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Housebuilder launches Planning Court challenge to neighbourhood plan

22/07/14: A housebuilder, Larkfleet Homes, has launched a judicial review challenge to the Uppingham Neighbourhood Plan with the Planning Court. Read more...


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Statutory guidance issued on reform of anti-social behaviour powers
22/07/14: The Home Office has issued statutory guidance for frontline professionals on the reform of anti-social behaviour powers.

Scottish Council seeks external legal provider for £910,000 contract
22/07/14: Stirling Council
 is looking to appoint an external legal services provider to a £910,000 contract supporting its in-house lawyers.

Law Commission urges full reform project on data sharing and public bodies
21/07/14: The Law Commission has this month recommended that a full law reform project should be carried out “in order to create a principled and clear legal structure for data sharing, which will meet the needs of society”.

Law Society delays new CON 29 and CON 29O enquiry forms
21/07/14: The Law Society has delayed the introduction of new CON 29 and CON 29O enquiry forms.

Chelmsford City Council becomes latest authority to back late night levy
21/07/14: The full council at Chelmsford has approved the introduction of a late night levy in November.

Audit Commission hits out at burden of proposed audit regulations for parishes
21/07/14: The Government’s proposed new auditing arrangements will “place a much greater burden on parish councils and their clerks than the Government intends”, the Audit Commission has warned.

NW housing groups selects 15 law firms for legal services panels
21/07/14: Progress Housing Group has named 15 law firms to a legal services framework with an estimated value of £800,000 over four years.

See all news stories...


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Child evidence iStock 000004679292XSmall thumbLights, camera, action!
New regulations are coming into force, leaving councils little time in which to prepare for their meetings being filmed, tweeted or blogged. Olwen Dutton reports.

Cutbacks iStock 000013353612XSmall thumbWhen the money runs out
Simon Goacher considers what might happen if a local authority proved unable to balance the books.

For better or for worse
The Court of Appeal has just handed down an important ruling on the scope of statutory homeless reviews. Kelvin Rutledge QC and Sian Davies analyse the judgment.

Sustainable development: the Humpty Dumpty approach
Sue Chadwick looks at the challenges thrown up by the concept of 'sustainable development'.

Trigger happy?
Emma Porritt and James Garbett look at additional trigger events to prevent applications to register town and village greens.

Funding charities
A Charity Commission intervention and a recent VAT Tribunal case highlight the need for local authorities to consider their legal position carefully when giving funding to charities, writes Richard Auton.

Power play
Greater use of existing powers could be made to deal with the consequences of late-night drinking and to target problem customers, argues Gerald Gouriet QC.

Making yourself heard
Telecommunication leases may deliver an additional source of income for local authorities and other public bodies but at what cost? Cynyr Rhys examines the issues.

Winning more business
How do local authority legal teams win work traditionally undertaken by large private practice firms? Chris Skinner looks at the challenges.

Lessons from Ireland
What can a decision of the High Court of Ireland tell us about EU procurement law and whether the UK approach to the lifting of automatic suspensions of contract awards is compliant with it? Brendan Ryan reports.

Mediation and arbitration after Mitchell
Do mediation and arbitration hold greater appeal following the Court of Appeal ruling in Mitchell? Belinda Moore and Andrew Clarke consider the options.

Article 8, the Equality Act and summary hearings
How should Article 8 and Equality Act 2010 arguments be treated when raised at a summary hearing? Senga Howells reports on a recent case.

What you need to know about district heat networks
Mark Routley looks at the opportunities and challenges for local authorities presented by district heat networks.

High Court guidance on commercial service charges
The High Court has recently provided some useful guidance on commercial service charges, anticipated expenditure and apportionment, writes David Bird.

Governance and the LGPS
Gary Delderfield reports on a Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on draft regulations for governance of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Judicial review, proportionality and s.178 direct action
A senior Court of Appeal judge has rejected an argument that proportionality was a matter for the Court on an application for judicial review of a planning authority's decision to take direct action to remove travellers. David Lintott explains why.

Recent appeals decisions under the Licensing Act
There have been a number of interesting appeal decisions under the Licensing Act recently, writes Paddy Whur.

Sleepwalking into oblivion
Is time running out for local government lawyers? Hugh Peart, Director of HB Public Law, looks at the responses available.

The 'bedroom tax' and DHPs
Jed Meers analyses the recent High Court ruling in Rutherford and the evolving role of Discretionary Housing Payments.

Local authorities, notices to quit and undue influence
The Court of Appeal recently examined whether a notice to quit was procured by the undue influence of a housing officer employed by a council. Jonathan Manning and Amy Knight explain the judgment.

Draft equal pay audit regulations published
Earlier this week the Government published the draft Equal Pay Audit Regulations. Daniella McGuigan and Khurram Shamsee consider their impact.

