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Investigator clears council and officers of maladministration in planning enforcement row, takes different view on inducement to Crown Court and Court of Appeal judges

Independent investigator and former head of legal clears officers and councillors at borough council of maladministration or unprofessional conduct in long-running planning enforcement case; report claims judges' views on inducement of site owner based more on supposition than evidence
Environmental lawyers put local authorities 'on notice' over local plans and alleged climate inaction
Environmental law charity ClientEarth writes to 100 local authorities across England to warn that they will violate their legal obligations and risk legal challenge if they do not introduce proper climate change plans
Buckinghamshire authorities in recruitment drive for lawyers ahead of move to unitary status
County and districts working together on new collaborative legal service before April 2020 go-live, hiring lawyers across range of practice areas
Man jailed for pretending to flat-share with deceased Grenfell resident in £75,000 fraud on council
Defendant who posed as Grenfell Tower resident and claimed to have been displaced by the fire, jailed for fraud worth more than £75,000; between August 2017 and May 2018 Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea paid out £54,099 in hotel costs, £14,310 on food allowance at hotel and £6,876 in bank payments
Court rules council prosecution an abuse of process after officer advice on 'shed on wheels'
Pembrokeshire County Council says that recent court case where resident claimed his shed was not building because he had added wheels should not set precedent
Welsh council updates code of conduct after abusive language and gestures in meetings
Flintshire County Council tightens its standards code after councillors expressed concern about abusive language and gestures used during meetings
Spending Round 2019: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government sees funding boost
MHCLG to see 2.7% real terms increase to its resource budget from 2019-20 to 2020-21, Chancellor of Exchequer announces in Spending Round 2019
Spending Round 2019: reaction from the sector
Local Government Lawyer looks at reaction to announcements by Sajid Javid
Crown Commercial Service to hold engagement sessions on £400m agreement providing legal services to central government departments
CCS gives notice of its intention to put in place agreement for provision of legal advice services to be utilised by UK Central Government departments

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Council to pursue legal action against builder of housing block it is evacuating
London borough says it will take legal action against builder of housing block that council is evacuating due to defects; company strongly disputes claim
Divisional Court dismisses legal challenge over police use of automated facial recognition
Judges dismiss challenge to police use of AFR in what is thought to be first time any court in world has considered technology in question
Government publishes revised guidance aimed at simplifying advice on Community Infrastructure regime
Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government publishes new planning practice guidance designed to “further simplify advice on the CIL regime, helping communities and developers understand what is required”
Ombudsman raps council over failure to complete agreed remedy
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman criticises Staffordshire County Council for failing to apologise to woman in good time following earlier investigation
Councils adopt mitigation measures to overcome problems with nitrate pollution and development
Two councils affected by planning problems from nitrate pollution in Solent are adopting mitigation measures to allow development to continue
LOOKING FOR A TRAINING CONTRACT? East Hampshire and Havant are hiring: Trainee Solicitor (£19,814 - £24,943). Closing: 12:00, 8 September.
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The Sheriffs OfficeHigh Court enforcement for local authorities
High Court enforcement services can be useful for local authorities in several circumstances. The Sheriff's Office outlines the main occasions when councils may need to use enforcement services and the procedures they will need to follow when they do (sponsored editorial).

SEND reforms have "failed to make system less adversarial for parents"
Key aim of SEND (special educational needs and disability) reforms introduced in England five years ago – to make system feel less adversarial for parents – has not been achieved in relation to children with speech, language and communication needs, it is claimed
Ministry invites 100 places to apply for 'Town Deals' in bid to boost regeneration
Government calls on 100 places to develop proposals for new generation of so-called “Town Deals” under which they could receive up to £25m
Blakeway starts as Housing Ombudsman "at vital time"
Former Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property at Greater London Authority takes up position as Housing Ombudsman
Town Legal hires head of planning at major City law firm
Boutique planning law firm takes on head of planning at City law firm Linklaters
Boost your career: Making the right choice
Jennifer Mellani writes about her journey to being a local government lawyer specialising in health and social care.
See all of our most recent news stories
MUST-READ: Cleaning up the air we breathe

Rob Hann looks at the pressures on local authorities to push forwards at pace with their clean air initiatives.

