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In brief for week ending 26 October 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.

Central government:

Children’s services:

  • The Family Procedure Rule (Amendment No 3) Rules 2016 will come into force on 14 November 2016. They amend rule 14.2 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010, so that serial numbers will be automatically assigned to adoption applications and will not require an application.
  • The Court of Appeal has allowed a local authority’s appeal against a refusal to list a contested hearing for an application for an interim care order. The refusal denied the LA an opportunity to appeal (Re B-C (A Child)).
  • The High Court has:
    • held that a condition should be placed on the Security Service to apply for permission from the court if it intends to disclose documents from within care proceedings outside of the Service (X, Y and Z (Disclosure to the Security Service));
    • not applied the domicile status requirement for the recognition of a foreign adoption under common law, because it was not a necessary or proportionate interference with the child’s family life and therefore incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (QS v RS and another); and
    • made a reporting restriction order and issued guidance on the anonymisation of children in judgments (Re J (a minor)).

Civil litigation:

  • The High Court has considered:
    • to what extent the costs budgeting regime in CPR 3 affects the powers and discretion of the costs judge at a detailed assessment of costs under CPR 47 (Merrix v Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust); and
    • the meaning of the “appropriate fee” for the purposes of the principle that a claim is regarded as having been brought within the limitation period if the claimant can establish that, before the limitation period expired, it delivered the appropriate fee to the court office with the claim form and request for issue (Page v Hewetts Solicitors).
  • The Ministry of Justice is extending the time available to respond to its consultation, “Transforming our justice system”, following administrative errors in the original documents uploaded when the consultation launched. The closing date is now 24 November 2016.

Employment and pensions:

  • An employment tribunal has held that a predominantly female group of supermarket retail store employees can compare themselves with a predominantly male group of distribution depot employees for the purposes of an equal pay claim (Brierley and others v Asda Stores Ltd).
  • Council Decision (EU) 2016/1838 of 13 October 2016 on guidelines for the employment policies of the member states for 2016 has been published in the Official Journal.
  • The Women and Equalities Committee has launched an inquiry to examine the implications arising from Brexit for equalities legislation and policy in the UK, calling for evidence.
  • 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 aim of the study is to provide examples of good practices adopted by companies in the EU that actively promote LGBTI inclusion, highlighting the social and economic benefits that this can bring.
  • The High Court has partially allowed an appeal against a determination of the Pensions Ombudsman that had ruled that the cut-off date for limitation purposes was the date on which the administrator had first sought recovery of an overpayment (Webber v Department for Education and another).


  • The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal against the removal of the renewable source electricity exemption from the climate change levy (Infinis Energy Holdings Ltd v HM Treasury and another).
  • The government has announced the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
  • The Environment Agency has published guidance on environmental permitting for permanently depositing waste on land.

FOI and data protection:

  • The European Court of Justice has ruled that dynamic IP addresses held by a website operator are personal data where the operator has “the legal means which enable it to identify the data subject with additional data which the internet service provider has about that person” (Patrick Breyer v Bundesrepublik Deutschland).
  • The Upper Tribunal has dismissed an appeal by a man who had been convicted of conspiracy to rob and was seeking disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 of automatic car number plate recognition details collected by Essex Police on a particular day in 2008 (TS v The Information Commissioner and The Chief Constable of Essex Police (Information rights: Freedom of Information – exceptions)).
  • The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has concluded that there was a legal basis for bulk data collection and use by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, but the data collection regimes did not comply with Article 8 until the security services publicly acknowledged their existence in 2015 (Privacy International v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others).
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a decision notice, finding that an individual management review commissioned for the purposes of a serious case review was owned by the local children’s safeguarding board and not the council, therefore it was not disclosable under FOIA.


  • The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (Commencement No 7) Order 2016 has been made, bringing into force a range of provisions in the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 on 23 November 2016.
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government has launched a consultation on proposals to extend the scope of mandatory licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and impose a national minimum room size for HMOs.

Local government law:

  • The Department for Communities and Local Government has published updated guidance for local authorities on making amending and revoking byelaws, and a model revocation byelaw.
  • The Charity Commission has:
    • published a three month consultation on proposed updates to its guidance on reporting serious incidents; and
    • launched a new website to help charities fight fraud.

Property and planning:

Public procurement:

  • The Crown Commercial Service has published updated guidance Buying goods and services: options for public sector buyers, which reminds those buyers that they can use the CCS to purchase a variety of goods and services via self service options or procurement support.
  • The Department of Health has published new guidance on the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 for commissioners of healthcare services.

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The National Police Records (Recordable Offences) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 have been made, amending the National Police Records (Recordable Offences) Regulations 2000 to make racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, which is an offence contrary to section 31(1)(c) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, a recordable offence.
  • The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against a conviction for misconduct in public office (R v Norman).
  • The Crown Court has found two directors of a rcycling company not guilty of any wrong doing after the Environment Agency offered no evidence at the hearing (Allensway Recycling Ltd and others v Environment Agency).
  • The Health and Safety Executive has announced that a council and two of its contractors have been fined £1,340,000 following convictions for a serious health and safety breach.
  • The Sentencing Council have launched a consultation, seeking views on its proposed sentencing guideline for judges and magistrates dealing with offenders who have breached court order, such as community orders, restraining orders and directors’ disqualification orders.
Practical Law In brief

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