Don’t be shy: Spot the risks and engage
Sophie Kavanagh considers important developments in contracting authorities' ability to consult the market pre-procurement.

Lifting automatic suspensions
In what circumstances will the Court lift an automatic suspension on contract award? Edward Reynolds reports on a recent case.

Speaking up
The High Court ruled earlier this year in a case where a non-planning councillor spoke at a planning committee meeting. Mary Tate examines the ruling.

The local authorities’ perspective on fracking
David Brammer discusses the role local government has to play in awarding fracking rights and regulating the industry.

New services from the Land Registry
Bill Chandler highlights several significant recent developments from the Land Registry which affect all local authority lawyers involved with land and property, whether dealing with residential properties or complex commercial premises.

Costs in welfare proceedings
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street report on a rare award of costs in welfare proceedings.

Late service and 'trivial errors'
Was a council's late service of a notice by two days a ‘trivial’ error? Gordon Exall reports on a High Court decision.

Binding the Crown
The High Court has confirmed HMRC and other state agents' obligation to produce documents for coroners. Daniel Machover analyses the ruling.

Variation of planning obligations
Kamran Hyder examines s. 106BA of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the new process to modify or discharge affordable housing obligations.

Heritage partnership agreements
Richard Harwood QC discusses the new power to enter into heritage agreements under s. 26A of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Becoming homeless intentionally
When was the relevant time for a council to consider whether an applicant’s homelessness was intentional? Chistopher Baker reports on an important Court of Appeal ruling.

The ‘bedroom tax’: what is a bedroom?
Tribunals have been busy resolving a number of cases around whether a room is a 'bedroom' for the purpose of the so-called 'bedroom tax'. Amy Gibbs reports on the outcomes.

Durham - an enlightened approach to reviews
Paddy Whur approves of the approach taken to a licence review in Durham.

Selection stage: grounds for exclusion, selection criteria and the ESPD
In the light of significant changes brought in by the new directive, Emily Heard and Susie Smith look at the exclusion of economic operators from taking part in a procurement process.

Capacity in relation to children: termination of pregnancy
A High Court judge recently ruled on a 13-year-old's capacity in relation to whether to continue with or terminate a pregnancy. The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street examine the case.

Green day
Significant rulings continue to be handed down by the courts in relation to town and village greens. Antonia Murillo reviews the latest judgments.

What are LA legal departments for?
Not long ago this was not a question often asked, writes Nicholas Dobson. For the answer was beyond obvious: to provide legal advice and support to the employing authority. End of!

Paying dividends
Elizabeth Warhurst explains how her council teamed up with a law firm to deliver a recruitment model to help shape a newly qualified solicitor into a public sector asset.

Data protection and child protection
Christopher Knight examines a strike-out application made by a number of local authorities over claims that they held inaccurate and damaging information about the claimant.

Biodiversity offsetting in action
Stephen Tromans QC highlights an example of how biodiversity offsetting can work in practice.

Part 1 of the Care Act and local authorities
The Government has published regulations and guidance addressing the obligations councils will have under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014. Judith Barnes, Susan Thompson and Rosalind Ashcroft report.

Rent payments and administration expenses
The Court of Appeal has altered its approach to rent being payable as an administration expense. Naomi Chesterman reports.

Procurement challenges - two bites at the cherry?
Jenny Beresford-Jones examines an Italian case on the time periods for bringing a procurement challenge.

Freeze frame
A recent test case explored whether the impact of the public sector pay freeze on the pay progression of staff aged 32 and under was indirectly discriminatory. Simon Lambert analyses the ruling.

Late concessions of liability
In the light of a recent employment tribunal equal pay case, Joanne Oliver considers the costs risks of conceding liability late in the day.

Article 8 and specific care needs
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that a disabled applicant was not entitled under Article 8 to specific care needs. Rosalind English examines the judgment.

The Care Act 2014 - the key points
The Care Act received Royal Assent last month. Judith Barnes, Susan Thompson and Ros Ashcroft outline the key measures in this landark legislation.

Enforcement appeals – an important judgment
Martin Goodall reviews a Court of Appeal ruling on whether a planning inspector should have considered an alternative to demolition.

Time to think
You can agree to extend time now - but should you agree to extensions? Gordon Exall analyses the issues.

The nature of the transaction
Contracting authorities and property developers beware: “Leases” may be subject to procurement law. Stephanie Rickard examines a recent Advocate General opinion in an Italian case.

Supreme Court clarifies when property can be registered as village green
The critical distinction between use of a playing field ‘as of right’ and ‘by right’ for the purposes of deciding whether it can be registered as a town or a village green is explained by Paul Wilmshurst.

