Single Family Court and 26-week time limit come into being

22/04/14: The single Family Court for England and Wales and the 26-week time limit for the completion of care proceedings have come into force today (22 April) as part of what have been described as the largest family justice reforms for a generation.Read more...

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Localism Act Survey Cover 160pxThe Localism Act - Two Years On

Why has the general power of competence yet to inspire local authorities to innovate their way through austerity? What has been the effect of the revised standards regime? When will communities begin to assert their rights over services and assets? And what are the implications for local authority legal teams? For answers to these questions and more, please click here to see the results and analysis of our exclusive survey, produced in association with Freeth Cartwright LLP.

 

Latest Stories

Justice Secretary hits out at "inappropriate" use of judicial review
22/04/14: Society is “too legalistic” and the legal system is being “exploited inappropriately by pressure groups with a political point to make”, the Justice Secretary has claimed.

Pickles threatens five councils over alleged breaches of publicity code
22/04/14: The Communities Secretary has threatened five London councils with legal directions over alleged breaches of the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity.

Council secures first prosecution for money laundering over gambling den
22/04/14: A London borough has become the first council in the UK successfully to prosecute an individual for money laundering in relation with the running of an illegal poker den.

North East council chooses four law firms for claims-handling advice
22/04/14: A city council in the North East has named four law firms to provide legal services and advice on handling claims.

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Project thumb iStock 000000224397XSmallThe way to prosperity?
Are Combined Local Authorities and Economic Prosperity Boards (‘EPBs’) the missing link for local authority regeneration initiatives? Rob Hann reports.

Supreme-court-building-med thumbMoJCheshire West: the hidden cost
Sheree Green looks at some of the likely costs to councils arising as a result of the Supreme Court's ruling on deprivations of liberty, and outlines some of the steps they should consider taking.

Challenges in the Consumer Rights Bill
Alan Conroy identifies some of the key issues arising for local authorities and their trading standards teams out of the Consumer Rights Bill.

No minor matter
The breadth of discretion in respect of applications for minor variations under S.41A and B of the Licensing Act 2003 has been considered and confirmed, writes Josef Cannon.

State aid, "preparatory works" and infrastructure projects
Does the European Commission's approval for a German infrastructure scheme involving grants to local authorities mark a shift away from the decision in the Leipzig Halle case? Alex Kynoch reports.

Children and Families Act 2014: implications for local authorities
Olwen Dutton and Clare Taylor outline some of the key provisions for local authorities arising out of the Children and Families Act in relation to vulnerable children.

Setting planning fees
Should local authorities be allowed to set their own planning fees? Polly Reynolds examines recent developments.

Recent changes to the CIL regime: a summary
Jonathan Darby provides a summary of recent changes that affected the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Consultation - backing no horses
David Hart QC looks at the lessons to be learned from a recent Court of Appeal ruling that a council had failed to consult properly on the closure of a day care centre.

The meaning of "public expenditure"
A Court of Appeal ruling on the Education Act 1996 and how the words 'public expenditure' should be interpreted is important for future cases, writes Aimee Fox.

Hobson's choice: public procurement and competition law
A recent High Court case should serve as a reminder of the need to consider whether competition law issues may be relevant when organising a tender process, argues Helen Prandy.

Unknown causes of injuries and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
A recent case is rapidly becoming the lead authority in Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and “unknown” causes. Tina Cook QC and Katie Phillips analyse the High Court’s ruling and the wider canvas.

Anti-social Behaviour Bill – nearly there!
Alex Loxton highlights some key issues on the pending anti-social behaviour reforms.

Stating your grounds
A recent case has stressed the importance of landlords stating grounds relied on in notices, writes Sharon Garrity.

A new dawn for public sector bonds
In the light of the recent North Tyneside PFI Housing Project, Paul McDermott looks at the scope for the public sector to use bond finance for long term capital projects.

Primary activity, betting shops and s. 153 of the Gambling Act
Gerald Gouriet QC and George Mackenzie take issue with a London borough's interpretation of the outcome of judicial review proceedings relating to primary activity and a betting shop.

Whistleblowing, detrimental treatment and protected disclosures
Colin Godfrey examines a recent EAT case on the right to protection for whistleblowers and detriments suffered as a result of having made a protected disclosure.

Councils and LGO recommendations
A judge recently ruled that a council's decision to pay a developer only 20% of the £250,000 recommended by the Local Government Ombudsman was lawful. Nicholas Dobson analyses the case.

