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  LATEST HEADLINES

January 15, 2021

Government launches independent review of children’s social care

The Government has launched an independent review of children's social care to “radically reform the system” and address poor outcomes for children in care.
January 15, 2021

Law Society calls for two-week pause of non-custodial Crown and Magistrates court work

The Law Society has called for urgent action including a possible two-week pause of non-custodial Crown and magistrates’ court work “amid escalating safety concerns”.
January 15, 2021

May 2021 elections still on but situation will be kept under review: Minister

The May 2021 elections look set to go ahead after the Minister for the Constitution and Devolution told MPs this week there should be “a high bar for any delay”.
Jan 14, 2021

Consortium of Scottish economic development agencies names four firms to £8.7m legal services framework

A consortium of three Scottish economic development agencies has named four law firms to a legal services framework worth £8.7m.
Jan 14, 2021

London borough left homeless family in B&B for too long: Ombudsman

Two London schoolchildren were left in bed and breakfast accommodation for too long by Redbridge Council, according to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
Jan 14, 2021

Ombudsman criticises council for failure to consider relaxing local connection criterion for domestic abuse victim

A London council failed to consider the exceptional circumstances of a victim of domestic abuse when assessing her housing needs, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
Jan 14, 2021

Cafcass updates guidance on advisers seeing children and families during lockdown

Cafcass has published updated guidance on arrangements for Family Court advisers to see children and families, work in Cafcass offices and attend court under lockdown restrictions.
Jan 14, 2021

Developer loses Court of Appeal battle over whether 'tilted balance' applied to 50-home scheme

It was not unfair for a planning inspector to find that the ‘tilted balance’ did not apply to an application for a housing development, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Jan 14, 2021

Judge rejects legal challenge to planning permission for ‘extra care’ residential development

The Administrative Court has rejected all five grounds of a challenge to Shropshire Council’s grant of planning permission for housing for older people.
Jan 13, 2021

Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers issues guidance notes on vaccination and testing for Covid-19 and mental capacity

The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers has published two rapid response guidance notes, covering mental capacity, vaccination and testing for Covid-19.
Jan 13, 2021

Court of Appeal dismisses appeal by company director over £99k penalties for breaches of HMO regulations, non-compliance with enforcement notices

The Court of Appeal has rejected a company director's appeal over penalties amounting to £99,000 imposed by the Upper Tribunal for breaches of regulations covering houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), and non-compliance with enforcement notices.
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Jan 13, 2021

Government publishes White Paper on reforming Mental Health Act

The Government has published a white paper on reforming the Mental Health Act 1983, promising that its proposed changes would provide patients with greater choice and autonomy in a mental health crisis.
Jan 13, 2021

Trowers advises social landlord on selection of JV partner for major Tower Hamlets regeneration

Law firm Trowers & Hamlins has advised Poplar HARCA on the selection and the appointment of Hill as joint venture partner on the delivery of the Teviot Estate regeneration in Tower Hamlets.
Jan 13, 2021

Plexus Law names Steel as Head of Public Sector Services

Defendant law firm Plexus Law has appointed partner Andrew Steel as Head of Public Sector Services with effect from 18 January 2021.
Jan 13, 2021

Court of Appeal rules on whether VAT is payable on top of caps on costs in Aarhus Convention claims

The caps set out in the Civil Procedure Rules on the costs payable by losing parties in Aarhus Convention claims are inclusive of VAT, the Court of Appeal has ruled as part of the third Heathrow runway litigation.
Jan 12, 2021

Backing for Law Society Council governance reforms sees local government representation halved

Controversial reforms to the make-up of the Law Society Council – including a reduction in the representation of local government – have been passed.
Jan 12, 2021

Criminal solicitors body warns members it is not safe to attend Magistrates’ courts

The London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association (LCCSA) has advised its members that it is not safe to continue to attend Magistrates’ courts.
Jan 12, 2021

Government facing legal challenge over speed of provision of devices to disadvantaged children for education at home