About time
Two recent rulings have looked at time limits in procurement challenges. Ruth Connorton and Alison Walton set out the key points.

Austerity, redundancy and other measures
What options do local authorities have beyond simple reductions in headcount? Bhavesh Prajapati explains.

Radiation contamination—is the public sufficiently informed?
Jon Payne comments on the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment’s (Comare) findings and recommendations in relation to aspects of radiation in the environment.

Code of conduct v freedom of expression
The High Court recently cut the disqualification period imposed on a Welsh councillor. Nicholas Dobson considers the lessons to be learned from the case for local authorities in England as well as Wales.

Council tax liability and void properties
Andrew Lane looks at a key ruling for housing associations in relation to void periods and council tax liability.

State aid and the revised General Block Exemption Regulation
The revised General Block Exemption Regulation opens up a range of possibilities for authorities when it comes to state aid, write Jonathan Branton and Jay Mehta.

‘Ordinary residence’ revisited
The Community Care team at 39 Essex Street consider the latest 'ordinary residence' test to reach the Court of Appeal.

Remains of the day
Three judges in the High Court have dismissed a challenge over the reburial of Richard III. Richard Harwood QC analyses the ruling.

Striking answers
Allison Cook considers some of the key legal issues as the local government sector faces up to possible mass co-ordinated national strike action later this Summer.

Teckal and exceptions to mandatory application of procurement procedures
A ruling by the European Court of Justice has provided further clarity on the Teckal exemption in relation to procurement processes, writes Patrick Parkin.

Break dates, rental payments and apportionment
A recent Court of Appeal decision on break dates and rental payments marks a return to express wording for apportionment, says Naomi Chesterman.

A landmark prosecution, a landmark sentence
Andrew Bennett examines the prosecution of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust by the Health & Safety Executive.

Dangerous and defective buildings
A council recently lost its appeal over an order that it should pay substantial compensation following the closure of a pier on safety grounds. Samuel Townend looks at the options available when dealing with dangerous structures.

A boost for neighbourhood planning
A High Court judge earlier this month handed down a decision that will be of interest to all those involved in neighbourhood planning and will encourage those involved in promoting such plans. Martin Carter explains why.

Disclosure update
Natasha Taylor examines the key elements of the Protocol and Good Practice Models for disclosure of information in cases of alleged child abuse and linked criminal and care directions hearings.

Legal professional privilege and the EIRs
Robin Hopkins anaylses a recent Upper Tribunal ruling on the interplay between legal professional privilege and the Environmental Information Regulations.

Changes to Civil Procedure and the County Court system
A number of significant changes to civil procedure and the County Court system came into force on 22 April. Naomi Chesterman highlights the key changes.

Our “wet winter” and tree root subsidence claims in 2014
The wet weather last winter is unlikely to provide much comfort for local authorities when it comes to tree root subsidence claims, warns Andrew Plunkett.

Co-operating for mutual benefit
Ben Sheppard looks at how the Government is making it easier to set up and run co-operative and community benefit societies, as part of its drive to encourage the contribution of mutuals to the UK economy.

Walking a tightrope – contact and sexual relations
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street review a recent ruling that considered issues of capacity and sexual relations in a case involving a 24-year-old man with mild learning disabilities and atypical autism.

The winning shot?
A council has won an appeal over a ruling that quashed the grant of planning permission for a golf and hotel development. James Findlay QC explains the important points of principle arising.

Hazards of running elections
In the run up to European and local elections next week, Sappho Dias and Lee Parkhill consider some of the problem areas thrown up for local authority solicitors and returning officers.

What’s the use?
Peter Barlow reviews a significant recent case on the application of competition law to shop leases granted by a local authority.

Primary gambling activity: the FTT view
In an important decision that will impact on all betting premises licence applications the First-Tier Tribunal has given a long-awaited ruling on the meaning of 'primary gambling activity'. Gerald Gouriet QC and George Mackenzie analyse the judgment.

Three key issues pre-procurement
Emily Heard and Susie Smith examine a number of important issues that contracting authorities should consider in advance of the formal procurement process, including preliminary market consultations.

Transparency in outsourced contracts
Does the outsourcing of public functions mean they are less transparent? Anna Sweeney summarises the latest developments in the recent controversy.

Welfare proceedings and the press
The President of the Court of Protection, Sir James Munby has ruled that the press has no direct role in welfare proceedings. Rosalind English reports.

Innovation in delivering adult social care services
Andrew Pettinger looks at the potential for innovative ways of delivering adult social care services including via Public/Private collaborations.

The escalation of whistleblowing into campaigns
Alastair Currie reports on a decision which provides clarity on dealing with employees whose (potentially valid) whistleblowing concern escalates into a campaign "sufficient to try and to exhaust the patience of any organisation."

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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