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

International students: staying onside

Immigration iStock 000008420692XSmall 146x219

The LexisPSL Immigration team look at the impact of changes to the regime governing Tier 4 (General) sponsors and review the case law around revocation action by the Home Office.
All Tier 4 (General) migrants must be sponsored by an educational institution registered by the Home Office as a Tier 4 (General) sponsor. The regime regulating Tier 4 (General) sponsors underwent a series of phased changes announced in March 2011 and completed at the end of 2013.

This article outlines some of the main changes to the sponsorship regime for Tier 4 (General) and the issues that arose from them, as well as Home Office responses to more recent issues of concern regarding Tier 4 (General) sponsors. 

For full details of the current sponsorship regime applicable to Tier 4 (General) sponsors, see the Home Office's Sponsor Guidance (SG) for Tier 4.

The Home Office has also published the following Modernised Guidance (MG) documents which provide information on how Home Office case workers assess Tier 4 sponsor eligibility and compliance:

o    MG PBS sponsor licensing--applications
o    MG PBS sponsor licensing--renewals
o    MG PBS sponsor licensing--highly-trusted sponsors
o    MG PBS sponsor licensing--maintenance
o    MG PBS sponsor management

Action against sponsors in response to ETS scandal

On 10 February 2014, the BBC aired the programme, Panorama--Immigration Undercover: The Student Visa Scandal. The programme alleged that TOEIC English-language tests offered by English Language Services (ETS) were being passed fraudulently at some UK-based testing centres and then used as supporting evidence in Tier 4 (General) student applications.

In response to the Panorama programme, the Home Office launched an investigation into the TOEIC test results of Tier 4 (General) students and their sponsors, as well as migrants in other immigration categories.

On 24 June 2014 the Home Office suspended the Tier 4 sponsor licences of 57 private colleges and one university. A further two universities had their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) allocations set to zero. The suspended university had its licence reinstated subject to further review, and CAS allocations were restored to the other two universities. As at February 2015, at least 64 privately funded colleges had their licence revoked or had surrendered it. For further information about this action, see News Analysis: Cracking down on student visa abuse and Applying for a UK visa: approved English language tests (GOV.UK). This page of the GOV.UK website contains a document titled 'Home Office immigration action against education institutions: factsheet', which provides guidance for students on sponsor suspensions and revocations.

The case of London St Andrew's College v SSHD [2014] EWHC 4328 (Admin), [2014] All ER (D) 236 (Dec) is the first example of a legal challenge to a sponsor licence revocation decision involving fraudulently obtained TOEIC test results. In that case, the sponsor's licence was revoked on various grounds including that it had issued CAS to students whose TOEIC test results had subsequently been withdrawn by ETS. It was not alleged that the sponsor was aware of any irregularities regarding the withdrawn tests. The court found that it was rational for the Home Office to consider acceptance of poor quality students by the sponsor to be a breach of its sponsor duties and to revoke the sponsor's licence on that basis. Responsibility for ensuring the genuineness of students and their ability to speak English to a sufficient standard lies with the sponsor, and the Home Office's role is to supervise the sponsor's purported compliance with its duties.

The reliability of the method used by ETS to determine whether to withdraw test results is the subject of controversy, see LNB News 06/02/2015 144. It remains to be seen whether this will factor in any future litigation.

Revised minimum standards for Tier 4 (General) sponsors

A series of changes to the sponsorship arrangements for Tier 4 were announced in March 2011 and were implemented on a phased basis until the end of 2013.

These changes included:

o     requiring all new Tier 4 sponsors (aside from exempt overseas-based Higher Education Institutions offering short-term study abroad programmes in the UK) to meet an 'educational oversight' requirement through having a current and satisfactory full inspection or audit by:

◦     the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for higher education
◦     Ofsted (England)
◦     Education Scotland (Scotland)
◦     Estyn (Wales)
◦     Education and Training Inspectorate (Northern Ireland)
◦     Bridge Schools Inspectorate (England)
◦     Schools Inspection Service (England), or
◦     Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) (England)
    
o     requiring all existing Tier 4 sponsors (aside from exempt overseas-based Higher Education Institutions offering short-term study abroad programmes in the UK) to meet the educational oversight requirement, including making an application for oversight by specified deadlines
o     requiring privately-funded Tier 4 sponsors to meet extended educational oversight requirements from 2013, including that privately-funded institutions may only apply for educational oversight during annual time-limited windows
o     requiring all Tier 4 sponsors to become Highly Trusted Sponsors (HTS), including making an application for this by specified deadlines
o     imposing interim limits on the number of students that can be sponsored by certain Tier 4 sponsors that do not hold HTS status and/or do not meet the educational oversight requirement

Following the implementation of the above, there has been a marked reduction in the number of registered Tier 4 (General) sponsors. This has been mainly due to sponsors surrendering their licences, the Home Office taking suspension or revocation action and/or the education providers ceasing to trade.

Students have also encountered difficulties finding a new sponsor since registered sponsors who are subject to the interim limit may not have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) available to assign to them.

Sponsor ratings
There are currently four possible ratings that a Tier 4 (General) sponsor may hold:

o     HTS (Premium)
o     HTS
o     A-rated Sponsor
o     Legacy Sponsor

The Register of sponsors (Tier 4) includes a list of all registered Tier 4 (General) sponsors and their rating under Tier 4 (General) or Tier 4 (Child).

An 'A rating' is considered to be a transitional rating. The Legacy Sponsor rating is for certain sponsors that did not meet/did not try to meet certain aspects of the educational oversight or HTS criteria in circumstances that did not lead to their licence being revoked. A range of restrictions apply to these sponsors that do not apply to HTS.

Highly Trusted Sponsors

All sponsors must apply for HTS status within specified deadlines.

A sponsor that applied for HTS status before 1 November 2014 was required to meet mandatory minimum requirements and to score 70 points or more on additional core measurable requirements. Independent schools were only required to meet the core measurable requirements if the Home Office deemed this nec-essary on a case-by-case basis.

In order for HTS status to be granted to a sponsor applying on or after 1 November 2014, the sponsor must meet core requirements. There is however scope for a discretionary assessment to be made in limited cir-cumstances where a sponsor cannot meet the core requirements. It is up to the sponsor to make submissions outlining why discretionary assessment is appropriate based on the sponsor's specific circumstances (see R (Access Education Ltd t/a Access College) v SSHD [2015] All ER (D) 225 Feb)

HTS status must be renewed annually and the renewal application must be submitted before the expiry of the existing HTS licence. The renewal application will be assessed against the criteria for HTS as published at the time of renewal.

With limited exceptions, only a sponsor holding HTS status can:

o     offer a course to a Tier 4 (General) student at Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) or National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3 and equivalent

o     offer a course to Tier 4 (General) student that is below QCF or NQF level 6 and includes a work placement, unless the course is a foundation degree

o     allow a Tier 4 (General) student to re-sit a course module or examination more than twice

o     allow a Tier 4 (General) student to start studying with the sponsor where it has issued a CAS and the CAS has been used in an in-time application submitted by the student but the application has not yet been decided

There is also the opportunity for a sponsor holding HTS status and meeting other eligibility criteria to pay an additional fee to access premium customer service from the Home Office.

Legacy Sponsors

A Tier 4 (General) sponsor will become a Legacy Sponsor where it:

o     did not make an application for educational oversight by the specified deadline
o     did make an application for educational oversight by the specified deadline but fails to meet the requirements
o     met the mandatory requirements for HTS status under the assessment process in place before 1 November 2014 but scored a near miss (more than 50 but less than 70 points) on the core measurable requirements for HTS, and then scored a second near miss when it re-applied for HTS, or
o     fails to pass a full assessment with the relevant educational oversight body at any time

A legacy sponsor will have its CAS limit set to zero and so will be unable to sponsor new students. If a student already studying with a legacy sponsor needs to extend their stay to complete their course, the sponsor must apply to the Home Office for a CAS.

A legacy sponsor will cease to be a sponsor at the date its sponsor licence is due to expire. It will no longer be able to sponsor Tier 4 (General) students from that date, irrespective of whether it has existing students who have not yet finished their course.

