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In brief for week ending 26 April 2017

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 published General Election guidance 2017 for civil servants on the conduct of government business during the general election period. The guidance, which applies to all UK civil servants and the board members and staff of Non-Departmental Public Bodies and other arms’ length bodies, came into effect from midnight on Friday 21 April 2017, at which point the “election period” began.

Children’s services:

  • The High Court has held that the “nothing else will do” test applied to a private law adoption application in the unusual situation where the child was placed for adoption with strangers, the care order and placement order were subsequently set aside, and reunification with the birth father had become a realistic option for the child (Re W (A Child)).

Civil litigation:

  • The High Court has granted a claimant his costs of judicial review proceedings against the local authority (LA), after it was conceded that a registrar (for whose acts the LA was liable), had erred in law in refusing to register the claimant as the father of his twin children born following fertility treatment (K (No 2) (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008)).
  • The TCC has granted a claimant’s application to vary the terms of a recently agreed consent order in proceedings challenging a public procurement exercise (Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd v Merseytravel).
  • The Prisons and Courts Bill will not be pushed through Parliament ahead of the general election on 8 June 2017.
  • HHJ Waksman QC, of the London Mercantile Court, has unveiled outline details of a proposed two-year fixed costs pilot scheme, planned to run in London (in the Mercantile Court) and in Manchester (in the Chancery Division, Technology and Construction Court, and Mercantile Court).
  • The Courts Charter for the Rolls Building has been revised to refer to the Courts Electronic Filing system, which became mandatory for professional users from 25 April 2017.


  • The Joint Contracts Tribunal has announced its timetable for withdrawing the 2011 Editions of its contracts, which are being superseded by the 2016 Editions.


  • The Department for Education has published operational guidance for local authorities and providers on the entitlement of parents to 30 hours of free childcare contained in the Childcare Act 2016. The guidance has been published to help local authorities and providers understand how they should deliver the free entitlements. Local authorities must have regard to the guidance when discharging their duties to secure free early years provision and, unless they have good reason to do so, should not depart from the guidance.

Employment and pensions:

  • The Prime Minister’s announcement of a snap general election on 8 June 2017 raised the question of whether any pending employment-related legislation would complete its parliamentary progress by the time Parliament was dissolved.
  • The government has published its response to the House of Commons Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee joint report on dress codes in the workplace.


  • It has been reported that the government has applied to the High Court for an extension to the deadline for publication of a draft air quality plan for the UK, from 24 April 2017 to 30 June 2017.

FOI and data protection:

Property and planning:

  • The High Court has held that:
  • The TCC has declined to grant a declaration that the defendant insurer was liable to pay for property damage under the terms of a property insurance policy, deciding that the damage suffered was not “accidental damage” within the meaning of the policy (Leeds Beckett University v Travelers Insurance Company Ltd).
  • The Upper Tribunal has:
  • The Land Registry has updated Practice guide 67: evidence of identity; conveyancers.
  • The government has published guidance document Brownfield registers and permission in principle: frequently asked questions. The guidance is aimed at local planning authorities.

Public procurement:

  • The first international standard for sustainable procurement, ISO 20400, has been launched.

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Health and Safety Executive has announced that a county council has been fined £1 million following conviction for health and safety breaches in the Crown Court.
  • The Sentencing Council’s revised sentencing guidelines for the Magistrates’ Court came into effect on 24 April 2017. They include tougher penalties for the most serious speeding offences.
  • The House of Commons Justice Committee has published a report on the draft sentencing guidelines for breach offences published for consultation by the Sentencing Council.
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