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In brief for week ending 18 February 2015

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 Public Sector email.

New Acts of Parliament:

Central government:

  • The High Court has considered an application to enforce an undertaking by HM Revenue and Customs to pay damages to a company, in a case where HMRC successfully applied for a provisional liquidation order over a company in winding up proceedings where the petition debt was later found not to be due (Abbey Forwarding Ltd (in liquidation) v HM Revenue and Customs).

Civil litigation:

  • The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal against a High Court decision refusing to grant an anonymity order in respect of Part 8 proceedings for approval of the settlement of a child’s claim (JX MX (by her mother and litigation friend AX MX) v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust).
  • The High Court has:
    • held that it would be inappropriate to adjourn the trial of a clinical negligence claim on the basis that the defendant would be prejudiced by its inability to cross-examine one of the claimant’s expert witnesses who was unable to attend due to illness (Robshaw v United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust); and
    • considered whether a defendant had properly applied the burden of proof in misconduct proceedings (Pope v General Dental Council).
  • The Commercial Court has dismissed a claimant’s applications under CPR 31.22(1)(a) and (b) and CPR 32.12 for permission to use certain in separate proceedings in Guernsey documents disclosed, and extracts from witness statements served in English proceedings (Rawlinson and Hunter Trustees SA (Trustee of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust) v Serious Fraud Office).
  • The Civil Justice Council Online Dispute Resolution Advisory Group has recommended that a new state-run online dispute resolution system should be set up to increase access to justice and streamline the court process.
  • The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has provided an update on the planned timing of changes to court fees expected to be introduced in Spring 2015.


  • The High Court has held that the wording in a signature block and other wording in draft contracts did not constitute a prescribed mode of acceptance (A Ltd v B Ltd).

Employment and pensions:

  • The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2015 has been laid before Parliament and will increase compensation limits for certain tribunal awards and other statutory payments from 6 April 2015.
  • The Court of Appeal has held that:
    • foreign staff employed at embassies in the UK could bring claims in the employment tribunal for race discrimination and holiday pay, despite the fact that provisions of the State Immunity Act 1978 barred them from doing so (Benkharbouche and another v Embassy of the Republic of Sudan); and
    • a single employee was an “organised grouping of employees” which had as its principal purpose the carrying out of activities on behalf of a client, for the purposes of the TUPE service provision change test (Rynda (UK) Ltd v Rhijnsburger).
  • The EAT has:
  • The Pensions Act 2014 (Commencement No 4) Order 2015 and the State Pension Regulations 2015 have both been made.
  • The DWP has published a response to its November 2014 consultation paper on plans to continue and extend exemptions from statutory disclosure-of-information requirements for the new public-sector schemes coming into being on 1 April 2015.


  • The Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2015 were made on 4 February 2015. They introduce mandatory sustainability requirements for Renewable Heat Incentive installations using biomass, biogas or biomethane, in both the domestic and non-domestic schemes, from 5 October 2015.
  • The Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2015 were made on 11 February 2015 and came into force on 12 February 2015. The Regulations introduce a revised tariff for biomethane and make a number of other relatively minor amendments to the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
  • The Environment Agency has announced that it has decided on the methodology for calculating the compliance fee that producer compliance schemes must pay if they fail to meet their collection targets under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regime.
  • The DCLG has published a consultation on improving the Display Energy Certificates regime for public buildings.

FOI and data protection:


  • The Department of Health has published a new report on progress made across the health system following the inquiry into failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, along with plans to protect whistleblowers who speak up about poor care.

Local government:

Property and planning:

  • The High Court has dismissed a claimant’s judicial review challenge that a local planning authority’s decision to decline to determine a retrospective planning application under section 70C of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 was unlawful (Wingrove v Stratford-On-Avon District Council).
  • The Highways Agency has published Your property and compulsory purchase, which provides guidance on the process of compulsory purchase of land for highway improvements.
  • The Welsh Government is consulting on a land transaction tax to replace SDLT in Wales from April 2018. Comments are invited by 6 May 2015.

Public procurement:

  • The High Court has:
  • The Crown Commercial Service has published a Procurement Policy Note on the reforms contained in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, which are intended to make public procurement more accessible to SMEs.
  • The Cabinet Office has published a review of the first two years of the operation of the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012.

Regulation and enforcement:

Practical Law In brief

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