It is advisable for any Tier 4 (General) student who is currently studying with a legacy sponsor to find out the following information:

o     when the sponsor's licence is due to expire and whether the student anticipates being able to complete their course with the sponsor in the UK by this date, as a distance student from abroad, or with an alternative sponsor
o     whether the sponsor has requested judicial review of a decision made by the Home Office relating to the sponsor's licence and, if so, the current status of the litigation.

The type of education provider

A Tier 4 (General) sponsor may be one of the following types:

o     a recognised body
o     a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution (HEI)
o     a privately-funded HEI
o     an overseas HEI
o     a publicly-funded Further Education College (FEC)
o     a privately-funded FEC, or
o     an independent school

English-language schools are not listed separately as they will fall under one of the above types.

The type of education provider may have a bearing on:

o     what options an applicant under the Tier 4 (General) sub-category has for meeting the relevant English-language requirement
o     whether a single CAS may be issued to cover both a pre-sessional course and a course of degree level study
o     the work limitations applicable to a Tier 4 (General) migrant
o     the eligibility of a Tier 4 (General) migrant's dependents to accompany them

Since education providers of different types offer similar courses, the type of education provider may well be the determining factor for a Tier 4 (General) applicant.

This may be the case, eg if work experience is desired (including holiday internship experience or work with a Tier 2 sponsor prior to a decision on a further leave to remain application under that tier) or they have dependents.

Revocation action by the Home Office

The Home Office may revoke a Tier 4 (General) sponsor's licence in a large number of circumstances including where the sponsor:

o     fails to apply for HTS status or renewal of HTS status by a relevant deadline (subject to a suspension process and the consideration of any representations received relating to the failure)

o     is refused HTS status (subject to a suspension process and the consideration of any representations received relating to the failure), or

o     fails to comply with its sponsor duties, is dishonest in its dealings with the Home Office, fails to provide information it holds to the Home Office when required, or is considered a threat to immigration control

The eligibility criteria for sponsors to acquire and retain HTS status are not fully within the sponsor's control, eg the refusal rate of applications for entry clearance or leave to remain may relate to failures of the sponsor or the student, however, a refusal rate of 20 per cent or more will lead to a refusal of HTS status. The application for HTS status may also bring to light other sponsor compliance issues that the Home Office was not previously aware of, and which may justify revocation.

In the case of R (on the application of London College of Management Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) [2012] EWHC 1029 (Admin), [2012] All ER (D) 46 (Apr), the High Court found that the former UK Border Agency (UKBA) was entitled to refuse a sponsor HTS status where the rate of refusals was 20 per cent or more, and was not required to consider the reasons for each individual refusal. The sponsor had not understood that it was required to report non-enrolment where entry clearance or further leave had been refused. The relevant reporting requirement was considered by the court to be sufficiently clear in the relevant SG and the UKBA was therefore entitled to consider the sponsor's failure to report as a breach of sponsor duties.

In R (on the application of CNM (The College of Naturopathic Medicine) Ltd) v SSHD [2012] EWHC 1851 (Admin), the High Court upheld a decision of the UKBA to refuse HTS status to a sponsor where the rate of refusals was 20 per cent or more. In that case, the court held that:

o     it was not irrational for the UKBA to refuse HTS status in circumstances where no material harm to effective immigration control occurred, and
o     the UKBA was not required to discount a refusal where the student subsequently made a successful application for leave with the sponsor, because the refusal may have been an indicator of insufficiently robust vetting practices on behalf of the sponsor.

In R (on the application of West London Vocational Training College Ltd) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 31 (Admin), [2013] All ER (D) 83 (Jan) -- another case in which a sponsor had been refused HTS status due to exceeding the 20 per cent application refusal rate threshold--the High Court rejected the claimant's argument that the Tier 4 sponsor guidance (SG Tier 4) was invalid (being bound by the decision in R (on the application of New London College Ltd) v SSHD [2012] EWCA Civ 51). The court also considered that it was not unreasonable for the UKBA to expect a sponsor to satisfy itself that an applicant would be able to meet the maintenance requirement before issuing a CAS.

