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NEWS HEADLINES

County plan for poll on unitary scuppered after districts refuse to co-operate

Leader of county council accepts that its proposal for poll of residents on creation of unitary authority for area cannot go ahead after some districts refused to be involved, citing QC's legal advice

Three senior officers suspended over handling of safeguarding case
Three senior officers at Bury Council, reported to include the chief executive and the monitoring officer, have been suspended pending an independent investigation into how local authority handled an historic safeguarding case
 
County council defends High Court challenge to cut to personal budget
County successfully defends High Court challenge to its decisions to reduce severely disabled man’s personal budget and revise his care and support plan

Council loses battle over refusal to accommodate before age assessment
Local authority did not have good reason for departing from statutory guidance requiring it to provide accommodation to unaccompanied young person pending an age assessment, High Court judge rules

London borough ordered to pay £570k in fines and costs after tower block fire
Council fined £270,000 and ordered to pay £300,000 in costs over safety failings at tower block after fire where six people died. London Fire Brigade urges councils and other housing providers to learn lessons

Social worker loses appeal over ruling that she improperly altered records
Family Court dismisses appeal by social worker against judge's finding that she improperly altered records concerning children in care proceedings
MUST-READ: Reasons for delegated decisions to grant planning permission - the Shasha case
Meyric Lewis considers the consquences of a High Court ruling as to whether reasons need to be given for delegated decisions to grant planning permission.
DON'T MISS:  Managing Legal Departments - Winmark. London, 6 March.
Planning committee rejects advice from QC amid rail track noise concern
Planning committee members at city council reject advice from barrister and officers over whether Network Rail should be required to use ‘silent’ rail track

Council to review policy on transition to adult care after Ombudsman criticisms
London borough agrees to review its policy on transitions from children's services to adult services after being sharply criticised by Local Government Ombudsman for leaving parents of disabled teenager without any support when he turned 18
 
SDT to hear case against ex-mayor of Tower Hamlets next week
Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal will next week hear prosecution brought by Solicitors Regulation Authority against Lutfur Rahman, former mayor of Tower Hamlets Council

Law Society issues note on legal professional privilege to defuse tensions
Chancery Lane issues practice note on legal professional privilege aimed at helping to defuse tensions that it says have begun to emerge around it

Housing Ombudsman to become chief executive of housing association
Denise Fowler to join Women’s Pioneer Housing in June this year as its new chief executive

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Gummer re-joins infrastructure group at Sharpe Pritchard
Council names four to £5.4m debt recovery and insolvency contract
Winckworth Sherwood advises on promotion of HS2 Phase One Act
Cafcass awards HR legal services contract to Weightmans

MORE NEWS STORIES

Skip hire boss ordered to pay nearly £1m under POCA
Boss of skip hire business required to pay almost £1m under Proceeds of Crime Act if he comes into future assets

Lone parent families win permission to challenge reduced benefit cap
High Court grants permission to four lone parent families for judicial review challenge over reduced benefit cap

Legal action launched over impact of new costs rules on environmental claims
Three NGOs begin legal proceedings over new costs rules that came into force this week amid claims reforms could make it "virtually impossible” to bring public interest case to protect environment

Council ditches late night levy, focuses on business improvement district
Borough becomes first local authority to scrap its late night levy, with its focus turning instead to its Business Improvement District as it offers greater flexibility

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MORE NEWS STORIES

Let high-performing councils set up multi-academy trusts: MPs
Government should recognise experience and expertise of highest performing local authorities and allow their education departments to set up multi-academy trusts, Education Committee says

Law Society attacks "piecemeal" reforms to employment tribunals
Chancery Lane resumes its attack on Government’s handling of employment tribunal reform, arguing that diluting role of industry bodies and trade unions in resolving workplace disputes is mistaken

Liberty launches judicial review challenge over Investigatory Powers Act
Human rights organisation commences judicial review challenge over what it claims is Government’s “extreme mass surveillance regime” in Investigatory Powers Act

Ministers to enshrine Haldane Principle on research into law
Principle of keeping political factors out of decisions on research funding will be enshrined in Higher Education and Research Bill, universities minister says
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This week's analysis

Public bodies who discriminate – County Court or High Court process?
Sally Cowen considers an interesting case concerning the apparent conflict between competing provisions of the Equality Act 2010 in the context of duties to disabled people within the context of Traffic Regulations Orders.

