This page draws together a monthly selection of articles and features supplied by LexisNexis for publication on Local Government Lawyer and Public Law Today. We also showcase other publications and resources that LexisNexis produces to support lawyers working in the public sector. To see all articles, please click here.
Slide background

Errors in major procurement projects

Energy iStock 000010421988XSmall 146x219In association with LexisNexis Public Law, Richard Hanstock considers the lessons from a high-profile dispute over the procurement of a contract to decommission nuclear facilities.

An independent inquiry has been launched into the flawed public procurement procedure concerning a major public contract for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. The Government terminated the Magnox contract and settled related litigation with claimants EnergySolutions and Bechtel.

Original news

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) determined that the amount of work needed to decommission 12 redundant Magnox sites was so much larger than specified in its contract with Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP) it amounted to a ‘material change’ in the terms specified during the tender process. The NDA therefore decided to terminate its contract with CFP with two years notice. The contract will be terminated in September 2019, after five years rather than the full 14-year term, and arrangements made for a new contract to be put in place for the remaining works. The NDA agreed to pay out close to £100m to settle the cases against it in relation to the award of the contract and withdrew its appeal. An independent inquiry into the 2012 public procurement process will be conducted.

What is the background to the Magnox decommissioning contract and related public procurement challenge?

The NDA presided over a complex public procurement exercise for the award of a major public contract for the decommissioning of 12 nuclear sites. The procurement process ran between 2012 and 2014, when the preferred bidder, Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP), was selected by a very narrow margin―rival consortium bidder Reactor Site Solutions (RSS) achieved a score of 85.42% against CFP’s 86.48%.

RSS issued three sets of proceedings against the NDA in 2014 and 2015, alleging various breaches of the public procurement rules. These claims were heard together by Fraser J, who gave a lengthy and damning judgment in July 2016 (see: EnergySolutions EU Ltd v Nuclear Decommissioning Authority [2016] EWHC 1988 (TCC)[2016] All ER (D) 16 (Aug)), identifying a wide range of failures by the NDA in the procurement process. The Technology and Construction Court found that CFP should have been disqualified from the competition for failing to meet two threshold requirements, and in any event RSS would have won the tender process, but for a series of manifest errors that would otherwise have seen RSS achieve a score of 91.48%, against a reduced score for CFP of 85.56%.

The NDA made an interim application for a preliminary ruling that the failure by RSS to begin its first claim before the contract had been entered into broke the chain of causation between any breach by the NDA and the loss suffered by RSS, because a timely claim would have engaged a statutory bar on the NDA entering into the contract with CFP. The Supreme Court ultimately rejected this argument. The proceedings settled shortly before the Supreme Court ruling. A written ministerial statement of 27 March 2017 outlined a settlement figure costing the government in the region of £100m. Following this announcement, there was a sharp drop in the share price of Babcock International, one of the companies behind CFP.

An interesting side issue emerged shortly before hand-down by Fraser J. In July 2016, the NDA discovered that the claimant’s witnesses were to be paid six-figure bonuses in the event that the claim was successful. Following further cross-examination by the NDA, it applied to dismiss or re-try the claim because of these corrupt payments. Fraser J rejected this assessment, and found that dismissal or retrial would be ‘wholly disproportionate’ (para [934]) and ‘opportunistic’ (para [939]) — the application coming five days after the receipt by the NDA of a draft judgment on its liability (paras [62] and [939]). The existence of this arrangement was held not to go to the witnesses’ competence, but to the weight to be afforded to their evidence — ultimately, Fraser J found that there was no such impact on the facts.

What do you think led to the NDA decision to terminate the Magnox contract and withdraw its appeal in the related legal challenge after it was heard by the Supreme Court?

The written ministerial statement identified two ‘separate issues’ deserving of examination:

  • the 2012 procurement exercise (which was ‘flawed’ and ‘defective’), and
  • the 2014 contract it had produced (which had ‘proved unsustainable’)

The issues with the public procurement exercise have been well-aired over the course of the litigation, but the latter issue is rather more opaque. The minister described the problem as stemming from ‘a defective procurement, with significant financial consequences’, given the terms of the judgment of Fraser J, and the magnitude of the settlement figures, this is something of an understatement. An independent inquiry has been established in order that the reasons for the failures be ‘exposed and understood’, with a view both to learning lessons for the future and to pointing fingers of blame.