Similarly, in R (on the application of Western Governors Graduate School (WGGS) Ltd) v SSHD [2013] EWCA Civ 177, [2013] All ER (D) 80 (Mar) the Court of Appeal considered that the UKBA was entitled to refuse HTS status to a sponsor where that sponsor had an application refusal rate above 20 per cent and had failed to report 92 students who did not enrol after having applications for leave refused. In the court's view, although the UKBA had not published any specific refusal rate at the time the HTS status was refused, the sponsor should have been aiming to minimise refusals and was aware that its refusal rate would be assessed against the relevant norm. Further, the requirement to report non-enrolment was sufficiently clear in the relevant Sponsor Guidance and the UKBA had given consideration to the sponsor's representations regarding the mitigating circumstances before concluding that the sponsor had breached its reporting obligations.

R (on the application of Global Vision College Ltd) v SSHD [2014] EWHC 205 (Admin) is another case in which the UKBA's decision to refuse HTS status (and to subsequently revoke the sponsor's licence) was upheld. In this case, the sponsor's application refusal rate was above 20 per cent. The court held that it was not unlawful for the UKBA to refuse entry clearance applications where information given to it in interviews by prospective students undermined the veracity of what was stated in their CAS about how their English-language ability had been assessed by the sponsor. Although there was a disagreement between the sponsor and the UKBA as to whether particular discrepancies identified in the interviews did in fact undermine the veracity of the CAS, this was insufficient to justify requiring the UKBA to exercise its discretion and consider individual refusals rather than applying the mandatory 20 percent refusal rate requirement. The UKBA was entitled to conclude that a refusal rate above this threshold represented a threat to immigration control and that the sponsor could therefore not be considered 'highly trusted'.

In R (on the application of Lords College of Higher Education) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 2027 (Admin), [2013] All ER (D) 57 (Aug), a Tier 4 sponsor sought to challenge the suspension and revocation of its sponsor licence by way of judicial review. The High Court considered that although the UKBA had been entitled to suspend the licence, in revoking the licence on discretionary grounds, the UKBA failed to take into account any mitigating factors, as required by para 403 of the 4 July 2011 version of the SG Tier 4. The revocation decision was also considered unlawful due to revocation action not falling within the range of reasonable responses open to the UKBA in the circumstances of the case.

In R (on the application of Stanley College London UK Limited) v SSHD [2014] EWHC 1038 (Admin), [2014] All ER (D) 164 (Apr) the claimant college was unsuccessful in challenging the UKBA's decision to refuse HTS status and to revoke its licence due to the college having a refusal rate above 20 per cent. The college had issued 33 CAS, and 8 applications based on these had been refused. The High Court reiterated that the UKBA was not required to consider individual refusals. Since the claimant had not demonstrated in its representations to the UKBA that any exceptional circumstances applied, it was not irrational for the UKBA to choose not to exercise discretion and waive the 20% refusal rate requirement.

In R (on the application of Goldsmith International Business School) v SSHD [2014] EWHC 1232 (Admin), [2014] All ER (D) 41 (May), the High Court quashed the UKBA's decision to refuse the claimant HTS status, which had been made primarily on the basis that its application refusal rate was above 20 per cent. The court found that it had been Wednesbury unreasonable for the UKBA to include in the calculation 60 refused entry clearance applications which had been refused due to a failure of UKBA officials to properly apply UKBA guidance relating to when a programme of study may be covered by one CAS.

If the 60 erroneous refusals were excluded from the calculation, the claimant's refusal rate was below 20 per cent. Also, prior to September 2011 the college had failed to report students who did not enrol after having their application for leave refused. This failure was due to a misunderstanding of the sponsor guidance and the claimant started to report non-enrolments following refusal of leave once the misunderstanding had been identified. The court held that in the course of the decision-making on the HTS application, the UKBA had not paid sufficient regard to the claimant's current capacity and performance in reporting non-enrolments following refusal of leave.

The case of R (Access Education Ltd t/a Access College) v SSHD [2015] All ER (D) 225 Feb concerned a Tier 4 (General) sponsor whose application for HTS status was refused due to having an application refusal rate above 20 per cent, an enrolment rate below 90 per cent and for failing to report non-enrolments. The court found that the UKBA's approach in its assessment of these three factors had not been irrational. The college had argued that certain refusals ought to be discounted, however the UKBA was entitled to count refusals during the assessment period without looking into the reasons why each student did not choose to seek administrative review or to exercise a right of appeal. Similarly, the UKBA was entitled to count non-enrolments without looking into the reasons for non-enrolment.