The Good Law Project has launched judicial review proceedings over what it says is the Government’s failure to ensure, “in a timely fashion”, adequate devices are provided to disadvantaged children who require them to be educated at home.
Jan 12, 2021

Judge finds claim over procurement of cloud-based management information system for 57 schools commenced in time

A High Court judge has rejected a contention by an academy trust that a claim brought over the procurement exercise for a three-year contract to supply a cloud-based management information system was commenced out of time.
Jan 12, 2021

Social landlord names four firms to £1m panel for legal advice on complex matters

Hyde Housing has appointed four law firms to a £1m panel providing legal advice on complex matters of strategic importance to the social landlord.
Jan 11, 2021

Developer fails in appeal to Planning Inspectorate over £1.6m CIL bill for scheme

A developer has been ordered to pay an extra £500,000 towards local infrastructure after it lost an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate over a £1.6m Community Infrastructure Levy bill.
Jan 11, 2021

High Court judge dismisses challenge over lack of public consultation on NHS hospital reconfiguration in Hertfordshire

A High Court judge has dismissed a judicial review challenge over the reorganisation of hospital provision in Hertfordshire.
Jan 11, 2021

Senior family judge warns against allocation of hearing time outside normal sitting hours of court save in exceptional circumstances

The allocation of additional hearing time outside the normal sitting hours of the Family Court - between 10.00am and 4.30pm, with an adequate adjournment at lunchtime - should be seen as an exceptional occurrence, and not the norm, and should be limited to no more than a 30-minute extension to the…
Jan 08, 2021

Ministry extends ban on bailiff-enforced evictions until 22 February - save for "most egregious" cases

The ban on bailiff-enforced evictions has been extended until 22 February with no evictions expected to 8 March at the earliest, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said.
Jan 08, 2021

Monitoring officers give lukewarm response to LGA Model Code of Conduct, unlikely to recommend implementation: LLG

Monitoring officers have given a lukewarm response to the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Local Government Association last month, LLG (Lawyers in Local Government) has said.
Jan 08, 2021

Judicial review over exit pay cap regulations to be heard in second half of March

The High Court is to hear the judicial review challenge being brought by LLG (Lawyers in Local Government) and ALACE (the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) over the Exit Payment Cap Regulations in the second half of March.
Jan 07, 2021

London borough defends Upper Tribunal challenge over school child with learning disabilities should attend

The London Borough of Hackney has won a tribunal case in a dispute with the parents of a child with learning difficulties over which school he should attend.
Jan 07, 2021

Court of Appeal criticises both sides in Blue Badge parking dispute where claimant costs exceeded £60,000

The Court of Appeal has imposed a costs order against a London borough and criticised both sides for the way a dispute over a parking Blue Badge ended up in the courts.
Jan 07, 2021

Council wins Court of Appeal battle over fate of land subject to statutory trust for recreational purposes

Shropshire Council has won a case in the Court of Appeal over what happens when a local authority disposes of land subject to a statutory trust for public recreational purposes without complying with the relevant statutory requirements.
Jan 07, 2021

Upper Tribunal rejects request for copies of notes made by First-tier Tribunal judge during information rights hearing

The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) has refused an applicant permission to appeal a ruling that he was not entitled to receive a copy of the notes made by a First-tier Tribunal judge in an earlier hearing.
Jan 07, 2021

Councils call for clarity on whether 6 May 2021 elections will proceed

The latest lockdown has raised the possibility of elections due on 6 May being postponed, some of which are already delayed from May 2020.
Jan 07, 2021

Environment Agency warns it does not have resources to carry out enforcement work effectively: report

The Environment Agency (EA) has too little money to carry out its enforcement work effectively, a letter obtained by The Times has said.
Jan 06, 2021

Borough council to adopt Lexis Visualfiles case management system

The legal department at Rochdale Borough Council is set to adopt the legal workflow and case management solution, Lexis Visualfiles, as its electronic file system.
Jan 06, 2021