What were the key grounds raised in the legal challenges which have now been settled?

The key issues in the litigation concerned:

  • the applicability of the Francovich conditions to the procurement regulations (see Francovich v Italy, Case C-6/ 90), and
  • whether the failure to issue proceedings during the statutory standstill period amounted to a break in the chain of causation

On the first issue, the Supreme Court has now confirmed that the relevant public procurement regulations are to be read as providing for damages only where the Francovich conditions are satisfied — that is, where:

  • the rule confers rights on individuals
  • the breach is ‘sufficiently serious’; and
  • there is a direct causal link between the breach and the loss

This overturns the finding by the Court of Appeal that a breach of the public procurement regulations is essentially a breach of statutory duty in domestic law, which is not subject to any ‘sufficiently serious’ threshold. The UK Supreme Court found that Parliament had intended to take only the minimum steps necessary to comply with EU law, and had not intended to ‘gold plate’ the EU Public Procurement Directive 2014/24/EU by expanding the right to damages beyond those claims that pass the Francovich threshold.

On the causation issue, the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, SI 2006/5 (and its successor, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, SI 2015/102) provide a standstill period during which, if a claim is begun by an unsuccessful bidder in the days following notification of a public procurement decision, the contracting authority cannot enter into a contract with the winning bidder without leave of the court. The Supreme Court found that a failure to commence proceedings within this standstill period does not break the chain of causation, and it is for the contracting authority (and, in practical terms, the winning bidder) to take the risk of entering into a contract after a defective public procurement process. In essence, the standstill period is a shield (for the losing bidder) and not a sword (for the contracting authority). As it was put by Lord Mance at para [56], the losing bidder ‘cannot be said to be acting unreasonably if it fails to stop the authority from perpetrating a breach of duty which the authority could itself stop perpetrating’.

This essentially turns the NDA’s argument on its head. The Supreme Court ruled that notwithstanding the statutory standstill period, it is for the contracting authority to bear the risk of implementing its decision where this is based on a flawed process—even if it is not aware, as in many cases it will not be, of any defect that might give rise to subsequent liability in damages. Although this potential liability is mitigated by the application of the Francovich conditions, and by the doctrines of manifest error and margin of appreciation, this ruling makes clear that contracting authorities face considerable litigation risk from defects in the procurement process. This underlines the importance of assurance, transparency, and self-policing in the administration of public procurement processes, and contracting authorities would be well advised to review their own processes with these aims in mind.

The impact of the settlement on the share price of Babcock International Group further indicates that the winning bidder bears some degree of commercial risk as well, suggesting that it would be prudent even for the successful bidder to satisfy itself that the public procurement exercise is not flawed. This may lead to closer scrutiny of public procurement processes as part of even the winning bidder’s due diligence processes.

Although the proceedings settled before judgment was handed down, the Supreme Court (at the parties’ request) went on to hand down judgment on 11 April 2017 (see Nuclear Decommissioning Authority v EnergySolutions EU Ltd [2017] UKSC 34[2017] All ER (D) 53 (Apr)). This is a welcome step, because the judgment does clarify important areas of uncertainty in procurement law. The settlement has no impact on the status of the Supreme Court ruling as authority.

The Supreme Court’s decision is the subject of separate analysis: Assessing the Supreme Court’s approach to public procurement challenges & remedies (NDA v EnergySolutions EU Ltd).

What are the terms of the independent inquiry into the Magnox procurement and when will it report?

The Holliday Inquiry, headed by former National Grid CEO Steve Holliday, is expected to report jointly to the Energy Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary. Its terms of reference are wide-ranging, and are not limited to the actions of the NDA and its subsidiaries, but also of other government departments. As well as setting out lessons for the future — in particular on the subject of governance and assurance, it may make any recommendations that it sees fit, including as to matters of discipline. This chimes with the expectation that the inquiry should not only expose the reasons for the various failures, but also indicate who should be held to account for these failures.

