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- The Court of Appeal has held that an offer which did not satisfy one of the mandatory requirements of CPR Part 36, by stating on its face that it was intended to have Part 36 consequences, was not a valid Part 36 offer, so Part 36 costs consequences did not follow (Shaw v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council).
- The High Court has:
- held that an exchange of emails between a claimant’s solicitors and a defendant’s solicitors constituted a binding settlement without the need for a subsequent detailed settlement agreement (Bieber and others v Teathers Limited (in liquidation)); and
- considered an application to strike out references to without prejudice communications, in a witness statement prepared for costs proceedings (Vestergaard Frandsen A/S (now called MVF 3 Aps) (a company incorporated under the Laws of Denmark) and others v Bestnet Europe Limited and others).
- The Commercial Court has made a costs order against a claimant following a finding that only a “technical” contempt had been committed (Public Joint Stock Company Vseukrainskyi Aktsionernyi Bank v Maksimov and others).
- The Chancery Division has published a new practice note on the production of masters’ and judges’ orders, which applied from 2 January 2015.
- Parliament has published a paper that summarises the amendments made to the Consumer Rights Bill by the House of Lords.
- HM Treasury has published the government response to its June 2014 call for evidence, “British credit unions at 50”, on the future of credit unions and steps that the government might take to support the development of the credit union movement.
Education and social services:
- The School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2014 will come into force on 12 January 2014.
- The DfE has updated its guidance on its risk protection arrangement for academies.
- The Court of Appeal has allowed a father’s appeal against an order prohibiting him from having contact with his 12 year old daughter (Re R (A Child)).
- The Family Court has directed Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service to pay the costs of legal representation for an unrepresented father’s cross-examination of a vulnerable witness at a fact-finding hearing (Re K and H (Children: unrepresented father: cross-examination of child)).
- The DH has published guidance on the Care Act 2014 for carers and the cared for, explaining the changes to care and support to be introduced under the Act.
- The Public Guardian has reported to Parliament on the review of the supervision of deputies.
Employment and pensions:
- The Court of Appeal has considered whether a tribunal erred in finding that a dismissal had been for misconduct where the employer had attached an emotive label to the conduct in its dismissal letter (Brito-Babapulle v Ealing Hospital NHS Trust).
- The High Court has granted an interim injunction against a union preventing it from taking industrial action in relation to a ballot that had been carried out 11 months previously (Westminster Kingsway College v University and College Union).
- The EAT has:
- held that a tribunal erred when finding that three (effectively managerial) employees were assigned to the organised grouping of employees that transferred to the client on a service provision change (London Borough of Hillingdon v Gormanley and others); and
- rejected an appeal to strike out a claim for caste discrimination, finding that the definition of “race” in the Equality Act 2010, which includes “ethnic origin”, is wide enough to encompass caste (Chandhok and another v Tirkey).
- BIS has published:
- The DWP has confirmed the automatic enrolment earnings trigger and the qualifying earnings band for 2015/16.
- The Wales Bill 2013-14 to 2014-15 has received Royal Assent. Sections 18 and 19 enable the National Assembly for Wales to legislate about devolved landfill tax and disapply UK landfill tax in Wales.
- The Clean Air (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2014 came into force on 7 January 2015.
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 1357/2014 of 18 December 2014 replacing Annex III to Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste and repealing certain Directives has been published in the Official Journal.
- Defra has laid the draft Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) Order 2015 before Parliament. The draft Order introduces a minimum 5p charge for unused single use (lightweight) plastic bags used for taking goods out of shops or for delivering them.
- The EA has published:
- a (non-statutory) briefing note, alongside which the WG has issued statutory guidance, to local authorities on their waste separation obligations.
- a new annex to its Enforcement and Sanctions Guidance to reflect the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, EU Emissions Trading Scheme and climate change agreements.
FOI and data protection:
- The ICO has published a decision notice relating to a complaint from an individual about the FCA’s handling of his request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Freedom of Information Act 2000 Decision notice ref: FS50532355 ).
- Monitor has published an updated version of its guidance on integrated care, in particular in relation to the relationship between integrated care obligations and the choice and competition rules and regulations.
- The Secure Tenancies (Absolute Ground for Possession for Anti-social Behaviour) (Review Procedure) (Wales) Regulations 2014 will come into force on 12 January 2015.
- The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision which granted a possession order in the case of a secure tenant whose son had repeatedly engaged in anti-social behaviour (The Mayor and Burgesses of the Royal Borough of Greenwich v Tuitt).
- The High Court has:
- upheld a challenge by a group of care home providers to a local authority’s decision to set the rates it would pay for residential care (R (Torbay Quality Care Forum Limited) v Torbay Council); and
- dismissed a council’s application for judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to carry out an inspection of the council’s compliance with its duty of best value (R (on the application of Tower Hamlets LBC) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government).
Property and planning:
- The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), overturning the decision of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, has held that a residential landlord was entitled to recover legal expenses it had incurred in dealing with a party wall matter as part of the service charge (Assethold v Watts and others).
- The government has published its response to the neighbourhood planning aspects of a consultation that proposed reforms across the planning system.
- High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd has published guidance for the HS2 Phase Two exceptional hardship scheme for Phase Two of the HS2 route.
- BIS has published a list of regulatory changes that the government intends to implement over the next six months. The list includes items of interest to construction and engineering practitioners.
- A European Commission notice on state aid recovery interest rates and reference/discount rates for all 28 EU member states applicable from 1 January 2015 has been published in the Official Journal.