Religious festivals and extended holiday requests
Harmajinder Hayre looks at a case in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal examined whether the refusal of an extended holiday request to attend a religious festival could amount to indirect religious discrimination.

Streets ahead?
Trade objectors recently tested the definition of a “street” in a betting office application case. Andy Woods examines the outcome.

The apprenticeship levy and councils
How will the apprenticeship levy impact local authorities? Rajveena Sangha explains.
 
Conduct powers over costs
A Family Court judge has recently handed down a key ruling for both local councils in respect of adverse costs orders in family and human rights litigation. Jessica Swanell reports.

Public protection and s.21A (again)
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers report on the outcome of a recent s. 21A Mental Capacity Act challenge.

Roadside trees
A parish council was recently ruled to have been negligent in its approach to inspecting a tree which fell onto a bus. James Goudie QC explains why.

The motives behind subject access requests
The Court of Appeal has confirmed that a requester's motive does not justify a refusal to comply with a subject access request. Dan Fawcett analyses the ruling.


SUPPLIER OF THE WEEK:.A&M Bacon are an independent leading firm of Costs Lawyers specialising in Defendant costs for both paying and receiving costs matters. We successfully negotiate settlement of legal costs saving our clients both time and money.


BLOGSAngus Walker

HS2 Act to get Royal Assent - by Angus Walker
The Queen is expected to give her royal assent to the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017, allowing phase 1 of HS2 to be built from Euston in London to near Lichfield in Staffordshire.
Catch-up on recent articles on Local Government Lawyer and Public Law Today:

Adult Social Services: Statutory charge and Article 8 damages
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers examine a recent case that, although not a CoP one, is interesting and relevant for what is said about the legal aid statutory charge in a claim for damages for breach of Article 8 ECHR.

Adult Social Services: Dismissing or withdrawing?
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers consider the first reported judgment to consider the new Rule 87A on obtaining the court's permission to withdraw proceedings.

Adult Social Services: When to commit
The Court of Appeal recently expressed deep concern at the jailing of a woman who refused to comply with a welfare order in relation to a man she moved to Portugal. The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers reports.

Children: Should courts order vaccination against parents’ wishes?
The alleged risks attending on vaccination were outweighed by the benefits of immunisation by a clear margin, the Family Court has ruled following an application by a local authority. Rosalind English reports.
 
Children: Parental consent not required for section 20 accommodation
Is it a breach of a local authority’s duty under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, and article 8 of the ECHR, to keep children in foster care without their parent’s consent? Jonathan Auburn looks at the Court of Appeal's answer to this question.

Children: S.20 and parental consent
A landmark Court of Appeal ruling permits local authorities to accommodate children under s. 20 of the Children Act without parental consent, writes Eirwen Pierrot.

Children: Honour-based violence and forced marriage in public law proceedings
Practitioners should be alert to issues that may arise in cases where honour-based violence is considered a risk by the local authority, particularly when forced marriage is considered to be a real possiblity, write Francis Wilkinson and Lauren Suding.

Children: Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children – the local authority conundrum
Ken Slade and Morris Hill examine local authorities’ statutory obligations around the complex and highly-sensitive issue of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Community Safety: Before its time?
Can a local authority use the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 in relation to incidents that occured before the Act commenced? Jonathan Manning reports.

Dispute Resolution: Settling public law claims
A recent High Court judgment on the settlement of public law claims and which party should pay costs is a victory for common sense, writes David Lintott.
 
Dispute Resolution: Defending a claim for judicial review
This LexisPSL Public Law checklist, produced in partnership with Stephen Hocking of DAC Beachcroft highlights the key steps and considerations for defending a judicial review claim including preliminary assessment, acknowledgement of service and skeleton arguments.

Education: Higher education claims
The Administrative Court has given general guidance on judicial review and Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) complaints. Jonathan Auburn reports.

Education: Risk assessment of schools and FOI
A council has successfully appealed an Information Commissioner's decision that it should disclose information on its risk assessment of schools. Claire Booth explains why.

Education: Teacher misconduct
A High Court judge has overturned an indefinite teaching ban on a ‘superhead’ who channeled work to a company with which he was associated. James Goudie QC looks at the reasons why.

Education: Grammar schools: back to the future?
Satnam Virdi reviews recent evelopments in relation to grammar schools, including the Government's latest proposals.