The epic judgment of Fraser J (see EnergySolutions EU Ltd v Nuclear Decommissioning Authority [2016] EWHC 1988 (TCC)[2016] All ER (D) 16 (Aug)) will be a most useful jumping-off point for the Holliday Inquiry. The High Court there set out, in grotesque detail, a series of public procurement failures by the NDA, particularly relating to transparency and accountability. In particular, Fraser J criticised even the contemplation by the NDA of ‘any policy that would involve the routine destruction of such important documents’ as contemporaneous notes created by subject matter experts scoring technical aspects of the competing bids. Remarkably, such a policy appears to have been motivated by a desire to reduce the volume of disclosable material in any subsequent procurement litigation (para [269]).

The High Court clarified that while there is a ‘margin of appreciation’ in relation to matters of technical judgment, the ‘manifest error’ threshold does not confer similar leeway in relation to obligations of equality or transparency (para [276]). Given these criticisms, I would expect the Holliday Inquiry to produce detailed guidance on record-keeping and transparency, notwithstanding the fact that this topic is not specifically framed in the terms of reference set out in the written ministerial statement.

No formal timetable has yet been announced for the Holliday Inquiry to report and further detail is unlikely to materialise in this parliamentary session, but in light of the judgment of Fraser J in particular, it would be surprising if the inquiry was to be especially protracted, notwithstanding its apparent breadth.

What can contracting authorities learn in the meantime?

The central messages that emerge from the litigation are that:

  • contracting authorities must be meticulous in their record-keeping and transparent in their public procurement processes; and
  • the margin of appreciation, even on technical issues, cannot excuse material error.

While the Francovich conditions should deter all but the most deserving claims, I expect this line of cases to renew confidence in the right to challenge public procurement decisions, and contracting authorities of all sizes should review their processes to identify opportunities to improve transparency and provide assurance at proportionate cost, so as to batten down the hatches against legal challenge.

Richard Hanstock is a barrister at Cornerstone Barristers.

For further information on the case law cited in this interview, see LexisNexis' UK public procurement case tracker.

The views expressed by Lexis Nexis' Legal Analysis interviewees are not necessarily those of the proprietor. This article was originally published in LexisPSL Public Law. If you would like to read more quality content like this, then register for a free 1 week trial of LexisPSL.

More content from LexisNexis

November 26, 2021

Costs order made against an intermediary (A local authority v Mother)

LexisPSL conduct a Family analysis on a case in which a Costs order was made against an intermediary (A local authority v Mother).
November 25, 2021

Court finds no duty to take past housing oversupply into account in assessing five-year target

LexisPSL conduct a planning analysis on the Tewkesbury BC v SSHCLG case, in which the court dismissed a challenge to an inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for a housing development.
November 19, 2021

Infrastructure planning - an error of law in the process of determining applications did not justify a quashing of the decisions

Joseph Cannon analyses the EFW Group Ltd v SSBEIS case, in which an error of law in the process of determining applications did not justify a quashing of the decisions.
November 12, 2021

Faith school legitimate expectation and discrimination challenges dismissed

Adam Heppinstall QC and Jack Castle explore a case in which the court dismissed legitimate expectations, discrimination and irrationality challenges against the decision to move a Sikh-faith Academy to another Trust.
November 04, 2021

Issuing and serving the claim form

Rebecca Lawrence considers the pitfalls and potential relief in procurement challenges and beyond (CitySprint UK v Barts Health NHS Trust).
November 01, 2021

Local Authority Insight Series - Effectively tackling ASB

Join expert Housing barrister, Kuljit Bhogal and Susan Taylor, Senior Solicitor at Capsticks as they outline the latest thinking for social landlords on effectively tackling ASB.
October 15, 2021

Local Authority Insight Series - the Liberty Protection Safeguards

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Alex Ruck-Keene and Emma Harrison look at how the new Liberty Protection Safeguards will work in practice when they replace the Deprivations of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) next year.
October 14, 2021

Who examines the examiners?

Graeme Watson of Clyde & Co LLP considers the role of case examiners for the General Medical Council and the extent to which their decisions are open to challenge by disappointed patients.
October 07, 2021

Unregulated placements for children under 16

Can the High Court to still authorise, under its inherent jurisdiction, the deprivation of liberty of a child under the age of 16 following amendments to the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010? Tahmina Rahman, barrister at 1GC Family Law, considers the issues.
September 30, 2021

Social care reforms in England - how will they work in practice?