 

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New unitary accepts Ombudsman recommendations after predecessor council left boy with special needs without education
Dorset Council accepts series of recommendations made by Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman after boy with autism was left without proper education for two years by one of its predecessor authorities
Defendants behind energy tariff refund fraud sentenced to combined 13 years after Trading Standards prosecution
Case brought by National Trading Standards Regional Investigation Team (East Midlands), which is hosted by Nottinghamshire County Council, sees five individuals sentenced over energy tariff refund fraud
Borough consults on new town council ahead of unitaries for Northamptonshire
Kettering Borough Council, which is set to be abolished in April 2021 when two unitary authorities are established in Northamptonshire, consults on whether town council should be set up for town of Kettering
Marsh returns to BDB Pitmans in boost to planning and infrastructure team
Law firm bolsters its planning, infrastructure and public law team with return of partner from Eversheds Sutherland
The Great Bundle Takeaway Debacle
On 4 April 2019 new rules came into effect for the removal of court bundles in what’s now earned the name of “The Great Bundle Takeaway Debacle.” The debate itself is notable for how little of it is focused on a digital solution...(Sponsored editorial)

Crown Commercial Service to hold engagement sessions on £400m agreement providing legal services to central government departments
Marsh returns to BDB Pitmans in boost to planning and infrastructure team
Blakeway starts as Housing Ombudsman “at vital time”
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LOCUM ROLES: Commercial Contracts Lawyer (East Midlands), Education Lawyer (East Anglia), Commercial Contracts Solicitor (East of England), Contracts and Procurement Lawyer (Hampshire) and Data Protection Solicitor (West Midlands).

Airbnb and social tenancies

Andrew Lane sets out the key considerations where tenants advertise social housing properties through holiday let companies such as Airbnb.


 
Automated facial recognition, privacy and data protection law
The Divisional Court has found that police use of automated facial recognition was a justified privacy intrusion. Robin Hopkins sets out the key findings in a landmark case.
Withdrawal of pre-action admissions
A High Court judge has ruled in a case involving a local authority that when it comes to whether or not to allow the withdrawal of pre-action admissions, judges should resist the temptation to conduct a mini-trial. Bronia Hartley analyses the ruling.
Bidders and legal entities
Is it obligatory for bidders to remain as the same legal entity between pre-selection and submission of tenders? Tim Care and Melanie Pears comment on a CJEU judgment.
The extent of the inherent jurisdiction
Christine Cooper reports on an unusual inherent jurisdiction case that recently went before a High Court judge.