The Planning Court comes into being
Richard Harwood OBE QC analyses the introduction of a Planning Court this week and outlines the key changes.

Transactional decisions - a European perspective
In a significant ruling for trading standards law and practice, the Court of Justice of the European Union has clarified the meaning of a 'transactional decision' by a consumer. Jonathan Spicer examines the judgment.

The Duty of Candour - and general transparency
The Government has published details of the proposed statutory Duty of Candour for health and adult social care providers, plus a new general transparency duty. Corinne Slingo, Tracey Longfield and Belinda Dix examine the key points.

Local authority control of charities - what are the limits?
The ties between a local authority and a charity were the subject of a recent Charity Commission report. Rachel Tonkin looks at the issues raised and the lessons to be learned.

Re B and what followed — the end of the story
Last year the Supreme Court handed down a key ruling on placing a child in an adoptive placement. Hannah Markham reviews recent developments following the case.

Lap dance no more
In two recent decisions the courts have affirmed the wide powers enjoyed by licensing authorities to refuse renewals of licences for lap dancing clubs. Ranjit Bhose QC, Philip Kolvin QC and Josef Cannon review the judgments.

The Better Care Fund – what is in it for housing providers?
What opportunities does the Better Care Fund offer housing providers? David Owens explains.

Retrospective validation, exceptional circumstances and Whitley
The High Court recently upheld approvals for Cardiff’s Energy from Waste scheme. Simon Bird QC analyses the case.

Further chinks in the armour of town and village green status
Polly Reynolds analyses the likely impact of a key Supreme Court ruling on rectification of the register of town and village greens.

Social value and public procurement – a legal guide
Gayle Monk reports on a new guide to the Public Services Social Value Act 2012 and the opportunities the legislation provides to authorities.

Storeyville: houses in multiple occupation
The High Court has confirmed the scope of the licensing regime for houses in multiple occupation. Suzanne Ornsby QC and George Mackenzie explain why.

Procurement breaches and remedies
Richard Binns looks at the lessons to be learned from communications giant BT's challenge to the award by NHS Scotland of a £110m contract to Capita.

Demolition: permitted development rights or planning permission?
A recent case involving one of the Essex districts sparked questions about the primacy of planning permission against permitted development rights in relation to demolition. Jacqueline Millward and Matthew Fox report.

Damages for deprivation of liberty
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street consider what can be learned from two damages settlements for deprivations of liberty.

Avoiding increased risk on dismissal procedures
Julian Hoskins analyses a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling on the so-called Johnson exclusion zone and an employer's ability to make amends.

Application forms and lawful uses
The High Court has considered whether a local planning authority had lawfully substituted - under s. 191(4) TCPA 1990 - a lawful use of another description for that claimed in the application form. Peter Wadsley considers the case.

Refusing accommodation because of a misunderstanding
The Court of Appeal has upheld an appeal from an applicant who rejected an offer of accommodation while under a misapprehension that was only revealed after the refusal. Emily Orme analyses the case.

It's a sin to tell a lie
Jon Baines looks at the data protection issues raised by councils' use of voice risk analysis when benefit claimants are on the telephone.

Migrant children: s. 17 support for members of extended family
The High Court has dealt firmly with three arguments quite commonly relied upon in requests by NRPF individuals for support and accommodation under the Children Act 1989. Jonathan Auburn and Ben Tankel review the ruling.

Confiscation and local authorities
Following a recent decision in Norwich Crown Court, Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC and Richard Heller consider the problems faced by local authorities in recovering costs in significant confiscation cases.

Article 8 - a chink in the landlord's armour
Leon Glenister examines an important Court of Appeal ruling that upheld the dismissal of possession proceedings on human rights grounds.

European children, BIIR and reporting restriction orders
William Tyler considers recent guidance from the President of the Family Division and issues surrounding reporting restriction orders, European children, BIIR and the Vienna Convention.

We love local government
Sam McGinty and Gurbinder Sangha of the Junior Professionals Special Activity Area of Lawyers in Local Government, want to hear from junior lawyers, trainees, paralegals and others about their experiences.

Getting capacity right
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street examine a case concerning the crossover between the inherent jurisdiction and the CoP.

Nuisance and planning revisited
Martin Goodall analyses the implications for planning of a very significant Supreme Court ruling on the law of nuisance.

A hard bargain
Huw Rolant Jones and Sally Isaacs report on unions' use of a relatively unknown TULRCA provision in negotiations with employers over changes to terms and conditions.

Public sector pensions, employer contributions and the cost cap
The Treasury has announced higher employer contributions towards public sector pensions from 2015. Neil Bhan considers the move and looks at the details of the employer cost cap.

