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NEWS HEADLINES

Tri-borough shared service set to end as two councils serve notice
High-profile shared service arrangements set to come to end with Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea deciding to serve notice, blaming Hammersmith & Fulham for uncertainty

Council criticised over role in case where mother took children abroad
County criticised by Local Government Ombudsman over errors – including failure to obtain legal advice and to alert border agencies – in case where mother took her children to Australia without their father's consent

Partner cannot inherit tenancy after relationship interrupted, judges rule
Long-term partner of deceased council tenant cannot inherit tenancy where relationship was interrupted, Court of Appeal rules

Council loses Court of Appeal HMO battle over bedroom sizes and students
City council loses its bid in Court of Appeal to challenge term of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences restricting occupation of bedrooms to particular type of occupier

Judge quashes decision to designate Bromley town centre as housing zone
High Court judge quashes decision by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to designate Bromley Town Centre as housing zone, which would have seen £27m in GLA funding allocated

Uber driver fined and ordered to pay costs after illegally plying for hire
Borough council successfully prosecutes Uber driver for illegally plying for hire in town centre
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Guardians and IROs warn of danger of 'collusion' over Cafcass/ADCS working agreement
Nagalro and the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers become latest organisations to question publicly agreement reached by Cafcass and Association of Directors of Children’s Services on how social workers in both local authorities and those acting as guardians in family proceedings can better work together during care proceedings and pre-proceedings family court

Court of Appeal rules against twin sisters over occupation of council flat
Twins who did not occupy council flat as their main residence were not entitled to remain there having built up substantial rent arrears, Court of Appeal says

Council secures repayment of controversial £300,000 grant to law firm
Bolton Council secures repayment of £300,000 grant made to Asons Solicitors using emergency powers, after it emerged that law firm had sold its business and ceased trading.

LGO raps council over failure to provide decision over homeless status
Ombudsman sharply criticises London borough, accusing it of having “systemic problems” after woman was turned away five times without receiving decision on her homeless status
DON'T DELAY:  Some closing dates are imminent, go to Public Law Jobs:
SECURE A TRAINING CONTRACT: Apply to Brent (3 posts; closing: 31 March) and Leicester (2 posts; closing: 2 April).

MORE NEWS STORIES

Law Society launches mental capacity accreditation for Court of Protection
Chancery Lane sets up new mental capacity accreditation for legal representatives serving Court of Protection

District council to challenge decisions by planning inspector on wind turbines
North Norfolk to challenge Planning Inspectorate’s decision to allow appeals against two refusals of planning permission for wind turbines

Council secures repayment of controversial £300,000 grant to law firm
Bolton secures repayment of £300,000 grant made to Asons Solicitors using emergency powers, after it emerged that law firm had sold its business and ceased trading

Ombudsman calls on Welsh public bodies to tackle ‘fear and blame culture’
The “fear and blame” culture within Welsh public sector bodies must be tackled if lessons are to be learnt from complaints, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales says

Supreme Court refuses to hear case on council tax where tenant moves out
Panel of judges refuse to grant Leeds City Council permission to appeal key ruling over whether landlords are responsible for paying council tax on property when tenant has moved out before tenancy has formally ended

See all of our most recent news stories
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Isle of Wight Council to procure contract for legal services
Hill Dickinson bolsters health team with commercial partner hire
Land Registry to appoint single provider for external legal services
Tender launched for £2.55m legal advice on electricity project

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MORE NEWS STORIES

HB Public Law takes on five trainees as volumes of work grow
Shared legal practice recruits five trainees – its first intake for number of years – in response to growing volumes of work (On Public Law Today)

Campaigners win go-ahead for challenge to LGPS rules on divestment
Judge grants campaigners permission for judicial review challenge to changes to rules governing Local Government Pension Schemes that purport to restrict divestment from Israel

Judges find NHS not to be in breach over man who left A&E before triage
NHS not in breach of its duty when man left accident and emergency department and subsequently suffered brain damage, Court of Appeal rules in split decision

Independent midwives take regulator to court in row over indemnity
Self-employed midwives take their regulator to judicial review over future of professional indemnity scheme
DPS
This week's analysis

English devolution
Richard Clayton QC analyses the complex scheme for the establishment of combined authorities under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 and considers the lessons from the Derbyshire County Council case.

The Upper Tribunal on Education, Health and Care plans
The Upper Tribunal has issued an important ruling on the education of young people with special educational needs. Tom Tabori highlights the key findings.

Clear as day – procurement and transparency
Jenny Beresford-Jones examines the latest version of the transparency principles for procurement issued by the Crown Commercial Service.

Care needed in applying local green belt policies
The Court of Appeal has quashed planning permission for a power installation on metropolitan open land. Roy Pinnock explains why it disagreed with the High Court.