Education: Segregation of sexes in school
What are the obligations of schools under the Equality Act 2010? Mark Blois talks to LexisNexis about how a recent high-profile court case has made no change to the core obligations schools are under.

Employment: The duty to make reasonable adjustments
Phil Allen considers what you can learn from the Supreme Court case of the wheelchair versus the buggy.

Employment: Pay grades and contractual rights
Claire Booth reports on a Court of Appeal ruling on whether a council employee had a contractual right to be paid whatever salary was attached to a particular grade in all circumstances.

Employment: Procedural failings and gross misconduct
Brian Gegg examines a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling on the impact of procedural failings on the fairness of a dismissal for gross misconduct.

Employment: Disclosing information on TUPE-transferred staff
Can you be ordered to disclose information about staff who have TUPE transferred to another employer? Allison Cook reports on a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling.

Governance: Local government reform in Wales
Gareth Owens, chair of the Wales branch of Lawyers in Local Government, reports on the latest moves towards reform in the sector and the role LLG is playing.

Governance: Local government standards and litigation costs
Claire Booth analyses a High Court ruling on costs after a standards case involving a town council and one of its members.

Governance: Public complaints—introducing the draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill
In this interview with LexisPSL Public Law, Ros Foster and Patrick O’Connell outline the draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill recently laid in Parliament, which aims to introduce a Public Service Ombudsman (PSO) with improved access, structure and powers.

Governance: An unprotected species?
Simon Goacher considers the recent legislative changes around local authority governance arrangements.

Governance: Defeating substantive legitimate expectation claims
In the second in a two-part series on substantive legitimate expectations, David Sykes analyses the courts' approach to judicial review challenges and examines how such claims can be defeated.

Governance: Promises, promises
In the first in a two-part series David Sykes analyses recent developments in relation to substantive legitimate expectations.

Health: Cheshire West kicked out of acute hospitals?
The Court of Appeal has delivered a landmark judgment on deprivation of liberty in the context of acute medical treatment that will be very welcome for providers of physical healthcare - for now at least. Ben Troke explains.

Health: Tackling bed blocking
With a hospital recently forced to obtain a court order to evict a patient, Kiran Bhogal, Emma Stockwell and Joanna Trewin consider the legal issues around bed blocking.

Housing: Housing allocation and the treatment of private sector tenants
Mathew McDermott analyses a High Court case that considered Article 14 ECHR and treating private sector tenants differently from secure tenants for the purposes of a local authority’s Part VI housing allocation scheme.

Housing: Homelessness decisions and the PSED
A recent Court of Appeal ruling on homelessness decisions and the public sector equality duty is a victory for substance over form, argue Kelvin Rutledge QC and Ryan Kohli.

Housing: Moving on out
The Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling on whether landlords are responsible for paying council tax on a property when a tenant has moved out before the tenancy agreement has formally ended. Justin Bates sets out the background to the case.

Housing: Out of the Blue
Scott Greenwood looks at the ramifications for social landlords' use of suspended possession orders after the Court of Appeal's decision in Cardiff County Council v Lee.

Information Law: Don’t be a data protection fundamentalist
An Advocate General has called for a common sense approach to interpreting data protection law. Robin Hopkins examines the AG's opinion.

Information Law: The right to data portability under GDPR
Ibrahim Hasan considers the new right to data portability under the GDPR and examines its impact on the public sector.

Information Law: GDPR and the role of the Data Protection Officer
The data protection officer is set to play a key role when the EU General Data Protection Regulaton comes into effect. Ibrahim Hasan explains why.

Information Law: New directions for Article 10
The European Court of Human Rights has reversed the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Kennedy case on rights of access to information. Richard Clayton QC explains why.

Information Law: The value of FOI
LexisPSL Public Law speaks to Adam Chapman, partner and head of public law at Kingsley Napley, about the potential expansion of the UK’s freedom of information (FOI) regime.

Licensing: High Court says no dice
Philip Kolvin QC sets out why the High Court rejected a legal challenge to Southampton City Council's grant of a large casino licence.

Licensing: The Alchemist of the North
A recent court case has provided a reminder that cumulative impact policies should generally act as a filter and not a bar, writes Philip Kolvin QC.

Licensing: Shisha smoking – a hot topic
Anna Mathias looks at Westminster City Council's approach to controlling shisha smoking and reports on an appeal where the authority has sought to use planning legislation.