Catch up on recent articles on Local Government Lawyer and Public Law Today:
The MHA and the MCA in the community
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers report on the outcome of a ruling dealing with streamlined Re X applications made by two local authorities.
Fluctuating capacity - micro vs macro decisions
Alex Ruck Keene looks at the lessons to be learned from the latest Court of Protection to address the issue of fluctuating capacity.
Costs and s21A applications
A judge recently rejected an application by the Official Solicitor for a London borough to pay its costs in proceedings under Section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers analyse the judgment.
Firm foundations
Are you intrigued about working in local government but hesitant to take the plunge? Real estate lawyer Matthew Dineen explains how he overcame his initial doubts and never looked back.
Home truths
What is it like to work as an in-house solicitor for a registered provider for social housing or housing association? Radian’s Scott Greenwood sets out the attraction and advantages, how the sector differs from private practice and how the transition can be made by those who may be considering a move.
Family proceedings and the police
The “long arm” of the police - how “confidential” are family proceedings? “Not very” seems to be the answer in a recent Court of Appeal decision, writes Adam Smith.
Accommodation under s20 Children Act and the wishes of the child
The Royal Borough of Greenwich recently successfully defended a Children Act judicial review. Tony Harrop-Griffiths explains how.
Crisis, not crisis?
Phil Booth summarises a Family Division working party's interim recommendations relating to public law and its comments on the role of local authority lawyers.
Committal applications in family proceedings
Phil Booth addresses apparent defects in the standard form used in committal proceedings and the factors that may apply if the court is invited to exercise its discretion to waive such defects.
PSPO challenges and legal aid
Human rights organisation Liberty has failed to secure legal aid for a challenge to a public spaces protection order. Kuljit Bhogal explains why.
Experts in Human Rights Act claims
Are human rights experts necessary in Human Rights Act claims? David Maggs examines the status of their evidence.
Entitlement to personal independence payments
The Supreme Court has this month considered an appeal over entitlement to Personal Independence Payments. Leon Glenister explains the ruling.
'Funding crisis' - a detailed look at the funding shortage in UK schools
According to campaigners, more than 200 schools in England are cutting their school weeks short due to funding shortages. This raises questions over legal ramifications and the responsibility of the government. Jean Tsang, associate at Bates Wells and governor of a maintained primary school, addresses these questions for LexisPSL and looks at the worrying effects of this ‘funding crisis’ on the ‘most vulnerable children’ in the educational system.
Judicial review challenge over closures of children's centres defeated by local authority
The case of R (on the application of L, an infant (by his mother and litigation friend)) v Buckinghamshire County Council represents the first time when the High Court considered in detail the meaning of the ‘sufficiency duty’ in section 5A of the Childcare Act 2006 (ChA 2006) in the context of whether a council’s consultation on the closure of a number of children’s centres was unlawful or not. James Goudie QC examines the background to and the practical implications of the judgment.
Forced academisation of schools - is resistance futile?
What are the circumstances which lead to a school being forced to become an academy, and is there anything that can be done to stop it happening?
Katie Michelon provides an overview of the forced academisation process, and explains the options available to schools, parents and local authorities when faced with the possibility of an Academy Order.
Facebook postings and vicarious liability of employers
Charles Pigott examines an Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling that racially offensive Facebook posting was not done in the course of employment.
Whistleblowing - expanding protection to anticipated protected disclosures
A claimant recently successfully argued at first instance that it is unlawful to subject an individual to a detriment on the grounds that the employer perceived them to be considering making a protected disclosure. Jennifer Danvers considers the judgment and potential ramifications.
Distrinctly average: statistics, rate of pay and shifting burden of proof in equal pay cases
The Court of Appeal has recently held that when determining particular disadvantage in non-binary situations, Tribunals should look at male and female average pay, not the distribution of male and female pay within a band.  Daphne Romney QC explains the judgment.
Limiting the scope of non-disclosure agreements
The Government has unveiled new legislation to limit so-called “gagging clauses”. Tim Gooder examines the proposals.
How does a local authority establish a market?
The LexisPSL team outline the powers available to local authorities looking to establish a new market.
Community governance reviews and abolition of local councils
Two parish councils recently succeeded in a legal challenge to their proposed abolition. Chris Brown explains how one of the parishes did it and considers the lessons for public authorities arising from the case.
Court rejects implied duty to report change of address for council tax purposes
Samuel Genen, solicitor at Steel & Shamash, comments for LexisPSL on a Court of Appeal ruling that a failure to notify the local council of a change of address for the purpose of council tax did not constitute a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006. (Registration required)