Leader of Welsh council suspended for seven months for code of conduct breaches, vows to appeal

The Adjudication Panel of Wales has suspended the Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Cllr Kevin O’Neill, for seven months for breaching the local authority’s code of conduct.
Jan 06, 2021

Divisional Court hands down ruling on requirements for charges under s. 179 TCPA

A Welsh council has won an appeal to the Divisional Court over a ruling that informations it laid under s.179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 were defective.
Jan 06, 2021

Twenty law firms make it on to £60m Welsh public sector legal services framework

The National Procurement Service of the Welsh Government has selected 20 law firms for its £60m framework for the provision of solicitors’ services to the Welsh public sector.
Jan 06, 2021

Standards committee for Welsh Parliament consults on new code of conduct including new principle of ‘Respect’

The Senedd Cymru's standards committee last month launched a consultation on a proposed new Code of Conduct for Members of the Senedd.
Jan 05, 2021

Deputy High Court judge criticises council over handling of judicial review challenge to housing allocation scheme

A recent judicial review case over decisions made by a council in relation to the allocation of rented housing was “an object lesson in how a public body should not respond to public law proceedings”, a Deputy High Court judge has said.
Jan 05, 2021

Ministers insist work of courts and tribunals must continue either remotely or in person during fresh lockdown

The Lord Chancellor has said the vital work of courts and tribunals “can and should continue”, with the use of remote hearings wherever appropriate, during the latest national lockdown.
Jan 05, 2021

Council defeats appeal over ruling that it did not breach public sector equality duty in possession case

A High Court judge has dismissed an appeal over a ruling in a housing case that there had been no breach by Slough Borough Council of the public sector equality duty.
Jan 05, 2021

Council wins Upper Tribunal appeal over ‘reasonable excuse’ for failure to license house in multiple occupation

Thurrock Council has won an appeal from a decision of the First-tier Tribunal to cancel a civil penalty imposed for the offence of managing or being in control of a house in multiple occupation that is required by the Housing Act 2004 to be licensed, when it was not so licensed.
Jan 04, 2021

Environment Agency obtains £2.1m confiscation order against operator of illegal waste site

The Environment Agency last month secured one of its largest confiscation orders, against a defendant who operated an illegal waste site.
Jan 04, 2021

Local authority secures compliance with High Court injunction to restore plot of land to open countryside

Buckinghamshire Council last month secured compliance with a High Court injunction to restore land to open countryside.
Jan 04, 2021

Council wins appeal over finding of negligence over personal injuries suffered by teaching assistant

A county council has won an appeal over a ruling that it was liable in negligence for personal injuries suffered by a teaching assistant.
Jan 04, 2021

Law firm given £240k contract to advise new body for protection of rights of EU and other citizens

Law firm Browne Jacobson has been appointed to a £240,000, one-year contract to augment the in-house legal team being set up for the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA).
Jan 04, 2021

North Wales social landlord names council and eight law firms to legal services framework

A Welsh housing association has named a county council and eight law firms to a multi-lot legal services framework.
Dec 23, 2020

Council defeats legal challenge over environmental impact assessment for oil wells development and assessment of indirect greenhouse gas emissions

A Planning Court judge has dismissed a legal challenge to Surrey County Council’s grant of planning permission for the drilling of four new oil wells.
Dec 23, 2020

High Court judge allows legal challenge but declines to quash experimental traffic order

A High Court judge has allowed a legal challenge to the introduction of an experimental traffic order (ETO) in the City of London, but refused to quash the ETO.
Dec 23, 2020

National park authority secures interim injunction to prevent unauthorised felling of trees

The New Forest National Park Authority earlier this month (11 December) obtained an interim High Court injunction preventing further unauthorised felling or other works to trees protected by a woodland Tree Preservation Order.
Dec 23, 2020

Health Secretary facing legal challenge over failure to provide sight-impaired people with shielding information in accessible format

