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In brief for week ending 21 October 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 Local Government email.

Adult social services

Central government

  • The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that UK MPs cannot rely on the Wilson Doctrine to prevent their communications being intercepted by parties authorised under the provisions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). MPs can however rely on the safeguards established within Part 1 of RIPA that require a warrant to be issued by the Secretary of State (Lucas and others v Security Service and others).
  • The Environmental Audit Select Committee has invited comments on the government’s proposed privatisation of the Green Investment Bank.
  • The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has responded to a review of enforcement of the television licence fee.

Children’s services

  • The Children Act 2004 (Joint Area Reviews) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 9 November 2015, replacing the Children Act 2004 (Joint Area Reviews) Regulations 2005.
  • The Court of Appeal has criticised counsel’s conduct in an appeal against a care order. The court stated that advocates inheriting a skeleton argument from a litigant in person should prepare a composite, substitute skeleton argument in time for the appeal hearing. Permission must be sought to file and serve a substitute skeleton argument (Re S (A child)).
  • The High Court has imposed a Child Arrangements Order for indirect contact despite the competent child’s objection to contact and an order. The case also explains what a parent is entitled to in respect of a child’s school records (Re A and B (Contact) (No 4)).

Civil litigation


  • BIS and the DCMS have launched a joint consultation to inform the independent review of consumer protection measures related to online secondary ticketing platforms.

Employment and pensions

  •  The Trade Union Bill 2015-16 has been debated in committee in the House of Commons.
  • The EAT has held that a dispute between an employer and a group of employees relating to their terms and conditions of employment was capable of being a protected disclosure, entitling them to seek protection against unfair dismissal under whistleblowing legislation (Underwood v Wincanton plc).
  • The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has published guidance on zero hours contracts aimed at employers.
  • The House of Commons Justice Select Committee has published the written evidence that was submitted to it as part of the inquiry into court and tribunal fees.
  • The Work and Pensions Committee of the House of Commons has published a report examining the guidance and advice that is available for individuals taking advantage of the new pension flexible access options.

FOI and data protection

  • The Upper Tribunal has provided guidance on the “internal communications” exception under regulation 12(4)(e) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, following a request to the DECC for communications about power stations’ emissions performance standards (Amin v Information Commissioner and DECC).
  • The Article 29 Working Party has published an opinion on the Cloud Select Industry Group Code of Conduct on Cloud Computing, which finds that there are significant gaps to be addressed before the code is finalised.


  • The government has announced its intention that, from 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property (right to rent).

Local government law

  • The Children (Performances and Activities) (Wales) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 30 October 2015. The regulations repeal the Children (Performances) Regulations 1968 and deal with the application and licensing process in Wales in relation to performances and activities covered by section 37 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963.
  • The High Court has quashed a planning permission decision on the grounds that participation in the decision making by a company director of a housing association gave rise to an appearance of apparent bias (Kelton v Wiltshire Council).

Property and planning

Practical Law In brief

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