Nicola Gunn of Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP, in association with Lexis PSL, considers what the reforms will mean in practice for those who require care.
September 24, 2021

The recovery of tuition fees

Imogen Proud analyses the decision of the High Court in SS Education v CCP Graduate School Ltd to deny the recovery of tuition fees under the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011.
September 17, 2021

Local Government - new starter guide

The following LexisNexis practice note is aimed at trainee solicitors and those who are new to Local Government and explains the role of local government lawyers and provides an overview of the primary legal disciplines they will encounter.
September 07, 2021

Homelessness and eligibility

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note, produced in partnership with Iris Ferber of 42 Bedford Row, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the eligibility of applicants for housing assistance.
September 03, 2021

What is climate change litigation?

The following LexisNexis Environment practice note produced in partnership with Katharina Theil of Leigh Day and Richard Lord QC of Brick Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information on the rise of climate change related litigation.
August 27, 2021

Local Authority Insight Series - Local Authority Duties in Intercountry Adoption

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Ruth Cabeza, barrister and author of the text, International Adoption, from Harcourt Chambers and Joy Hopkinson, Principal Social Care Lawyer from London Borough of Lambeth, discuss the issues for local authorities dealing with overseas placements both in a private and public law context.
August 26, 2021

Gambling law: at-a-glance guide

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Carl Rohsler of Memery Crystal provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the legal issues most pertinent to the gambling industry.
August 19, 2021

Delivering 21st-century customer experience in the public sector

Rachel Buchanan examines how legal teams should support their authorities in delivering tailored services at a time of restrained resources.
August 05, 2021

The Public Law Outline 2014

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the operation of the Public Law Outline 2014 during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
July 29, 2021

IR35 and off-payroll workers

The following LexisNexis Tax practice note, produced in partnership with David Smith of DLA Piper, explains the IR35 regime which applies where either a public authority or a private sector entity engages a worker via an intermediary.
July 22, 2021

Food advertising

This LexisNexis Practice Note, produced in partnership with Katrina Anderson of Osborne Clarke, considers the law and practice applicable to food advertising to consumers.
July 15, 2021

CQC enforcement tracker

This Practice Note from LexisNexis provides a summary of key prosecutions for health and social care offences brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England since 2015. This tracker is intended to assist practitioners in monitoring the type of sentences which are being imposed for breaches of health and social care legislation.
July 09, 2021

Good faith in commercial agreements

The following Commercial practice note from LexisNexis examines the concept of good faith and the extent to which it is applied in commercial agreements.
June 28, 2021

Local Authority Insight Series - Climate Change

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: What are the legal powers that local authorities can use to fight climate change and what legal obstacles do they face? Rachel McKoy, Stephen Cirell, Richard Honey QC and James Lupton consider the problems.
June 18, 2021

Possession - anti-social behaviour, nuisance and crime

This Local Government practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the options available to social housing landlords when taking possession proceedings against tenants engaged in anti-social behaviour.
June 11, 2021

Unlawful eviction and quiet enjoyment

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Laura Tweedy of Hardwicke Chambers explains what unlawful eviction is, how and when it may arise from a civil and criminal perspective, the civil remedies available and potential consequential causes of action, in particular a breach of a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.
June 04, 2021

Anti-social behaviour - powers to control behaviour

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Hardwicke Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the powers available under The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
May 28, 2021

Introduction to public contracts procurement

The following LexisNexis Local Government practice note, produced in partnership with Katherine Calder of DAC Beachcroft, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information providing an introduction to public contracts procurement.
May 21, 2021

Housing disrepair for local authority landlords - a practical guide

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note, produced in partnership with Alexander Bastin of Hardwicke Chambers, discusses disrepair claims in relation to social housing, setting out the legal basis for a claim and other the relevant factors that need to be considered.
April 16, 2021

Education tracker

This Local Government practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering key upcoming developments of interest to Education lawyers from early years foundation stage (EFYS) to further and higher education.
April 09, 2021

Vulnerable persons - participation and evidence in family proceedings

The following Family practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the participation of vulnerable people and evidence in family proceedings.
March 31, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - implications for property

The following Property practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the implications for landlords of the Covid-19 pandemic.
March 19, 2021