A blind woman has brought a legal challenge over the government’s alleged failure to provide her with accessible shielding information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dec 23, 2020

Trowers advises North East housing association on £110m refinancing

Law firm Trowers & Hamlins has advised North Star Housing Group on a refinancing deal worth £110m.
Dec 22, 2020

High Court gives green light for judicial review over exit payment cap regulations

A High Court judge has given LLG (Lawyers in Local Government) and ALACE (the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) permission to bring a judicial review challenge over the Exit Payment Cap Regulations.
Dec 22, 2020

Care proceedings taking significantly longer with fewer disposals within 26 week time limit: Ministry of Justice

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 40 weeks in July to September 2020, up seven weeks from the same quarter in 2019, the latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice have revealed.
Dec 22, 2020

Council wins High Court private law claim against NHS clinical commissioning group over costs of care for young man with autism

A county council has successfully brought a private law claim in restitution against a clinical commissioning group ("CCG"), to recover sums paid by the local authority for the costs of accommodation and care of a young man with autism spectrum disorder.
Dec 22, 2020

Local authority ordered to withdraw charging policy for council-provided care

A 24-year-old woman with Down Syndrome has won a judicial review claim over the decision by a county council to change the basis on which it calculated the charges made to her for council-provided care.
Dec 22, 2020

County facing legal challenge over decision to respond as statutory consultee - in capacity as highways authority - to application for planning permission

The High Court has granted permission to judicially review the decision of Norfolk County Council to formally respond as statutory consultee, in its capacity as highways authority, to an application for planning permission, it has been reported.
Dec 22, 2020

Planning Court judge rejects legal challenge to grant of planning permission for 265-home scheme

A Planning Court judge has dismissed a judicial review challenge to Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council’s grant of outline planning permission for the development of up to 265 dwellings and full planning permission for a new link road.
Dec 22, 2020

Council defeats legal challenge over acceptance of recommendations of examiner of neighbourhood plan

A High Court judge has rejected a housebuilder’s legal challenge to a decision by East Cambridgeshire District Council to accept the recommendations of the examiner in relation to a neighbourhood plan.
Dec 22, 2020

High Court judge grants interim relief in age assessment dispute

A High Court judge has granted a claimant interim relief in a case where he wishes to challenge an age assessment conducted on behalf of Liverpool City Council.
Dec 21, 2020

Water and sewerage undertaking wins judicial review challenge over Environment Agency classification of water quality at three beaches

Anglian Water has won a judicial review challenge over the Environment Agency's classification of the water quality at three popular beaches in Lincolnshire as 'good' in 2019, having classed it as 'excellent' in 2018.
Dec 21, 2020

Court of Appeal allows appeal by council over lawfulness of schools reorganisation decision

A Welsh council has won its appeal over whether a decision in relation to a major schools reorganisation programme was taken lawfully.
Dec 21, 2020

Court of Appeal rules against council on overcrowding and deliberate acts

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal over whether an appellant, who lives with his partner and their two children in a one bedroom flat where they are "statutorily overcrowded", is entitled to be included within Band 1 of Southwark Council's Housing Allocation Scheme.
Dec 21, 2020

Social landlord fined £80k after employees suffer Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

A housing association was earlier this month fined £80,00 after four employees developed a debilitating nerve condition over a period of several years.
Dec 18, 2020

Court of Appeal allows appeal by city in dispute between three councils over designation in respect of care order

A city council has won an appeal over its designation as the local authority in respect of a care order for a 15-year-old girl (J) who was in need of secure accommodation.
Dec 18, 2020

Secretary of State orders best value inspection at Liverpool following arrests

The Local Government Secretary has appointed Max Caller to carry out an inspection of Liverpool City Council’s compliance with its best value duty, in the wake of arrests including of its mayor.
Dec 18, 2020

Barristers acting for local authorities and other public bodies recognised in 2020 silk round