Big changes afoot for summary licence reviews
Anna Mathias discusses significant changes to the summary reviews procedure which will come into force on 6 April.

Dismissal on grounds of ill health
Harmajinder Hayre looks at the lessons to be learned from a Court of Appeal ruling in an employment case which involved dismissal on the grounds of ill health.

The effects of Merrix on a paying party
A recent High Court decision on costs has caused significant concern among paying parties, writes Emma Robinett.

Top ups for local authority and CCG fees
Jonny Landau examines the issues for care home providers, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups in relation to topping up fees.

Any port in a storm?
Local authorities that manage municipal ports need to consider a wide range of legal issues, writes Lara Moore.


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Catch-up on recent articles on Local Government Lawyer and Public Law Today:

Adult Social Services: Claiming within time
A High Court judge recently refused to extend the limitation period for a £100,000-£150,000 damages claim against a local authority over an alleged deprivation of liberty. The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers explain why.

Adult Social Services: 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.

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.

Children: Secure accommodation orders - children or young people placed in Scotland
English local authorities looking to place children in secure accommodation in Scotland have faced significant legal hurdles. Lucia Clark and Anna Forsyth explain how they have been overcome.

Children: 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.

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.

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: Repairing potholes: the Court of Appeal view
The Court of Appeal recently issued an important ruling on the approach highways authorities should take towards repairing potholes. Steven Conway considers the implications.

Dispute Resolution: Challenging costs limits in Aarhus Convention claims
The CPR rules on ‘Aarhus Convention Claims’ have just changed. William Upton explains how the neat simplicity of the provisions have been replaced by rules that will allow for satellite litigation about costs. Access to environmental justice has just become more uncertain.

Dispute Resolution: 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.

Dispute Resolution: 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.
 
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: Academy conversions from within PFIs
David Wall examines the key issues raised in relation to academy conversions for schools within existing Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs).

Employment: TUPE – service provision changes and the ‘principal purpose’
Jason Braier looks at a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision on how and when to identify the principal purpose in relation to service provision changes.


Employment: New laws on industrial action
New laws in relation to industrial action came into force at the start of the month. Louise Singh sets out the most significant changes.

Employment: 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.

Employment: Religious dress bans
Religious dress bans can be lawful – at least under European law. Phil Allen reports on recent rulings from the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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.

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: The Casey Review into Opportunity and Integration
Paul Feild examines the implications for local government lawyers arising out of Dame Louise Casey's review into opportunity and integration.

Health: The Court of Protection and disputes over funding of services
Kiran Bhogal reports on the landmark Supreme Court decision on the role of the Court of Protection in disputes over provision of services.


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.

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: Double-edged sword: Can you have two possession orders at once?
In a recent case an interesting point arose around whether or not it was possible for a landlord under an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) to have two possession orders in respect of the same property at the same time. Richard Williams analyses the issue.

Information Law: Yet another subject access judgment…
Anya Proops QC analyses the latest ruling on subject access requests, this time from the Court of Appeal.

Information Law: 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.

Information Law: The practicalities of the GDPR: breach notification, consent
Robin Hopkins makes some observations on two important aspects of life under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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

Licensing: When can premises be closed by the council or the Police?
Kuljit Bhogal surveys the powers available to close commercial premises that are the source of anti-social behaviour.

Planning: The High Court on ‘stopgap’ affordable housing guidance
The High Court has allowed a challenge to the adoption of interim affordable housing guidance by a district council. Gregory Jones QC and Caroline Daly explain why.


Planning: Daylight/sunlight error fatal to permission
Roy Pinnock looks at the lessons to be learned after the High Court quashed a planning permission over an error of fact in a daylighting report.

Planning: 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.

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.
 
Procurement: Judicial review and procurement challenges
Is there a place for judicial review in procurement challenges? Colin Ricciardiello reports on an important case for contracting authorities.


Procurement: The essential activities test
A recent Court of Justice of the European Union ruling relating to the Teckal exemption will be of interest to contracting authorities considering alternative delivery structures and shared services, write Melanie Pears and Tim Care.

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.

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.

Property: Borrowing money and investing in property
Is it lawful and, if lawful, is it prudent for the local authority to borrow money to invest in land? Alec Samuels analyses the issues.


Property: Refurbishment works and business rates
In a decision that will be welcomed by developers and property owners, the Supreme Court has held that a commercial property undergoing extensive refurbishment works was effectively exempt from business rates. Petra Billing and Ian Brierley report.

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.

Regulatory: Prosecution of fly tipping
Jeremy Asher and Stephen Sadler examine the rise in fly-tipping incidents and the tools available to local authorities to tackle the issue.


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

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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