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Council wins Supreme Court case over unauthorised school absence
Supreme Court unanimously allows Isle of Wight Council’s appeal in high-profile case on unauthorised school absence where father took his daughter to Florida without permission from her headteacher

Council wins appeal case on translation costs in public law proceedings
Cost of translating court documents served in family public law proceedings may fall on one or other party depending on circumstances and cannot be decided in blanket manner, Court of Appeal says

Couple lose High Court enforcement battle over extent of house alteration
Surrey couple must demolish house that they extended on such large scale as to render it a new structure

Council defeats High Court challenge to masterplan and planning permissions
Planning Court judge dismisses three judicial review challenges to Newcastle City Council’s adoption of masterplan for major development and two subsequent grants of planning permission

Peers call for local authority licensing committees to be scrapped
Local authority licensing committees should be abolished and their responsibilities transferred to planning committees, House of Lords committee set up to scrutinise Licensing Act 2003 urges

LLG Southern Branch begins procurement of £4.3m legal services framework
Southern Branch of Lawyers in Local Government kicks off procurement of legal services framework worth estimated £4.3m over three years (On Public Law Today)
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Locum lawyers have consistently been the solution for local authorities in times of increased workload or staff shortages.  And as most working in local government will know, from April 2017, IR35 is changing. This has now created a dilemma for many local authorities who rely on locums to provide additional support. Read more...

Judge given advice on conduct after speech criticising Election Court ruling
Recorder and judge who publicly criticised Election Commissioner’s decision in 2015 to declare election of Lutfur Rahman as mayor of Tower Hamlets void has been given formal advice on his future conduct

Routine denial of access to court file in procurement claims is wrong: judge
Practice where all public procurement claims are being marked on court file as "private", so that access to court file in such cases is being routinely denied, is wrong in principle, judge in charge of Technology and Construction Court rules

Council faces complaint to competition watchdog over incinerator contract
Community-led recycling organisation submits complaint to Competition and Markets Authority claiming that county council’s contract with incinerator company breaks competition law
Council loses court battle over recovering repair costs from leaseholder
City council was wrong to seek recovery of repair costs from leaseholder in situation where it had received financial contribution for works from third party, Court of Appeal rules
DON'T DELAY:  Some closing dates are imminent, go to Public Law Jobs:
USE YOUR KNOWLEDGE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The Law Society is looking to appoint solicitors to its policy committees to share their expertise. Closing: 12:00 on 10 April (Monday).


Local authorities launch legal challenge over plans to downgrade hospital

Group of local authorities launch judicial review challenge over what they described as “confusing and flawed” consultation process on plans to downgrade services at local hospital

Councils urge Government to close ‘legal loophole’ on self-contained flats
Local Government Association calls on ministers to close “legal loophole” which allows landlords to convert properties into multiple tiny “units” without planning permission in bid to secure maximum level of housing benefit payments

Mediation "effective at reducing FTT appeals over SEND disagreements"
Review of England’s disagreement resolution arrangements for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) finds mediation to be effective in reducing number of appeals to First-tier Tribunal

City to transfer voluntarily running of children services to outside company
Sunderland City Council becomes first local authority in country to transfer voluntarily day to day running of children's services out of its control

Ministers push ahead with brownfield site registers and permission in principle
Councils will have to produce and maintain up-to-date, publicly available registers of brownfield sites available for housing locally, Housing and Planning Minister confirms

See all of our most recent news stories

Gowling WLG to advise on Arden Cross HS2 interchange site
Housing law specialist Salmon joins Field Court
LLG Southern Branch to procure £4.3m legal services framework

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One in three councils targeting rough sleepers with enforcement: Crisis
More than one in three councils (36%) are targeting rough sleepers with enforcement measures such as Criminal Behaviour Orders and Public Space Protection Orders, research by national homelessness charity finds

Mr Justice Holgate named Planning Liaison Judge
Mr Justice Holgate appointed as Planning Liaison Judge by President of the Queen’s Bench Division, to oversee running of Planning Court

Behrens becomes Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Rob Behrens takes up position of Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and chair of organisation, which provides independent and impartial complaint handling service for complaints that have not been resolved by NHS in England and UK government departments

Business and Property Courts to be launched in Birmingham
New Business and Property Courts - combining Chancery Division with specialist courts of Queen’s Bench Division, Technology and Construction, and Mercantile courts - to be launched in Birmingham

FOI requests point to wide variation in appeal success over parking fines
Freedom of Information enquiries by Press Association reveal ‘postcode lottery’ in parking fine appeal success
This week's analysis

Lessons from Edinburgh Schools PFI
A recent report into the Edinburgh Schools PFI contains important lessons for public sector clients, writes Louise Jobling.

HMO licence conditions and types of occupier
Can HMO licence conditions restrict occupation to a type of occupier, such as a student? Sarah Salmon reports on a recent Court of Appeal case.

Paint a picture - do you see an employee or a contractor?
Responsibility for determination of employment status under IR35 shifts from off-payroll workers to public bodies this week. Azhar Ghose analyses what is a significant shift for legal services.

When does notice of termination take effect?
The Court of Appeal recently ruled that where an employment contract is silent on the point, notice takes effect on actual receipt of the notice by the employee. Jenny Marley analyses the judgment.

Demolitions in Conservation Areas
The High Court has decided what the judge described as a “small but important point” regarding the proper approach to the demolition of walls in Conservation Areas. Isabella Tafur explains the outcome.

The Supreme Court on LASPO and recovery of success fees and ATE premium top-ups
Claimants have secured a huge win in the Supreme Court in relation to success fee and after the event legal expenses insurance premium recovery, writes Caroline Cousins.

Human rights challenges and the social housing rules
The Court of Appeal has rejected a challenge under the Human Rights Act 1998 to the legislation governing the right to succeed to a secure tenancy. Ben Lask explains why.

Do actions speak louder than words?
Ben Gant examines a recent case where a city council arranged for a company to place 'guardians' in a former care home it owned.

Deprivation of liberty on discharge: conditional discharge and CTOs
The Court of Appeal has handed down an important ruling in relation to deprivations of liberty, conditional discharge and community treatment orders. Louise Wilson analyses the judgment.

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

Adult Social Services: 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.

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: 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.

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: 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.

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: 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.

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: 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.

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

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: 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.

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: 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.

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: 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.

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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