Brexit - key legislation explained

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Dr. Kieran Laird of Gowling WLG provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the key legislation governing Brexit.
March 12, 2021

Transparency in the family courts

Ths following Family practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering recent developments in the transparency of family court proceedings.
March 05, 2021

Use of confidential information in civil proceedings

This Dispute Resolution Practice Note from LexisNexis looks at the status and use of confidential information in civil proceedings including what confidential information is, how to protect confidential information and how confidentiality may be lost.
February 18, 2021

Brexit Timeline Tracker

This Practice Note sets out a timeline of key events and updates in the post-transition period, focussing in particular on the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and associated agreements.
February 11, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Children’s Social Care Tracker

This tracker is focused on children’s social care and is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) and children’s social care, where relevant to local government lawyers.
February 05, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Healthcare Tracker

This tracker is focused on healthcare and is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) and healthcare.
January 29, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Governance Tracker

This tracker from LexisNexis Local Government intended to be used to track the most recent key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) local authority governance, where relevant to local government lawyers.
January 21, 2021

Data protection under the EU GDPR

The following Information Law precedent from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering data protection after the final withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
January 14, 2021

Commencing criminal proceedings - applying for the issue of a summons

The following Corporate Crime practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the correct procedure for bring a criminal prosecution.
December 18, 2020

Education tracker

This Lexis®PSL Local Government future developments tracker is intended to be used to track key upcoming developments of interest to education lawyers covering the entire spectrum of education from early years foundation stage (EFYS) to further and higher education.
December 11, 2020

Termination for breach of contract

The following LexisNexis Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the identification and the process and implications of ending a contract due to breach.
December 03, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – implications for property

The following Property practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the implications for commercial and residential property of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
November 27, 2020

Local Government Brexit tracker

This tracker is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to Brexit relevant to local government lawyers. It is arranged alphabetically by topic and is designed to provide an easy reference point for relevant content for lawyers to support preparation for and implementation of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
November 20, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Managing the Workplace

The following LexisNexis Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the management of workplaces during the Coronavirus pandemic.
October 22, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Social Care Tracker

This LexisNexis tracker is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to COVID-19, where relevant to social care lawyers.
October 16, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - local government tracker

This LexisNexis tracker is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to COVID-19, where relevant to local government lawyers.
October 09, 2020

The Planning White Paper

LexisNexis looks at the government's proposals for a ‘whole new planning system for England’ in White Paper published for consultation, alongside interim reforms.
October 02, 2020

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The following LexisNexis Public Law guidance note, produced in partnership with Zoe Bedford of Ellis Whittam, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the scope of the Public Sector Equality Duty.
September 25, 2020

Housing disrepair for local authority landlords - a practical guide

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Alexander Bastin of Hardwicke, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information for local authorities covering all aspects of dealing with disrepair issues.
September 17, 2020

Employment law and Covid-19

This Employment guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering employment law issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
September 11, 2020

Introduction to Public Contracts Procurement

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Walker Morris, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering public contracts procurement, including the impact of Brexit.
September 04, 2020

Guide to Care Act 2014 repeals

The following LexisNexis Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering repealed legislation (in whole or in part), secondary legislation revoked (in whole or in part), relevant new secondary legislation and statutory guidance and directions cancelled.
August 21, 2020

Obtaining possession of a secure tenancy

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Karl King of Hardwicke Chambers, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the grounds on which and steps required to obtain possession of a secure tenancy.
August 14, 2020

Obstruction of highways

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox Solicitors, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering a wide variety of circumstances in which public highways may be obstructed and what measures are available to councils to deal with them.
August 07, 2020

LexisNexis Gross Legal Product (GLP) Index: Quantifying legal demand growth and the impact of COVID-19

LexisNexis has built a data model to track growth in demand for legal services – the Gross Legal Product Index, or GLP. The report provides a framework for quantifying the impact of COVID-19 on your sector.
July 31, 2020

COVID-19: What’s worrying lawyers?