A range of specialists in children, public, planning and environmental law have been appointed Queen’s Counsel in the 2020 silk round.
Dec 18, 2020

Secretary of State to send in governance and finance experts to Nottingham City Council

The Local Government Secretary has said the Government will appoint experts in governance and finance to a new Improvement and Assurance Board at Nottingham City Council.
Dec 18, 2020

Information Commissioner publishes new Data Sharing Code of Practice

The Information Commissioner's office has published its new code of practice laying out how organisations and businesses can carry out responsible data sharing.
Dec 17, 2020

Judge grants council three-year injunction over unlawful encampments

Serious damage resulting from unauthorised traveller encampments has led the High Court to grant a three-year injunction to the London Borough of Redbridge.
Dec 17, 2020

Court of Appeal allows appeal by borough council in equal pay dispute

The Court of Appeal has overturned an Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling in an equal pay case brought by female employees at Reading Borough Council.
Dec 17, 2020

Cabinet member resigns over breach of code of conduct in dealing with grant application by motorcycle display team

A Hampshire cabinet member has resigned after a standards investigation found he breached the code of conduct over a council grant to a children’s motorcycle display team.
Dec 17, 2020

Aunt loses battle to be joined to Court of Protection proceedings

Confidential evidence meant a vulnerable woman’s maternal aunt should not be joined to proceedings about her welfare, the Court of Protection has ruled.
Dec 17, 2020

District council secures continuing High Court injunctions over development of land in Green Belt

The High Court has allowed Basildon District Council to continue with two injunctions against both named and unnamed defendants and has added a power of arrest.
Dec 16, 2020

Public bodies in Scotland combine to procure £3.9m legal services framework agreement

A consortium of Scottish councils, a major social landlord and other public bodies are to procure a legal services framework worth an estimated £3.9m.
Dec 15, 2020

Ombudsman raps council for not saying sorry

The London Borough of Harrow has been criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for not following up on its agreement to apologise to a resident who made a complaint in February of this year.
Dec 15, 2020

Council reverses school closures after Education Secretary threatens legal action

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has cancelled its order that schools in the borough close following a Direction from the Secretary of State requiring that its schools stay open until the end of term.
Dec 15, 2020

London borough threatens Health Secretary with legal action over plans to downgrade hospital

Merton Council has sent a pre-action letter to the Health Secretary over his decision not to order a full independent review into plans to close the accident and emergency department and consultant-led maternity services at St Helier Hospital.
Dec 15, 2020

Family Justice Board sets out priority actions to relieve immediate pressures on system and deliver long-term reform

The Family Justice Board (FJB) has set out the priority actions it intends to pursue in response both to immediate pressures within the family justice system, and to bring about longer-term reform.
Dec 15, 2020

Welsh council wins Divisional Court appeal over whether charges it laid were defective

The Divisional Court has allowed an appeal by a Welsh council after the Crown Court held that charges the local authority laid against four defendants over alleged failures to comply with planning enforcement notices were defective.
Dec 15, 2020

DfT calls in Pinsent Masons for Stonehenge judicial review

The Department for Transport has appointed law firm Pinsent Masons to provide legal support in relation to the judicial review challenge over government plans to build a dual carriageway beneath the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.
Dec 14, 2020

Housing Ombudsman makes performance data for social landlords public with new database

The Housing Ombudsman has - for the first time - published performance data on all landlords in its scheme with complaints recorded in 2019-20, as part of an effort to increase openness and transparency.
Dec 14, 2020

School reorganisation case sees Court of Appeal hear oral submissions in Welsh for first time

The Court of Appeal is thought to have heard oral submissions in Welsh for the first time during an appeal this month over a county council’s plans for school reorganisation.
Dec 14, 2020

Court of Appeal agrees to hear case over journalist access to court records in care proceedings

The Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal in a case concerning the question of the extent to which journalists can gain access to court records in family law proceedings, it has been reported.
Dec 14, 2020

