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In brief for week ending 17 February 2016

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.

Central government:

  • The Cabinet Office has announced details of a new anti-lobbying clause to be included in the terms and conditions of all government grants from the new financial year, and no later than 1 May 2016.

Children’s services:

  • The Supreme Court has held by a majority of 3:2 that when a parent moves to live abroad permanently with their child, the child does not necessarily lose their habitual residence immediately because of that parent’s intention to relocate abroad permanently (Re B (A Child)).
  • The Local Government Ombudsman has found that the Royal Borough of Greenwich was at fault for the delay in obtaining immigration legal advice for a care leaver, who became unable to rely on immigration rules concerning child overstayers and was therefore disadvantaged. An exceptional payment of £5,000 was recommended.
  • Following the President of the Family Division issuing a set of revised orders for use under the Child Arrangements Programme, a set of corresponding tick box forms has been circulated for those who prefer them to the template orders.

Civil litigation:

  • The Court of Appeal has considered an appeal of an order committing an appellant to prison for repeated breaches of a court order (Devere v Hither Green).
  • The Joint Committee on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill has published a report referring to concerns about the extent of the protection granted by the draft Bill to legal professional privilege.
  • The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it intends to close 86 of the 91 courts that were included for consideration in its consultation on reducing the court estate.


  • The Cabinet Office has published guidance for directors of companies fully or partly owned by the public sector.


  • The DfE has updated its guidance, Establishing a new school: free school presumption.

Employment and pensions:

  • The EAT has:
    • given guidance on dealing with disabled claimants, and clarified that tribunals and courts should take into account the Equal Treatment Bench Book which is routinely used in criminal cases (Rackham v NHS Professionals Ltd); and
    • held that there is no implied term of reasonableness in a contractual provision allowing employees to be laid off or put on short-time working for an indefinite period without pay (Craig v Bob Lindfield & Son Ltd).
  • An employment tribunal has held that a bank wrongly and unfairly dismissed a foreign exchange trader for disclosure of confidential client information to traders from different banks in an online chat room (Stimpson v Citibank N.A.).
  • HM Treasury has published a consultation on reforms to public sector exit payments. The government is seeking views on options to make public sector exit compensation terms fairer, more modern and more consistent.
  • The government has published its response to a consultation on amendments to employment tribunal postponement procedures.


  • The High Court has:
  • The DCLG has written to all mineral planning authorities in England setting out what it requires in a section 4A Petroleum Act 1998 notice.

FOI and data protection:

  • The Council of the European Union has adopted a political agreement on the text of the General Data Protection Regulation and on the Data Protection Directive.
  • The European Commission and the US have reached political agreement on the new framework for transatlantic data flows: the EU-US Privacy Shield. The Commission states that the new arrangement will place stronger obligations on US companies handling EU citizens’ personal data and includes robust enforcement measures, including increased cooperation with European Data Protection Authorities.
  • The ICO has published a blog post on its position in the light of the recent EU-US Privacy Shield deal.
  • The Joint Commitee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill has published a report of session for 2015-2016. The report makes a number of detailed recommendations.
  • The Home Office has published amendments to National Crime Agency powers, concerning cooperation and coordination between the police forces and the NCA, and the designated powers of NCA officers.


  • NHS England has published for consultation draft NHS standard contracts for 2016-17 and associated technical guidance.


  • The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has published a report on housing associations and the extension to the right to buy.
  • The Minister for Housing and Planning has announced a review of the Homes and Communities Agency.
  • The Local Government Ombudsman has published a report on the role of councils in allocating social housing.
  • The FCA has published a new webpage relating to the permissions under Part 4A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 that are required by housing associations holding a mortgage portfolio.

Local government law:

Property and planning:

  • The Non-Domestic Rating (Small Business Rate Relief) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016 has been made and will come into force on 1 April 2016.
  • The High Court has held that, in considering whether premises were wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes for business rates relief, a deputy district judge was not entitled to take into account the fact that the premises were not being used for any other purpose (South Kesteven District Council v Digitial Pipeline Limited).
  • The DCLG has published Self-build and custom housebuilding: draft planning practice guidance, which will take effect on 1 April 2016.
  • The House of Commons Library has:
    • published a briefing paper on planning reform proposals; and
    • updated its briefing paper on the comparison of the planning systems in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Highways England has updated its booklet, Your property and blight. The booklet provides information about blight caused by major new road proposals or improvements.

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:

Practical Law In brief

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