If the college wished to have exceptional factors regarding this to be taken into account in the HTS assessment, it should have raised them at the time of application. Lastly, although the college claimed it was unable to report non-enrolments in some cases due to Sponsor Management System constraints, that claim was not substantiated and it could not be shown that the UKBA had placed irrational reliance on the failure to report non-enrolments.

Some compliance issues the former UKBA and Home Office have focused on to-date include:

o     poor student recruitment and agent monitoring practices
o     poor assessment of student ability before assigning a CAS
o     poor assessment of whether courses constitute academic progress
o     poor control of course-related work placements
o     lack of appropriate capacity at the education provider for the number of students sponsored
o     allowing students without valid and/or appropriate immigration permission to study at the sponsor
o     lack of appropriate planning permission for conducting a business that is an education provider
o     lack of evidence to demonstrate that courses offered to Tier 4 (General) students lead to an approved qualification
o     sharing of Sponsor Management System login details
o     poor attendance of students
o     poor attendance monitoring and other record-keeping systems
o     poor reporting of non-enrolments, student absences or changes of student circumstances
o     failure to adequately report changes of sponsor circumstances (including new principal, owner or premises), or reporting ownership changes (including share sales) of a kind that will result in revocation as confirmed in the Tier 4 sponsor guidance in force at the time of the change

Where a Tier 4 (General) sponsor's licence is revoked, the leave of the Tier 4 (General) migrants studying with the sponsor will normally be curtailed, as will the leave of any Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrant endorsed by the sponsor.

In practice, however, a Tier 4 sponsor may seek to challenge a revocation decision by way of judicial review. This may result in curtailment action being delayed, eg where interim relief is granted which prohibits the licence from being revoked until the judicial review is substantively determined.

The lawfulness of the licensing regime for Points-Based System (PBS) sponsors was confirmed in July 2013 by the Supreme Court in the conjoined cases of R (on the application of New London College Limited) v SSHD; R (on the application of West London Vocational College Limited) v SSHD [2013] UKSC 51, [2013] 4 All ER 195. In the majority judgment, the court decided that:

o     the SSHD's statutory power to administer a system of immigration control is contained in the Immigration Act 1971 (IA 1971) and extends to a range of ancillary and incidental powers not expressly set out in the Act, including vetting sponsors (at [28])
o     the SSHD's statutory power for vetting sponsors is not unlimited--the SSHD cannot adopt measures that:
◦     are inconsistent with the IA 1971 or the Immigration Rules
◦     are coercive (unless specific statutory authority has been given)
◦     infringe the legal rights of others (including under the ECHR)
◦     are irrational, unfair or otherwise conflict with public law constraints on administrative ac-tion (at [29])
o     the mandatory requirements for awarding and retaining a sponsor licence, set out in the SG Tier 4, are 'rules' within the meaning of IA 1971, s 3(2), however, they are not required to be laid before parliament since they do not regulate the entry and stay of migrants (at [24])

Lord Carnwath agreed with the majority that the appeals should be dismissed however, in his view (at [33]), the source of the SSHD's incidental powers for vetting Tier 4 sponsors are derived from the IA 1971, s 1(4), which allows the SSHD to regulate entry and stay for the purposes of study.

Issues for Tier 4 (General) students to consider

Due to the phased implementation of the changes to the Tier 4 (General) sponsorship regime (and few new additions to the Tier 4 register of sponsors), the number of registered Tier 4 (General) sponsors has declined since 2012. This trend is likely to continue at least until such time as the licences of all Legacy Sponsors have expired.

While there is no way for a Tier 4 (General) student to know whether their sponsor will retain a sponsor licence throughout the period of their intended studies, the following points may assist to minimise cost and disruption to them.

