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In brief for week ending 8 March 2017

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.

Spring 2017 Budget:

  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer has delivered his Spring 2017 Budget Statement to the House of Commons. The statement included various policy announcements of interest to local government.

Adult social services:

Central government:

  • The House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution has published a report on the Great Repeal Bill and delegated powers.
  • The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has published written evidence from Adrian Briggs QC on “Secession from the European Union and Private International Law” as part of its inquiry on Brexit: civil justice and cooperation and the CJEU.
  • The Supreme Court has announced that it will sit in Edinburgh in June 2017. This represents the first time in its history that the court has sat outside London.

Children’s services:

  • The Family Court has:
    • decided that the applicable test for removal of a child subject to a care order from a kinship foster placement is the same as the test for interim removal of a child from their parent (Re BH (A Child) (Human Rights Act Injunction)); and
    • recommended that parties trying to discover the whereabouts of a parent should use Facebook as one of the possible routes. In an adoption application, both the local authority and the children’s guardian should ensure that a birth parent has been served with notice of the application (Re T (A Child)).

Civil litigation:

  • The High Court has held that a football club was entitled to restitution in respect of payments for the provision of policing services at and around its football ground. Restitution was available on the basis of both payment made in response to a demand which was ultra vires, and payment made pursuant to a mistake of law (Ipswich Town Football Club Company Ltd v Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary).
  • The Ministry of Justice has published quarterly civil court statistics for the period October to December 2016. The bulletin provides statistics on the County Court civil (non-family) cases that took place during that period, and the judicial review cases processed by the Administrative Court for 2016.


  • The government has tabled amendments to the Children and Social Work Bill 2017, putting the teaching of relationships and sex education in secondary schools in England on a statutory footing.

Employment and pensions:

  • The government has published the draft Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017, which are due to come into force on 6 April 2017.
  • The government has published the draft Public Sector Apprenticeship Targets Regulations 2017. The draft regulations will bring into force the government’s proposals, set out in its response to consultation published on 20 January 2017, to apply apprenticeship targets to public bodies that have 250 or more workers in England. The regulations will come into force on 31 March 2017.
  • The EAT has largely upheld an employment tribunal’s decision that an employee who returned from maternity leave on a part-time basis and who was subsequently made redundant had been unfairly dismissed and subjected to indirect sex discrimination and part-time worker detriment (Fidessa Plc v Lancaster).
  • An employment tribunal has held that the age-related transitional provisions in the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2015 are objectively justified and therefore not discriminatory on grounds of age, race or sex (Sargeant and others v London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and others).
  • BEIS has published final versions of the Code of Practice: Picketing and Code of Practice: Industrial action ballots and notice to employers, to reflect the forthcoming Trade Union Act 2016.
  • HMRC has updated its guidance on off-payroll working in the public sector.
  • The European Commission has:
    • published its Annual Report 2016 on the list of actions to advance Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) Equality;
    • published an updated European handbook on equality data, providing an overview on how best to collect and analyse data on issues relating to equal treatment in the EU; and
    • launched a public consultation on the benefits and drawbacks of whistleblower protection.
  • The Women and Equalities Committee has published a report on ensuring strong discrimination and equalities protection once the UK leaves the European Union.
  • The Knight review into the possible use of electronic balloting in industrial action ballots has commenced with a call for evidence.


  • The Law Commission has announced that the government will not be progressing the proposed Wildlife Bill at present due to uncertainty over the future of environmental policy after the UK exits the EU.
  • ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB have announced that they have applied for permission to commence judicial review proceedings against the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice concerning the introduction of revised costs rules in Aarhus Convention claims under the Civil Procedure Rules.
  • The European Commission has adopted a Report on the implementation of EU waste legislation for the period 2010-12, covering the implementation of Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, Directive 86/278/EEC on sewage sludge, Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste, Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste, Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment, and Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators.

FOI and data protection:

  • The government has published a strategy paper outlining how it intends to harness the power of digital technology in the coming years to improve the economy, increase digital skill levels, boost cyber-defences and build better infrastructure.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office is consulting on draft guidance on consent under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Property and planning:

  • The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill has received Royal Assent and is now known as the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017.
  • The Court of Appeal has held that a council breached a common law duty to give reasons when granting planning permission for a football stadium on Green Belt land, in breach of the development plan. The planning committee had also not followed the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse permission (Oakley v South Cambridgeshire District Council and another).
  • The High Court has:
  • The First-tier Tribunal has held that, when determining whether a building was designed as a dwelling for the purposes of VAT zero rating, the conditions in Note 2 of Group 5 of Schedule 8 to the Value Added Tax Act 1994 should be assessed once construction of the building was complete (Quitie Ltd v HMRC).
  • The NEC4 suite of contracts will be published in June 2017, replacing the NEC3 suite.
Practical Law In brief

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