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In brief for week ending 20 April 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 published updated factsheets to accompany Part 1 to the Care Act 2014 to reflect changes made to the statutory guidance on the Act in March 2016.

Children’s services:

  • The Supreme Court has considered the proper approach to be taken to an application to transfer proceedings to a court in another member state under Article 15 of Council Regulation No 2201/2003 (Brussels II Revised) (Re N (Children)).
  • The Court of Appeal has clarified that local authorities that hold a care order for a baby and seek to prevent a parent from registering an offensive forename on the birth register should apply to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to endorse such action (Re C (children)).
  • The High Court has ordered a six year old child to live with fictive kinship carers (who are family friends) rather than her father following her mother’s death and also made a costs order against the father due to his unreasonable conduct during the proceedings (E-R (Child arrangements)).

Civil litigation:


  • The DfE has published memoranda of understanding between the DfE and the Church of England and the Catholic Church, which apply to England only.

Employment and pensions:

  • Following the introduction of financial penalties for unpaid tribunal awards, which came into force on 6 April 2016, BIS has published a new employment tribunal penalty enforcement form.
  • The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s finding that a provision relating to absence management set out in a staff handbook, including a “trigger point” (number of absences) which could lead to formal absence management, had been incorporated into employees’ contracts of employment (Department for Transport v Sparks and others).
  • The Low Pay Commission has opened a consultation on the impact of the national minimum wage and national living wage, and setting the relevant rates for 2017.


  • Council Decision (EU) 2016/590 of 11 April 2016 on the signing of the Paris climate change agreement has been published in the Official Journal.
  • The Department of Energy and Climate Change has published a consultation of its proposals for changes to the Warm Home Discount scheme for the tax year 2016-17.
  • The Environment Agency has announced that it has granted environmental permits to Third Energy UK Ltd to carry out hydraulic fracturing in North Yorkshire.

FOI and data protection:

  • The European Parliament has formally approved the data protection reform package, which includes the General Data Protection Regulation and a Data Protection Directive for the police and criminal justice sector, bringing the legislative process to a close.
  • The ICO has announced that it has prosecuted an ex-employee of a company under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 for attempting to obtain personal data without the consent of the data controller.
  • The FTT(IR) has refused an appeal against an Information Commissioner’s decision that information requested was not held by the local authority for the purposes of section 3(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Barnes v Information Commissioner and another).

Local government law:

  • The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has written to Tower Hamlets Council in response to its Best Value Action Plan progress reports.
  • The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers has published guidance for Chief Officers on publicity rules surrounding the EU referendum.


Property and planning:

  • The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2016 have been made and will come into force on 9 May 2016. They will amend the Building Regulations 2010 to allow for high speed electronic communications networks in newly constructed or renovated buildings.
  • Approved Document L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) has been amended to reflect the changes introduced by the Building Regulations &c. (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
  • New versions of CPSE.4 and 6 have been released and are available for immediate use.
  • The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision on the interpretation of a planning condition. The court held that the condition and its reason were not difficult to understand, there was no ambiguity in the condition or the condition and its reason read together and therefore there was no need to consider extrinsic material. In addition, the court considered that the “ejusdem generis” principle did not have any place in the interpretation of planning conditions (R (XPL Ltd) v Harlow Council).
  • The High Court has found a firm of solicitors who acted for a fraudulent seller to be equally liable with the conveyancer that acted for the buyer for the buyer’s loss. There was no suggestion that the solicitors were dishonest or involved in the fraud (Purrunsing v A’Court & Co (a firm) and another).
  • The DCLG has published a technical guidance note for householders on permitted development rights.
  • The government has published its official responses to the National Infrastructure Commission’s northern connectivity and London transport reports.

Public procurement:

  • The European Commission has published a consultation as part of its evaluation of the functioning and implementation of Directive 2009/81/EC on public procurement in the fields of defence and security.
  • The Public Procurement Working Group of the European Commission’s Expert Group for Bio-based Products has adopted 15 recommendations for an increased uptake of bio-based products in public procurement programs.

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The High Court has confirmed the correct way to appeal a council tax liability order where it is the substantive liability that is being challenged (Okon v London Borough of Lewisham).
  • The Local Government Association has published a briefing paper on the Investigatory Powers Bill 2015-16. The briefing paper expresses its concerns about the removal of local authorities from the list entitled to access communications data, which it believes will prevent the tackling of fraud and other criminal behaviour.


Practical Law In brief

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