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In brief for week ending 29 March 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.

Adult social services:

  • The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal brought by the parents of a profoundly disabled young man who wanted to their son to visit them at their home, holding that the Court of Protection does not have the power to order a care provider to provide, or to fund, care sought by a patient’s family (MN (Appellant) v ACCG (Respondent) and others).
  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on Health and Social Care Integration.
  • The Department of Health, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Adults Principal Social Workers Network have issued a collaborative advice note, Social Work: Essential to Integration, regarding the role of social workers in integrated services.

Central government:

  • The government has given the European Council formal notification of the UK’s intention to leave the EU, triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and starting the countdown to Brexit. The government’s Article 50 letter also included notification of the UK’s intention to leave the European Atomic Energy Community.
  • The UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, and European Council President, Donald Tusk, have confirmed the dates for the start of negotiations for the UK’s exit from the EU.
  • The House of Commons Public Bill Committee has called for written evidence to support its consideration of the Prisons and Courts Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament. The Committee will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the committee stage, which is expected to be no later than 5.00 pm on Thursday, 27 April 2017.

Children’s services:

  • The High Court has endorsed the approach that where there is a dispute about a child’s habitual residence, early consideration should be given to separate representation for the child (Re B (A Child by her Guardian)).
  • The House of Lords Communications Committee has published a report entitled “Growing up with the internet” which makes recommendations based on the findings of an inquiry into the risks associated with children’s access to, and use of, the internet.

Civil litigation:

  • The Court of Appeal has considered whether to allow an extension of time for appealing where the appellant’s notice was lodged five days out of time, in circumstances where the appellant had relied on out of date commentary in the White Book (AM (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department).
  • The High Court has:
    • held that service by email of a notice withdrawing a Part 36 offer, where the receiving party had not previously indicated in writing that they were willing to accept service by email, was a procedural error capable of cure under CPR 3.10 (Thompson v Reeve and others); and
    • considered whether the claimant’s failure to meet an order for security for costs, resulting in the striking out of its fraud claim against the defendants, justified the making of an order for costs on the indemnity basis (Newmarket Holdings (Guernsey) Ltd v Confiance Ltd and others).
  • The Ministry of Justice has published the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims, which comes into force on 1 October 2017.
  • As part of the 88th CPR update, a number of court forms, including some relating to case management, civil appeals and judicial review, have now been amended and republished.
  • The Ministry of Justice is intending to explore flexible operating hours in six pilot courts. The aim is to make the courts more accessible, and to assess whether this will improve access to justice for court users.


Employment and pensions:

  • The Court of Appeal has held by a majority that, where there is no contractual provision governing when a notice of termination served by an employer takes effect, the contractual notice only takes effect when the employee has personally taken delivery of the letter containing the notice (Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood).
  • An Employment Tribunal has held that statutory provisions extending time limits to take account of time spent on Acas early conciliation do not apply to any period of early conciliation occurring prior to the start of a limitation period (Fergusson v Combat Stress).
  • The Fire Brigades Union has confirmed that a notice of appeal has been filed to challenge an Employment Tribunal’s decision that age-based transitional arrangements for the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme were objectively justified and did not amount to unlawful discrimination.

FOI and data protection:

  • The FTT(IR) has held:
    • that a council could not rely on the exemption in section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (personal information) in respect of call handlers’ statements during Lifeline advisory service calls (Carole Evans v Information Commissioner and another); and
    • that section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 did not require a public authority to attempt to comply with a request up to the appropriate limit established by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, in order to extract information into aggregate form (Marco Renna v Information Commissioner).
  • The National Local Authority Warning, Advice and Reporting Point has published the latest edition of its Local Public Services Data Handling Guidelines, which provides advice to local public services on their handling of and responsibilities for personal information, including the requirements of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation.


  • The Court of Appeal has held:
    • that a condition in section 87(b) of the Housing Act 1985, that required that the long-term partner of a secure tenant had to have resided with the secure tenant throughout the 12-month period before the secure tenant’s death in order to succeed to the tenancy, was not manifestly without reasonable foundation (Turley v London Borough of Wandsworth and another); and
    • that joint tenants of the landlord council were not secure tenants under section 81 of the Housing Act 1985, given that they occupied their home on a sporadic weekly basis and provided no evidence of an intention to occupy as a principal home (Dove and another v London Borough of Havering).

Local government law:

  • The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has announced that all powers will be returned to Tower Hamlets council following the two year intervention into the council’s affairs by central government.

Property and planning:

Public procurement:

  • The General Court has handed down its judgment on an action by Portugal against the European Commission’s request for payment of a daily penalty imposed by the European Court of Justice in 2014 for failure to implement Directive 2002/22 (the Universal Service Directive) (Portugal v Commission).
  • The High Court has considered the balancing act between open justice and confidentiality in procurement disputes (Bombardier Transportation Limited v Merseytravel).
  • The Advocate General has delivered an Opinion on the assessment of selection criteria relating to economic and financial standing (INGSTEEL spol. s r.o., Metrostav, as, v Úrad pre verejné obstarávanie).
  • The European Commission has announced that it has granted approval under the state aid rules for Danish support for the Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm.
Practical Law In brief

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