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Top judge consults on next steps for greater transparency in Family Court

19/08/14: The President of the Family Division has issued a consultation on further steps to increase transparency in the Family Court. Read more...


Latest Stories

Law firm calls for massive cut in London boroughs to boost planning
19/08/14: The London council map should be re-drawn along New York lines so that there are just five boroughs, while ‘metro-regional planning bodies’ should be established outside the capital, a report by a leading law firm has suggested.

Chief executive of county council to take temporary period of absence
19/08/14: The chief executive of a county council in Wales has agreed to take a period of absence with immediate effect.

Trial over uprooting of tree subject to preservation order collapses
19/08/14: The trial of a developer in North East Lincolnshire has been halted after his QC successfully argued that the proceedings should be stayed as an abuse of process which “offended the public conscience”.

University names three law firms to £1.9m legal advice contract
19/08/14: The University of Sheffield has named three law firms - DAC Beachcroft, DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons - to a £1.9m contract to provide legal services.

Unusual FOI requests "include asking about plans for dragon attack": LGA
18/08/14: Freedom of information requests submitted to councils in the last year have included inquiries about plans in place to protect a town from a dragon attack, the Local Government Association has revealed.

Council loses judicial review over decision to raise allotment rental charges
18/08/14: Leeds City Council has lost a judicial review of its decision to double the rents charged to allotment holders.

Equalities watchdog issues notice on renewing £2m panel of counsel
18/08/14: The Equality & Human Rights Commission has issued a prior information notice (PIN) about the potential renewal of its panel of counsel.

Barnet appoints law firm to £5m contract for major regeneration scheme
18/08/14: The London Borough of Barnet has appointed Wragge Lawrence Graham to advise on a major regeneration scheme that could see legal fees reach £5m excluding VAT.

See all news stories...


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EU flag iStock 000009228887XSmall thumbNew state aid exemptions
Huw Williams and Bethan Lloyd examine how councils can take advantage of the new state aid exemptions for cultural, heritage, sports and infrastructure projects.

Money iStock 000008683901XSmall thumbDisclaimer in rating
Can land be neither owned nor occupied for non-domestic rating purposes? That was the question which came up recently before the High Court by way of case stated. Judith Jackson QC analyses its findings.

Capacity and tenancy agreements
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street review one of the very few publically available judgments in which the elements of the capacity to enter into a tenancy agreement are considered.

The right amount of affordable housing
How much affordable housing can a local planning authority reasonably require? Hugh Flanagan reports on the outcome of an important appeal.

Demolition and implementation of planning permissions
A recent High Court ruling has shown that demolition may not implement a planning permission, writes Estelle Dehon.

Preparing for the new fundamental standards
Carlton Sadler considers the key issues and recent changes in relation to the fundamental standards that will apply next year to the health and social care sector.

Facebook, FOI and children
A recent Upper Tribunal case involving a local authority concerned the interplay between children's personal data and transparency. Robin Hopkins looks at the outcome.

'Hearing' the child in Family Proceedings
Jacqueline Matthews-Stroud looks at the philosophical, yet important practical, issue of how and when to hear from children themselves.

JR and school exclusions
Thomas Ogg looks at the lessons to be learned from the first judicial review under the new regime for school exclusions.

Supporting people with NRPF
A High Court judge has ruled that a council's policy on support for those with no recourse to public funds was unlawful. Shu Shin Luh and Noel Arnold explain why.

A tale of torn envelopes
A ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union should give contracting authorities confidence in their ability to reject tenders where confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, writes Anita McEleney of Bristol City Council.

Warehouse to new house: further planning reforms
The Department for Communities and Local Government has unveiled further proposals in its drive to create a more flexible planning system. Matt Gilks highlights some of the key announcements.

Severe obesity as a disability
Does EU law protect obese employees from discrimination? Victoria McMeel reports on a recent Opinion provided by the Advocate General which confirms that the effects of severe obesity may mean that disability legislation comes into play.

Post-adoption contact - recent developments
Martin Kingerley considers the issue of applications for post-adoption contact in light of the Children and Families Act 2014.

The difficult line – the MCA and the MHA
The Court of Protection recently handed down an important ruling on the line between the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act. The CoP team at 39 Essex Street analyse the judgment.