Elizabeth Rimmer of LawCare examines some of the issues encountered by lawyers when working remotely during the pandemic.
June 19, 2020

The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) - practice and procedure

This Property Disputes guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
June 12, 2020

Quick guide to landlord’s remedies for breach of lease

The following property disputes guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information for commercial landlords.
June 05, 2020

The Public Law Outline 2014

This Practice Note provides practical guidance on key aspects of procedure and the PLO 2014 for public children proceedings.
May 07, 2020

Anti-social behaviour - powers to control behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Hardwicke Chambers, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the powers available to control behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
May 01, 2020

Anti-social behaviour - powers to close premises under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This Local Government guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information outlining the powers available to local authorities to close premises where anti-social behaviour is taking place.
Coronavirus Hand sanitizer 146x219
April 24, 2020

Coronavirus – What’s the impact on the legal profession?

With Coronavirus dominating the news and the majority of Europe now entering different stages of lockdown due to the rise in uncertainties about the virus, LexisNexis has rounded up its latest articles discussing the pandemic.
Human Rights 96780326 s 146x219
April 23, 2020

Why is advancing the rule of law so important?

Have you ever considered your human rights? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines our various rights under the law, the most basic being: “We are all equal before the law."But, is this really the case?
April 16, 2020

Employment law and Covid-19

This following employment guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information on employment law changes caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Roadworks 54101373 s 146x219
February 28, 2020

Road traffic – order procedure notices

This Local Government guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering road traffic orders, regulations, procedures and the powers available to local authorities.
Housing Rogue Landlord 99725772 s 146x219
February 13, 2020

Obtaining possession of a secure tenancy

Produced in partnership with Karl King of Hardwicke Chambers, this LexisNexis Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the range of tenancy types for social housing and the processes involved in obtaining possession for each.
February 06, 2020

Local authority social care duties

The following Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Ros Ashcroft of DAC Beachcroft and Stephanie Townley of Addleshaw Goddard LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering local authority duties towards social care.
January 31, 2020

Houses in multiple occupation

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the management, licensing and definition of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
December 13, 2019

Granting assured and assured shorthold tenancies

This practice note from LexisNexis explains the criteria for assured tenancies (AT) and assured shorthold tenancies (AST) and the exceptions to those criteria, the main terms of AT and ASTs, the position regarding succession, and summarises a landlord’s obligations in respect of energy efficiency, gas safety and other health and safety obligations, right to rent and tenancy deposits.
December 05, 2019

Assignment and succession of tenancy

Morayo Fagborun Bennett looks at the circumstances in which social housing tenancies can be transferred to another tenant.
November 29, 2019

Powers to control anti-social behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This guidance note provides a comprehensive and up to date overview of powers to control anti-social behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, Reform of anti-social behaviour powers (2014), Part 1 Civil Injunctions and Part 2 Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).
Missiles 91309216 s. 146x219
October 11, 2019

Exploring the court’s power to block sale of arms to Saudi Arabia

Sue Willman, senior partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn, analyses the case of R (on the application of Campaign Against Arms Trade) v Secretary of State for International Trade (Amnesty International and others intervening) and its implications for UK arms trade.
Airport travel 3160566 640
October 11, 2019

Court rejects challenges to Heathrow expansion

Charles Streeten, barrister at Francis Taylor Building, explains how the court came to reject the claims for judicial review of the Heathrow runway expansion in R (on the application of Spurrier) v Secretary of State for Transport and other cases.
Housing family 96709182 s
October 04, 2019

Exploring the limits of public authority’s liability for children

Duncan Fairgrieve and Jim Duffy, barristers at 1 Crown Office Row, examine the Supreme Court’s decision in Poole Borough Council v GN and another that the respondent local authority did not owe a common law duty of care to exercise its functions under the Children Act 1989 to protect the appellants, who were children of a family which it had housed, from harm at the hands of anti-social neighbours.
Dead end road 32516564 s 146x219
October 04, 2019

Abandoning a procurement exercise - when can a contracting authority extinguish a challenge?

Lucy James looks at the legal effect of a decision to abandon a procurement exercise and whether it extinguishes an accrued cause of action a bidder may have against a contracting authority for breaches of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 SI 2015/102 (PCR 2015).
Education cuts 93374247 s 146x219
August 23, 2019

‘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 and looks at the worrying effects of this ‘funding crisis’ on the ‘most vulnerable children’ in the educational system.
Cost cutting 21525611 s 146x219
August 16, 2019

Judicial review challenge over closure of children’s centres defeated by local authority

The case 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.
Market 25240022 s 146x219
August 09, 2019

How does a local authority establish a market?

