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In brief for week ending 2 November 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.

Adult social services:

  • The Department of Health has updated its Care and support statutory guidance to local authorities in respect of their duties and powers under the Care Act 2014.

Central government:

  • The High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland has dismissed a challenge to the government’s power to begin the procedure for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union without the approval of Parliament (R (McCord and others) v HM Government and others).
  • The House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution has published its report on the Wales Bill 2016-17.
  • The Scottish Parliament Information Centre has published a briefing paper, Brexit: the impact on equalities and human rights. The paper focuses on legislation that has a basis in EU law, the protections that are currently offered and what Brexit could mean for these in the future.

Children’s services:

  • The ECJ has clarified that Article 15 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters, and the matters of parental responsibility, could be used to request the transfer of care proceedings to a court in another member state. The CJEU also clarified how to assess whether a transfer is in the child’s best interests and whether the prospective receiving court in another member state is better placed to hear the case (Child and Family Agency v JD and another).
  • The High Court has granted life-long reporting restriction orders to four men accused of child sexual exploitation, because naming them would identify the victim and disrupt their private lives (Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council v M and others).
  • Following the amendments made by the Family Procedure Rule (Amendment No 3) Rules 2016, the corresponding application forms in relation to adoption and adoption-related orders have been amended and must be used when issuing new applications from 14 November 2016 onwards.

Civil litigation:

  • The Ministry of Justice has released revised civil appeals forms.


  • The Charity Commission has published a report on its statutory inquiry into the Durand Education Trust, a charitable company that holds the land upon which the Durand Academy operates.

Employment and pensions:

  • The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has upheld a County Court decision that a bakery refusing to bake a cake ordered by a gay man, and with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”, was direct discrimination on the grounds of his sexual orientation, contrary to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 (Lee v McArthur and Ashers Baking Company Limited).
  • The EAT has decided that an employment tribunal was entitled to order third party disclosure in an equal pay claim (Birmingham City Council v Bagshaw and others).
  • The European Commission has published a study, The Business Case for Diversity in the Workplace: sexual orientation and gender identity – Report on good practices.
  • The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launched an inquiry into the future world of work and rights of workers.
  • The Pension Schemes Bill 2016/17 has had its first reading in the House of Lords. The Bill will set up a new system for regulating master trusts in the UK.


  • The High Court has clarified that a judicial review claim involving intrusive and non-intrusive environmental surveys falls under the broad meaning of “environment” in the Aarhus Convention (R (Dowley) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government).
  • The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on proposals to amend the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (Wales) Regulations 2007.
  • The Department for Transport has published an air quality re-analysis study and a policy briefing paper on the environmental and local impacts of the Heathrow northwest runway.

FOI and data protection:

  • The European Commission has published its work programme for 2017 on Data Protection.
  • The Information Commissioner has issued a decision notice determining that the public interest weighed in favour of disclosure of aggregated information relating to Birmingham City Council’s management of equal pay claims against it in the Employment Tribunal, and that the council could not rely on the exemption in section 36(2)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) (ICO decision notice FS50619003).
  • The Information Commissioner has responded to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s First Report of Session 2016-17 on Cyber security: Protection of Personal Data Online.


  • The Court of Appeal has considered whether a warrant for possession obtained using the incorrect application procedure resulted in the warrant being void. The application followed a breach of a suspended possession order and should have been made using CPR 83.2 which requires the court’s consent to the issue of the warrant (Cardiff County Council v Lee (Flowers)).
  • The House of Commons Library has published briefing papers:
    • on the Homelessness Reduction Bill 2016-17; and
    • comparing the respective legal duties on local authorities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to assist people presenting as homeless in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a journalist against his conviction for encouraging misconduct in public office on the basis that the trial judge failed to provide the jury with adequate assistance on the elements of misconduct in a public office (R v France).
Practical Law In brief

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