The latest on cuts
The Lincolnshire libraries ruling provides useful learning on how to comply with new duties in relation to expressions of interest under the Localism Act 2011, writes Leon Glenister.

Damages for disrepair
Morayo Fagborun Bennett considers the principles of disrepair claims and how the compensation freeholders may owe to leaseholders is determined.

Public sector capital projects - letters of intent
Huw Morgan looks at some of the thorny issues raised by the practice of issuing letters of intent for public sector capital projects.

Enforced academisation
James Goudie QC analyses the outcome of a recent High Court challenge to the Education Secretary’s decision to convert a school into an academy.

Weathering the storm
Matthew Harpin reports on a recent successful appeal which will bring welcome relief to highways authorities forced to suspend their inspection programmes during extreme weather conditions.

Approaching cases of Fictitious or Induced Illness
Kate Grieve highlights the key guidance and forensic considerations in cases of Fictitious or Induced Illness.

Media strategy for local councils - beyond the parish notice board
Will the National Association of Local Councils' guidance to town and parish councillors not to talk to journalists without prior consent have a chilling effect on public life? Eleanor Hoggart looks at the lessons for local authorities.

Deputies, undue influence and the CPRD
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street analyse a a CoP case involving the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and undue influence.

Procurement case law update
Colin Ricciardiello examines recent court rulings in procurement cases concerning the drafting of a claim form, amendment of a statement of case and lifting the automatic suspension.

Article 15 - when should it be used in care cases?
Hannah Markham deals with the vexed issues of jurisdiction and transferring care cases between countries.

Giving references - data protection and legitimate expectations
When to give references, and what to say in them, has always been a topic of concern for employers. This is particularly when the reference is provided whilst the employee is or has been subject to disciplinary proceedings. Mark Stevens analyses a recent case on the issue.

Academies and FOI
In an academies case, the First-tier Tribunal has recently considered issues around freedom of information and the boundaries of public and private service provision. Robin Hopkins looks at the lessons to be learned.

Data protection, compulsory audit and the NHS
Mandatory ICO data protection audits are likely to be introduced for the NHS by the end of the year. Claire Bentley, Emma Godding and Jane Bennett look at the background and the key issues.

Safeguarding and the CoP - a difficult mix
A recent case has shown the importance of having the Mental Capacity Act and the Deprivation of Liberty safeguards embedded into everyday practice, write the CoP team at 39 Essex Street.

Planning authorities and under-performance
Ministers have revised the criteria on under-performing planning authorities and when developers can submit applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate. James Garbett and Philippa Plumtree-Varley report.

CIL – a reminder on s106 and s278 restrictions
Caroline Bywater looks at what will happen if local authorities do not have a charging schedule in place for the Community Infrastructure Levy by April 2015.

Separate collection and ‘TEEP’ Requirements

Michael Grimes and Andrew Hirst set out the legal background to the separate collection requirements that waste collection authorities will have to meet from next year.

Sickness absence - ten top tips
How should employers handle the difficult issue of stress-related sickness absence? Graham Richardson provides some guidance for employers and comments on some of the key case law.

The Care Act and s. 117 MHA
Anuara Ali of Islington Concil looks at three key changes to be introduced by the Care Act 2014.

Family comes first (even if they’re in Poland)
In a case relating to care and placement orders, the Court of Appeal has issued a reminder to judges and local authorities of the importance of taking their Article 8 duties seriously. Alasdair Henderson reports.

Mid Year Licensing Update
At the half year mark Paddy Whur analyses the substantial, and tinkering, changes to the licensing landscape.

Disclosure of information and the Coroners and Justice Act 2009
Polly Dyer reviews the changes introduced by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and looks at the practical considerations.

Changes to UK ‘payment culture’
Ruth Connorton and Alison Walton consider the Government's latest announcements in relation to payment practices in the public sector.

Confiscation orders and A1P1
The Supreme Court has revised a confiscation order via the right to property under Article 1 of the 1st Protocol. David Hart QC analyses the ruling.

A victory for common sense
The High Court has issued a straightforward interpretation of the law when it comes to personal injury capital managed by a Court of Protection deputy and an individual's eligibility for social care provision, writes Donna Holmes.

When the money runs out
Simon Goacher considers what might happen if a local authority proved unable to balance the books.

Lights, 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.

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.

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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