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 Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) (Secondary Legislation) Regulations 2016 have been made and will come into force on 6 April 2016.
- The Office of the Public Guardian has:
- updated its guidance on deputy standards and assurance visits; and
- introduced new forms for deputies to submit their annual reports, together with guidance.
- The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has published updated guidance for local authorities on the duty and power to refer persons to the DBS.
- The High Court has:
- made a wasted costs order against a local authority for unreasonably delaying the issue of care proceedings in a case where there was pre-birth planning and a plan for immediate removal (Nottingham City Council v LM and other); and
- given guidance on how local authorities should deal with cases concerning relinquished babies whose parents are foreign nationals (Re JL and AO (Babies relinquished for adoption)).
- The High Court has adjourned a trial to allow various applications for disclosure and encouraged the parties to co-operate in resolving some remaining issues on the scope of the disclosure exercise (Vilca and others v Xstrata Ltd and another).
- The County Court has:
- considered the effect of non-compliance with the requirements of CPR 47.15(7) in relation to provisional assessment (Martin v Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust); and
- penalised solicitors with a wasted costs order and indemnity costs for signing a statement of truth on a schedule of damages which included an incorrect claim (Brown v Haven Insurance Company Ltd).
- The Foreign Process Section has introduced a new procedure for serving proceedings by post under Article 14 of the EU Service Regulation and Article 10 of the Hague Service Convention.
- The Enterprise Bill 2015-16 has finished its Committee stage in the Commons. The Bill includes provisions which establish a Small Business Commissioner and devolve the power to make certain Sunday trading rules to local authorities.
- The Court of Appeal has considered when deleted words may be taken into account to resolve an ambiguity in the words that remain (Narandas-Girdhar and another v Bradstock).
- The Department for Education has updated its guidance and templates for admissions and referral arrangements for free schools.
- The Local Government Ombudsman has published a report into a complaint by a parent against an admission authority about the way that a school admission appeals panel had conducted an appeal, after her son failed to get a place at her preferred school when there was a triple tie for the last available place.
Employment and pensions:
- Tribunal compensation limits will increase on 6 April 2016 under the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £78,335 to £78,962. The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, also rises from £475 to £479.
- The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 have been laid before Parliament, and will apply to claims issued on or after 6 April 2016.
- The Supreme Court has:
- held a supermarket vicariously liable for an employee’s unprovoked violent assault on a customer. Overturning the decision of the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court found that there was a sufficiently close connection between the assault and the employee’s job of attending to customers, such that the employer should be held vicariously liable (Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc); and
- unanimously held that the Ministry of Justice was vicariously liable for the negligence of a prisoner who, while working in the prison kitchens, dropped a sack of rice, causing injury to an employee of the prison (Cox v Ministry of Justice).
- BIS has published a factsheet outlining the measures that will be included in the Enterprise Bill 2015-16 to establish a new body, the Institute for Apprenticeships.
- Several statutory instruments have been made regarding the introduction of the new state pension and abolition of contracting-out in April 2016.
- The Pensions Ombudsman has held that a scheme must honour annual pension statements that overstated a member’s pensionable service and benefits because it was reasonable for the member to have relied on them in her pension planning and she was unaware of the mistake (Determination in a complaint by Mrs Sheila Mather).
- Defra has published the government response to its January 2016 consultation on the implementation of Commission Directive (EU) 2015/1127 of 10 July 2015 amending Annex II to Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste and repealing certain Directives.
- The European Commission has announced an assessment of the EU implications of the new global climate change agreement, which was adopted in Paris in December 2015.
- ClientEarth, an environmental law organisation, has announced that it has sent a letter before claim to Defra, giving it ten days to act on air pollution or face a claim for judicial review.
FOI and data protection:
- The Home Office has introduced the Investigatory Powers Bill 2015-16 to the House of Commons. The Bill was originally published in November 2015 and has been considered by various committees. HM Government has stated that the legislation needs to be in force by 31 December 2016.
- The government has published 14 fact sheets on the Investigatory Powers Bill 2015-16.
- The European Commission has published the draft “adequacy decision” and legal texts that will put in place the EU-US Privacy Shield and a Communication summarising actions taken to restore trust in EU-US data transfers, including the General Data Protection Reform package, the EU-US Umbrella Agreement and the EU-US Privacy Shield.
- The High Court has ruled that a council collecting charges for water and sewerage services from tenants on behalf of a utility company was re-selling the water and sewerage services rather than acting as an agent of the utility company (Jones v London Borough of Southwark).
- The House of Commons Library has published an updated briefing paper on the “pay to stay” policy under the Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16.
Local government law:
- The High Court has held that local authority social workers who decided to suspend referrals to a care home under police and CQC investigation were not guilty of misfeasance in public office (Menon v Herefordshire Council).
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on public libraries in England.
- BIS has announced a “root and branch review” of local authority regulation of businesses.
- The CMA has published an open letter intended for any local transport authority that is considering developing local bus partnership plans. The letter explains the CMA’s process for considering the appropriate balance between competition in local bus markets and partnership working between bus operators and local transport authorities.
Property and planning:
- The Town and Country Planning (Pre-Application Services) (Wales) Regulations 2016 have been made and will come into force on 16 March 2016. The regulations make provision for pre-application services for certain planning applications in Wales only.
- The Town and Country Planning (Validation Appeals Procedure) (Wales) Regulations 2016 have been made and will come into force on 16 March 2016.
- The Law Society has published a practice note, Consumer Protection Regulations in conveyancing, which sets out new guidance on the implications for conveyancing practice of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (as amended by the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014).
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on planning and flood risk.
- The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on incorporating aspects of its previous sustainable buildings national planning policy in the Building Regulations in Wales.
- The Advocate General has handed down an opinion on a preliminary reference ruling from a Portuguese court regarding the coordination of procedures for the award of public works, supply and service contracts (C 46/15 Ambiente e Sistemas de Informacao Geografica SA v Associacao de Industriais do Concelho de Pombal, Advocate General’s opinion of 3 March 2016).
Regulation and enforcement:
- The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has given preliminary consideration to the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2016, which will come into force on 4 April 2016.
- The High Court has refused an appeal by a council which had appealed an acquittal of a defendant on a charge of failing to cause a person to stop smoking in smoke-free premises under section 8 of the Health Act 2006 (Newham LBC v Iqbal).
- The House of Commons Library has published an analysis of the Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16.
- The National Audit Office has published an article concerning the approach to confronting public sector fraud in the UK.
- The Crown Prosecution Service has launched a consultation on an updated version of its guidelines on the prosecution of communications sent via social media. The guidelines have been updated to incorporate new ways of committing crime online and to provide clear advice to help the prosecution of cyber-enabled crime.
Practical Law In brief