Planning: Examining Local Plan reasons
The Planning Court has considered the approach taken by the Inspectors' guidelines to using short form reasoning when reporting on the soundness of development plans. William Upton analyses the outcome.

Planning: The NPPF heads to the Supreme Court
The case of Suffolk Coastal District Council v Hopkins Homes will take the National Planning Policy Framework before the Supreme Court for the very first time. Trevor Ivory and Jim McAvan look at what is at stake.
 
Planning: Local plans, neighbourhood plans and timing
Can neighbourhood plans come forward ahead of up to date local plans? Clare Parry reports on a recent Court of Appeal ruling.

Planning: Serving s. 215 notices
The Court of Appeal has issued an important ruling on the service provisions in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Local Government Act 1972. Heather Sargent sets out the key issues.

Planning: Air quality, habitats and alternative sites
The Court of Appeal has issued a ruling in an air quality and habitats challenge relating to Ashdown Forest. James Maurici QC explains the outcome.

Planning: Restrictive covenants and planning permission
Brendon Lee analyses the role of planning permissions in the removal of restrictive covenants.

Procurement: A third way?
A recent Court of Justice of the European Union ruling suggests potential new avenues for public to public co-operation, write James Clayton and Mark Fitzgibbon.

Procurement: Settlement agreements and the procurement rules
Daniel Milnes examines a Court of Justice of the European Union case on whether a settlement agreement can amount to a regulated modification of a contract.

Procurement: Insourcing: what do you need to know?
Mike Pierides and Caron Gosling look at the issues for local authorities considering bringing services back in-house.

Procurement: Engaging consultants for public contract specification
What steps/issues should a contracting authority consider when engaging a consultant to help develop a public contract specification? LexisPSL Public Law, in partnership with Peter Ware of Browne Jacobson LLP, explain.

Procurement: Procurement breaches changing the tender outcome
In this LexisPSL Public Law analysis, Fiona Scolding, barrister at Outer Temple Chambers, considers a recent case in relation to damages to be awarded on a procurement claim if the breach would have made a difference to the outcome of the tender.

Procurement: Termination clauses and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015
This LexisPSL Local Government article, produced in partnership with Mark Bassett of Dentons addresses the question of whether contracting authorities need to redraft their standard termination clauses for contracts subject to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Projects: Estate regeneration and the right to buy
A High Court judge recently dismissed a legal challenge over a Cabinet’s authorisation of the redevelopment of a large housing estate. James Goudie QC explains the ruling, including an important issue in relation to the Right to Buy.

Projects: Time for a review?
Alex Lawrence provides some top tips on how local authorities can go about evaluating the effectiveness of their alternative delivery vehicles.

Projects: Regeneration X: Failed CPOs
The Communities Secretary earlier this month refused to confirm a compulsory purchase order for a key regeneration scheme in London, prompting Southwark Council to announce a judicial review challenge. Simon Ricketts analyses the minister's decision.

Property: Validity of service charge demands
The Upper Tribunal determined the validity of an estimated service charge demand in light of the UT's earlier decision in Woelke. Katie Gray looks at the outcome.

Property: Assets of Community Value – is there any body there?
What exactly is an 'unincorporated body' for the purposes of the Assets of Community Value legislation? Simon Adamyk looks at the difficulties created by the wording and reviews the key tribunal decisions.

Property: Fresh points on Assets of Community Value
Christopher Cant examines the key learning points from the latest batch of rulings in relation to assets of community value.

Property: The cost of compulsorily acquiring land
How much does it cost a local authority to compulsorily acquire land? Chris Skinner explains in his latest article on CPOs.

Property: Using compulsory purchase powers to bring forward development on allocated sites
In the third article in a series on CPOs, Chris Skinner examines the use of compulsory purchase powers to bring forward development on allocated sites.

Property: Housing estate regeneration and CPOs
Chris Skinner examines the vital role for compulsory purchase in the regeneration of housing estates.

Regulatory: Consistently packing a punch
Vicki Teece looks at the impact of the toughter environmental sentencing guidelines that were introduced in 2014.

Regulatory: Accidents and control of premises
James Buchanan and Lewis MacDonald analyse a recent case where the Health & Safety Executive brought proceedings against the freeholders of commercial properties where accidents had occurred.

Transport & Highways: Standards of highway maintenance
This LexisPSL Local Government article, produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors, examines how the quality of highway maintenance required of those responsible for it depends almost entirely on the expected ordinary traffic on the highway in question.
 
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