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In brief for week ending 25 May 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:

Children’s services:

  • The Court of Appeal has reinforced the importance to give proper consideration to the Re W factors and guidelines for whether a child should be called to give oral evidence. The decision also highlights that children’s solicitors and guardians owe a child the same professional standard of client care as an adult client (Re E (A child)).
  • The High Court has held that a council failed to discharge their duty under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 to accommodate a child diagnosed with unsocial conduct disorder who posed a high risk of physical harm to his siblings (JG and another v Kent County Council and others).
  • The Family Court has held that it is almost always likely to be wrong for a recording device to be placed on a child for the purpose of gathering evidence in family proceedings, whether or not the child is aware of its presence (M v F (Covert Recording of Children)).

Civil litigation:



  • The High Court has held that a professional conduct panel did not have the jurisdiction to make a prohibition order against an individual under section 141A of the Education Act 2002 as he was not employed or engaged as a teacher at the time of the offence or at the making of the order (Zebaida v Secretary of State for Education).

Employment and pensions:

  • The European Parliament has adopted a non-legislative Resolution on the application of Council Directive 2010/18/EU implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC.
  • The Court of Appeal has held that an employment tribunal was entitled to treat the absence of mutuality of obligation between assignments as relevant for deciding whether two interpreters were “in employment” for discrimination purposes (Secretary of State for Justice v Windle and Arada).
  • The EAT has held that a teacher had suffered indirect religion or belief discrimination when she was dismissed for standing by her husband, the headteacher of another local school, after he was convicted of downloading indecent images of children and voyeurism (Pendleton v Derbyshire County Council and The Governing Body of Glebe Junior School).
  • Acas has published a research paper on the impact of its conciliation processes in employment tribunal claims.
  • The Pensions Ombudsman has given his determination in a complaint, holding that a Local Government Pension Scheme employer was estopped from avoiding liability arising out of a promise made in a compromise agreement clause that was void and unenforceable (Determination in a complaint by Mrs Catherine Butterworth).


  • The Environment Agency has announced that the operators of a waste company have been fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £1,000, following conviction for breaches of their environmental permits.
  • A council has granted minerals permission for hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.

FOI and data protection:


  • The Office of the Public Guardian has published a practice note on its approach to family care payments (otherwise known as gratuitous care payments) that Court of Protection deputies make to family members who are providing care to someone lacking mental capacity.


  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper providing an overview of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System under the Housing Act 2004.

Local government law:

  • The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the imposition of commissioners on Tower Hamlets and Rotherham councils.

Property and planning:

  • The Welsh Government has written to Chief Planning Officers with an update on the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016, highlighting changes that came into force on 21 May 2016 and setting out the expected commencement timescale for the remaining provisions.
  • The House of Commons Library has updated its briefing paper on planning reform proposals.
  • The DCLG has published its response on the consultation on reducing planning regulations to support housing, high streets and growth.
  • The government has published its formal response to the public consultation on the governance, structure and operation of the National Infrastructure Commission.
  • The Land Registry has announced that its electronic services will be unavailable between 08.55 on Saturday 18 June 2016 and 00.01 on Monday 20 June 2016.

Public procurement:

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The Investigatory Powers Bill 2015-16 has been given a formal First and Second Reading (no debate) to reintroduce it in the 2016-17 session of Parliament.
  • The Law Commission has published its formal recommendations on the transition to the New Sentencing Code.
  • The Sentencing Council is consulting on draft guidelines for several summary offences currently covered by the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines.
Practical Law In brief

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