmed that the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures does not apply to dismissals for some other substantial reason, where the dismissal is attributed to an irretrievable breakdown in the working relationship (Phoenix House Ltd v Stockman and another).
- The Welsh First Minister has announced as part of the Welsh Assembly Legislative Programme that legislation will be brought forward to repeal sections of the Trade Union Act 2016 related to devolved areas.
- The Department of Energy and Climate Change has published a consultation on changes to the Warm Home Discount.
FOI and data protection:
- The FTT(IR) has held that the public interest requires a London Borough to disclose a developer’s financial viability assessment for its proposed redevelopment of a council-owned site (Clyne v Information Commissioner).
- The ICO has:
- published its 2015/16 annual report. The report includes information and statistics on its case work, including under the Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003; and
- issued a statement confirming that, following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it will be speaking with government to discuss the implications of the referendum and to present its view that, given the growing digital economy, reform of the UK’s data protection regime remains necessary.
- The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has published a speech by the UK’s Data Protection Minister outlining the government’s perspective on Brexit, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, the EU-US Privacy Shield, cyber security and the Internet of Things.
- The Home and Communities Agency has updated its document Regulating the Standards.
Local government law:
- The High Court has dismissed an application for judicial review challenging resolutions that three local authorities had passed which were critical of the State of Israel and its policies (R (Jewish Rights Watch, t/a Jewish Human Rights Watch) v Leicester City Council and others).
- The DCLG has published a consultation on its proposal to allow local government to retain 100% of the business rates raised locally.
- The Local Government Association has published a discussion paper on local devolution.
Property and planning:
- The Court of Appeal has:
- dismissed an appeal by a renewable energy company, who was seeking to quash the Secretary of State’s refusal of planning permission for a wind farm (Broadview Energy Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and others); and
- whether restrictive covenants which were imposed over 100 years ago were enforceable as part of a building scheme (Birdlip Ltd v Hunter and another).
- The High Court has examined the court’s jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief in a property dispute and confirmed the applicable test (San Juan and others v Allen and another).
- The Land Registry has updated Practice Guide 12 – Official searches and outline applications.
- The Advocate General has delivered opinions proposing that:
- the ECJ hold that an agreement between two regional authorities on the basis of which they form an entity with separate legal personality, to which they transfer the powers for the performance of service tasks, which before were the responsibility of the regional authorities concerned, without providing for remuneration to be given for contractual services, does not constitute a public contract within the meaning of Article 1(2)(a) of Directive 2004/18/EC (Remondis GmbH & Co KG Region Nord v Region Hannover (AG’s Opinion); and
- Article 45(2) of Directive 2004/18/EC does not preclude a national measure under which the contracting authority must apply the principle of proportionality for the purpose of excluding a tenderer who has been guilty of grave professional misconduct, even when that option is not expressly referred to in the descriptive document for the contract (Connexxion Taxi Services BV v Staat der Nederlanden, Transvision BV and others).
- The European Commission has published a notice in the Official Journal extending its deadline for considering a request from the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry under Article 35 of Directive 2014/25 on procurement by utility companies.
- The government has published a guide to navigating NATO procurement.
Regulation and enforcement:
- The Court of Appeal has heard three appeals that raised general questions as to the circumstances in which section 23 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 applies to fresh evidence or other information which an appellant may seek to adduce. The application to adduce fresh evidence was refused in each case, none of which met the conditions (R v Rogers; R (on the application of Environment Agency) v Tapecrown Ltd and R v Beaman).