The LexisPSL team outline the powers available to local authorities looking to establish a new market.
School gate iStock 000003257894XSmall 146x219
August 02, 2019

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.
Plane passenger plane 19469 640 pixabay
June 13, 2019

Home or away?

Katherine Illsley outlines how a local authority should approach the situation where a parent to be assessed for the purposes of public children care lives in another jurisdiction.
House key iStock 000004543619XSmall 146x219
June 07, 2019

Tenant Fees Act 2019 - government guidance

The government recently published guidance on the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (TFA 2019). Robin Stewart and David Smith of Anthony Gold Solicitors look at some of the key questions relating to the guidance, including enforcement, penalties and some controversial aspects such as guidance pertaining to payment of damages.
Choice 33452110 s 146x219
June 07, 2019

How should the courts approach cases with an ‘open’ pool of possible perpetrators?

Chris Stevenson, barrister at Fourteen, examines the Court of Appeal’s decision in Re B (children: uncertain perpetrator) to allow a father’s appeal against a Family Court judge’s finding that he was within a pool of possible perpetrators responsible for sexually transmitting gonorrhoea to three of his children (registration required).
Planning 146x219
May 24, 2019

Court of Appeal finds permissive housing policies can restrict development elsewhere

In Gladman Developments Ltd v Canterbury City Council [2019] EWCA Civ 669, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by developer Gladman against the decision of the High Court to quash planning permission granted on appeal for a residential development on a site not allocated for development, not on previously developed land, and outside the existing built-up area.
Child safety gate 36045624 s 146x219
May 24, 2019

Safety first?

Daljit Kaur looks at the implications for disability discrimination of a case concerning a nursery-age child prevented from accessing provision over 15 hours.
UK map 66823434 s 146x219
May 17, 2019

The changing landscape of local authority Trading Standards prosecutions?

Richard Heller considers the potential impact of Qualter and others v Crown Court at Preston [2019] EWHC 906 (Admin) could have on the way regional Trading Standards services investigate and prosecute criminal offences (registration required).
Child removal iStock 000007583512XSmall 146x219
May 17, 2019

Wish they weren't here?

Can a parent with parental responsibility object to their child, who is subject to an interim care order, being taken on holiday by their foster parents?
Housing Rogue Landlord 99725772 s 146x219
May 10, 2019

Exploring the new guidance on greater protections from rogue landlords

Jason Hobday, associate at Womble Bond Dickinson, discusses the implications of recent government guidance documents which intend to enforce greater protections from rogue landlords (registration required).
Bias iStock 000008329150XSmall 146x219
May 09, 2019

Court finds judge in Uber licensing case was not biased

Philip Kolvin QC examines 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.
Housing timer 45568205 s 146x219
May 03, 2019

End of the road?

Morayo Fagborun Bennett looks at the Court of Appeal's decision on waiving offers of alternative accommodation and the lawfulness of an earlier review decision on a subsequent homelessness appplication in Godson v London Borough of Enfield [2019] EWCA Civ 486.
Council Tax 89947548 s 146x219
May 03, 2019

Court rejects implied duty to report change of address for council tax purposes (R v D)

Samuel Genen, solicitor at Steel & Shamash, comments on the case of R v D [2019] EWCA Crim 209 where the Court of Appeal ruled 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 (FrA 2006). (Registration required)
Evidence in Foreign Courts 71283762 s 146x219
March 22, 2019

Is it in the best interests of a child to give evidence in a foreign trial?

Katherine Duncan explains how the court, in Re X, carried out a balancing exercise in determining whether a child, who was ward of the court, should be permitted to travel out of the jurisdiction to give evidence at a foreign criminal trial.
High Courts inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults 95112860 s 146x219
March 15, 2019

High Court’s inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults

The case of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council v Meyers [2019] EWHC 399 (Fam) highlights the wide and largely unfettered nature of the power to grant injunctive relief under the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults and the difficulty surrounding the issue of how the balance should be struck between protection of a person on grounds of vulnerability and respect for their autonomy, writes Bethan Harris.