(Probably) the first group action for damages under the DPA
In December 2013 a group legal action was settled against a council following breaches of the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act. Anna Thwaites, who acted for the claimants, explains the legal basis for the claims.

The Inquiries Act 2005 - fit for purpose?
This month saw the publication of a Lords select committee report on the law and practice relating to public inquiries into matters of public concern and, in particular, the Inquiries Act 2005. Emma Ireton looks at the findings and recommendations.

Business Against Crime schemes: second bite
Licensing authorities looking to encourage business crime reduction schemes can take comfort from a High Court ruling, writes Philip Kolvin QC.

What's happening with personal licences?
Paddy Whur reviews recent developments in relation to personal licences and looks for clues to what might happen next.

Neighbourhood forums and exclusion of sites
The Court of Appeal has rejected a legal challenge to a council's decision to exclude key sites from a neighbourhood forum's area. Suzanne Ornsby QC, Morag Ellis QC and Isabella Tafur explain why.

Teckal and in-house arrangements
When is an in-house arrangement a Teckal company? David Hansom looks at an important High Court ruling involving a council and an ALMO.

Active case management post-Jackson – avoiding sanction
Three recent cases have emphasised again the need for active case management. Sarah Appleby outlines the lessons to be learned.

The cap fits?
In the first in a two-part series analysing Court of Appeal judgments on the Government’s welfare reforms, Dean Underwood looks at a ruling that rejected a challenge to the benefit cap.

Religion or belief discrimination: key case law
What amounts to a protected “philosophical belief” under the Equality Act 2010? Graham Richardson assesses a recent Employment Tribunal decision and analyses the case law.

Core stability
The High Court recently upheld a district council’s core strategy. Paul Shadarevian and Emma Dring explain the importance of the ruling.

Why reasonableness matters
A recent adverse High Court ruling against a council over its decision to terminate a claimant law firm's lease is a salutary reminder of the need for authorities to justify their public law decisions, writes Stephen McNamara.

Social care obligations to travellers
Jonathan Auburn and Benjamin Tankel consider the issues raised by a recent High Court ruling on the social care obligations of councils to travellers.

FOIA disclosures: ‘motive blindness’ and risks to mental health
In the light of a recent tribunal ruling, Robin Hopkins considers the question of 'motive blindness' in relation to the Freedom of Information Act regime.

The sound and the fury
Andy Woods looks at a ground breaking deal in which a nightclub has ensured that a 41-storey tower block development nearby implements its own noise control measures to prevent complaints from residents.

Fixed terms and social landlords
Arthur Moore analyses some of the key legal issues surrounding the nature and content of fixed tenancies, with a particular focus on those granted by housing associations.

Flexi-time and unused hours
Claire Deane analyses a key Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling for local authorities and other public bodies that operate flexi-time schemes.

Procedural defects, licence review proceedings and Funky Mojoe
In the Funky Mojoe case the High Court has ruled that procedural defects did not invalidate licence review proceedings. Gary Grant explains why.

The Greasy Pole....
Frustrated at the lack of senior positions available in local government legal practice? Nicholas Dobson gives advice on how to boost your career.

The Care Bill, eligibility criteria and consultation
Jonathan Auburn and Benjamin Tankel examine the introduction through the Care Bill of new eligibility criteria and consider whether local authorities will need to consult and conduct equalities impact analysis.

A “child in need” … Or not?
Tom Amraoui looks at the issues raised by a High Court ruling on whether a local authority was entitled to conclude that a family without immigration status was not destitute.

Don’t let the tale wag the dog
Magnus Boyd looks at the key issues that arise for local government bodies when trying to manage their reputation during litigation.

Constraints on selling public land - the Crichel Down Rules
The Crichel Down Rules can constrain the sale of public land. Gary Philpott looks at the key issues they raise.

To permit or not to permit? Part Two
The publication of PINS guidance on whether permitted development rights apply to dwelling houses used as houses in multiple occupation has failed to deal with a troubling issue, writes John Pugh-Smith.

Applying the sequential test
Clare Hardy reports on a High Court case where it was claimed that a local authority had misunderstood or failed to apply the sequential test when granting a planning permission.

Shoesmith considers appeal after High Court setback
27/04/10: Sharon Shoesmith is considering an appeal after losing her judicial review action over her sacking in the aftermath of the Baby Peter case, and will pursue her tribunal claim as judge suggests that Haringey's procedures looked unfair.
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