Sponsor selection

When selecting a Tier 4 (General) sponsor, a person may consider:

o     the rating of the sponsor
o     the academic reputation of the sponsor
o     whether the sponsor asks for, and retains copies of the person's identification documents, UK immigration documents (if relevant) and educational qualifications--all sponsors must do so and if the sponsor does not, this should raise concerns about its ability to comply with its sponsor duties
o     whether the sponsor asks for, and retains copies of secure English language test (SELT) results--all sponsors must do so and if the sponsor does not, this should raise concerns about its ability to comply with its sponsor duties
o     whether the sponsor undertakes its own assessment of English language ability (in addition to reviewing SELT results) and the student's capacity and intention to study the course
o     whether the sponsor asks for verification of the person's ability to meet the Tier 4 (General) maintenance requirement--it should do so in order to minimise the risk that the student's application for entry clearance or leave to remain will fall for refusal

Fee payment

In some instances, eg where a sponsor has ceased trading, students have encountered difficulties in obtaining fee refunds from sponsors following licence revocation. A person considering applying as a Tier 4 (General) migrant should enquire with the proposed sponsor regarding its fee refund policy and should consider paying their course fees using a credit card if possible.

If the person is unable to obtain a fee refund from the sponsor in the event they become entitled to one (either under the sponsor's fee refund policy or under consumer law), they may be able to pursue a claim through their credit card company.

Funding

Where a Tier 4 (General) student's sponsor ceases to hold a licence, a person considering studying in the UK as a Tier 4 (General) migrant should consider what sources of funding are available to them and ensure that the funding remains at all times in an acceptable format. For example, if the funding is from a spouse/partner or person other than a parent, then consideration should be given to holding the funding in a joint cash account. Cash funds should also be held in all cases in an institution that is not listed in the Immigration Rules, Appendix P as being unacceptable for Tier 4 maintenance purposes.

Tier 4 (General) students should not rely on being eligible to meet a reduced maintenance requirement due to having an established presence studying in the UK. This is because a student cannot control the timing of when they may need to make an application.

Alternative sponsorship

Where a person needs to find an alternative sponsor, the accreditation body that accredited their previous sponsor may be able to offer assistance. The accreditation bodies are as follows:

o     Accreditation UK
o     The Accreditation Body for Language Services (ABLS)
o     The Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC), or
o     The British Accreditation Council (BAC)

For those who have been studying an English-language course and wish to continue to do so, the English UK website may be able to offer assistance.

Timing issues

Some sponsors may not be in a position to offer a CAS to a continuing student where it has already reached its CAS limit, or where their CAS allocation has been set to zero. In such cases, if the person cannot obtain a CAS for the course they wish to study, they should enquire whether they may be able to re-enter the UK as a student visitor to complete their chosen course, or to complete it as a distance student from abroad.

There have been instances in which the Home Office has incorrectly curtailed the leave of Tier 4 (General) students to 60 days from the date their sponsor's licence was revoked. The correct procedure is for the Home Office to curtail leave 60 days from the date the student is notified that their leave is being curtailed. Where leave has been incorrectly curtailed, the Home Office should be contacted and asked for a correction, quoting the SG Tier 4, Document 2: para 183(a). For confirmation of the correct policy approach for the Home Office to take in this situation and the circumstances in which a student will be considered to have an established presence for maintenance purposes, see the UKBA's letter to UKCISA dated 6 December 2011.

There are a large number of time-based requirements of Tier 4 (General) and these should be carefully con-sidered before any application is submitted. Where a time-based requirement cannot be met, a decision will need to be made as to whether to submit the application with representations requesting the exercise of discretion outside the Immigration Rules. This approach may be entertained, eg where it is arguable that enforcing the requirement may lead to a breach of procedural fairness.

Alternatively, the person may depart the UK and apply for entry clearance once they are able to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules for Tier 4 (General). This may be the preferred option in cases where, eg the person no longer has current leave and wishes to avoid the possible imposition of a re-entry ban for remaining in the UK beyond the expiry of their leave.

This article was originally published in LexisPSL Immigration.

Lexis Information Hub

More content from LexisNexis

December 02, 2021

Empty white space in a data hall operated by an IT company forms part of a rateable hereditament

LexisPSL analyse a case in which empty white space in a data hall operated by an IT company forms part of a rateable hereditament
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.