Segregation on mental health wards
The Care Quality Commission recently published interim findings about the segregation in mental health wards of young people and people with a learning disability or autism. Holly Bridden looks at the lessons to be learned.
Service charges and additional provisions
The Upper Tribunal has considered whether a tenancy agreement allowed a social landlord to charge for additional services. John Murray reports on the outcome.
Making the most of commercial assets
How can housing associations make the most of their commercial assets? Jo Judge explains. (From our latest housing law newsletter - sign up here)
Housing case law update: July 2019
Charlotte Rawson and Ian Larkins round up the latest housing law cases, including judgments on housing policies supporting people with protected characteristics, alleged discrimination in not offering housing, and homelessness following shortfalls in benefits. (From our latest housing law newsletter - sign up here)
Discrimination claims and s204 appeals
The Court of Appeal has ruled that there is no home for discrimination claims in section 204 appeals, write Dean Underwood and Riccardo Calzavara. (From our latest housing law newsletter - sign up here)
Loosening the limits of statutory interpretation? Livewest v Bamber
Nicholas Grundy QC and Tristan Salter analyse an important Court of Appeal ruling for housing associations on fixed term assured shorthold tenancies, break clauses and notice.
GDPR: one year on
What have we learned from the 12 months that the General Data Protection Regulation has been in force? Ibrahim Hasan reports.
Making an exception to a cumulative impact policy
Southwark Council recently granted a 3am premises licence for a new live music venue as an exception to its cumulative impact policy. Gary Grant examines the reasons why.
Court finds judge in Uber licensing case was not biased
Philip Kolvin QC examines for LexisPSL the High Court’s decision in R (United Cabbies Group) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court to dismiss the claimant’s application for judicial review of a district judge’s grant of an operator’s licence for London private hire vehicles to the third interested party, Uber.
Selling local authority legal services
Tiffany Cloynes and Clare Hardy examine how local authorities can go about generating additional income by selling their legal services.
Section 73 permissions and the new CIL Regulations
Christopher Cant assesses the application of the Community Infrastructure Levy regime to planning permissions granted under section 73 in relation to post-CIL parent permissions.
People over Wind: still blowing through planning guidance and the High Court
Michael Dempsey analyses the latest developments in relation to Habitat Regulations Assessment and appropriate assessment.
Planning permissions and the duty to give reasons
A High Court judge has shed further light on the duty to give reasons for grants of planning permission and has disagreed in part with another recent decision. Jenny Wigley explains why.
Enforcement notices, breaches of planning control and earlier permissions
The High Court has dismissed an appeal against an enforcement notice issued against redevelopment of a Hackney synagogue. Leon Glenister explains why.
Declarations of ineffectiveness and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015
A recent procurement case has brought into into focus the circumstances when the remedy of a declaration of ineffectiveness may be available under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, write Richard Collins and Kathrine Eddon.
In the frame
Anja Beriro and Peter Ware analyse some of the key considerations around the use of frameworks in public procurement.
Third country bidders and goods in the EU procurement market
Lucy Gregory analyses the key points from recent European Commission guidance on third country bidders.
Common mistake and rectification of contracts
The Court of Appeal has laid down a new test for rectification of contracts based on common mistake, write Adam Greaves and Liz Williams.
Court refuses to keep Circle in suspense
The High Court recently lifted the automatic suspension of the award of a contract for medical services in Nottingham. Jenny Beresford-Jones looks at the lessons to be learned from the case.
Local authorities and governance - LLG's Codes of Practice
Rob Hann looks at the Lawyers in Local Government’s Codes of Practice for Local Authority Companies.
Local authority companies - the importance of good governance
James Hawkins and Scott Dorling consider the key issues that councils must consider when setting up local authority companies.
Transfer agreements and overage payments
A local authority recently succeeded in a summary judgment application in relation to overage payments due under a transfer agreement. Lina Mattsson explains how.
Redevelopments and rating
The Upper Tribunal has clarified the law on rating of buildings undergoing redevelopment. Dan Kolinsky QC and Luke Wilcox analyse the ruling.
The changing landscape of local authority Trading Standards prosecutions?
Richard Heller considers for LexisPSL Local Government the potential impact the case of Qualter and others v Crown Court at Preston [2019] could have on the way regional Trading Standards services investigate and prosecute criminal offences. (registration required)
The definition of "commercial practice"
A recent Divisional Court ruling on unfair commercial practices will be of significant interest to trading standards teams across the country, writes Tony Watkin.
Highways maintainable at public expense
If a highway authority built a highway, it is highway maintainable at public expense. Matthew White reports on a significant High Court ruling for local authorities.
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