Law firm sends letter before claim to Health Secretary over vaccine access of individuals with learning disabilities

A letter before claim was last week sent to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, calling for individuals with learning disabilities to be granted priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine on an equal basis with other highly vulnerable adults.
Dec 14, 2020

Construction company hit by £600,000 fine over damage to bat breeding site

A major house builder has been ordered to pay what is understood to be the largest fine ever issued by a court in relation to a wildlife crime.
Dec 14, 2020

NHS procurement consortium to re-procure legal services framework agreement

The NHS North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC) isto re-procure its framework agreement for the provision of legal services.
Dec 14, 2020

Weightmans bolsters social housing team with hire of governance specialist

Law firm Weightmans has hired social housing governance specialist Jo Loake as a principal associate.
Dec 11, 2020

Ombudsman report urges councils to scrutinise services for children in care

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has called on council scrutiny committees to be more proactive following research that found vulnerable children being looked after by councils are far more disadvantaged than those looked after by parents.
Dec 11, 2020

Ombudsman investigation finds council failed to support foster carers after mother of girl died

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has criticised a council’s children’s trust after an investigation found it failed to support properly a couple caring for a girl whose mother had died.
Dec 10, 2020

Borough council calls in leading local government lawyer to review actions over £250m stadium loan

Woking Borough Council has appointed prominent local government lawyer Gifty Edila to conduct an independent review of its actions over a controversial stadium development in which it offered a developer a £250m loan.
Dec 10, 2020

High Court upholds conviction for failure to comply with enforcement notice despite council losing Article 4 direction

A mislaid Article 4 direction did not invalidate an enforcement notice served by planners at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the High Court has found.
Dec 10, 2020

Housing association and phone masts businesses ordered to pay own way in dispute where legal costs reached £450k

Social landlord London & Quadrant Housing Trust and phone masts firm Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure have each been ordered to pay their own costs after a lengthy dispute that ran up a total bill of £450,000.
Dec 10, 2020

Council wins Court of Appeal battle over business rates and property guardians

A building is not split into individual hereditaments for rating purposes just because it has property guardians resident, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Dec 10, 2020

Judge considers 18th century legislation to resolve bridleway row

A High Court judge has had to consult legislation dating back to the 18th century in a dispute over a bridle road in Somerset.
Dec 09, 2020

Leader of city council forced to deny it is close to bankruptcy after report leaked

The Leader of financially-troubled Nottingham City Council has denied reports that the local authority is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Dec 09, 2020

Ministry asks Liverpool City Council for information on steps taken to secure effective governance in wake of arrests

The Government has asked Liverpool City Council to provide information on the steps it has taken and proposes to take to secure effective governance, in light of a Merseyside Police investigation which has resulted in the arrest and subsequent release on conditional bail of a number of people…
Dec 09, 2020

Communities Secretary unveils “final” three-month extension to business evictions ban, launches review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation

The ban on business evictions has been extended until the end of March 2021, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced.
Dec 09, 2020

Council holds off legal challenge over Tier 3 status for now after receiving response from government lawyers to pre-action letter

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has ruled out a judicial review challenge “at this stage” over ministers’ decision to place it in Tier 3 on the lifting of the latest lockdown, after the Government Legal Department responded to its pre-action letter.
Dec 09, 2020

Court quashes grant of planning permission for 73 homes after "misleading" officer’s reports

A High Court judge has quashed the grant of planning permission for 73 dwellings near a heritage asset in Surrey because a planning officer's reports “seriously and materially” misled the council’s planning committee.
Dec 08, 2020

Culture Secretary kick starts review of gambling laws including "analogue" Gambling Act

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a “major and wide-ranging review of gambling laws to ensure they are fit for the digital age”.
Dec 08, 2020

Council facing judicial review over removal of trial cycle lane

A campaign group, in collaboration with the Environmental Law Foundation, plans to bring a judicial review challenge against a London council's decision to dismantle a temporary cycle lane before its trial period had ended.
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