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Local Government Lawyer News

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  LATEST HEADLINES

July 06, 2020

Evidence to be passed to prosecutors in investigation of missing £10m loan made by council

Evidence against 30 people investigated over the disappearance of a £10.25m loan made by Northampton Borough Council to a football club will start to be passed to prosecutors in the next two weeks, police have said.
July 06, 2020

Shopping centre site handed back to council unfinished following liquidation of redevelopment partnership

Nottingham City Council has been handed back control of the half-finished Broadmarsh shopping centre site after the collapse of retail landlord Intu into administration prompted the council’s joint venture with the company to be liquidated.
July 06, 2020

High Court to hold hearings on encampment injunctions this month

The High Court is this month due to hold hearings in relation to two high-profile injunctions against unauthorised encampments.
Jul 03, 2020

Top planning and infrastructure QC joins Keating Chambers

Leading planning and infrastructure specialist Charles Banner QC has joined Keating Chambers with effect from 1 July.
Jul 03, 2020

Key areas of local government legal practice likely to rebound post Covid-19: report

A new report by LexisNexis looking at the effect of COVID-19 on demand for legal services across the profession has found that many disciplines that form part of local government practice are set to grow strongly or stabilise once the pandemic is over.
Jul 03, 2020

Financial & Commercial Litigation Team at Brent wins ‘Legal Team of the Year’

The Financial & Commercial Litigation Team at Brent Council was named ‘Legal Team of the Year’ at the LLG Virtual Awards 2020, which were held last night.
Jul 02, 2020

Doctors lose legal challenge against council, police and CCGs over Local Safeguarding Arrangements Plan

Doctors have failed in a High Court challenge to Northamptonshire County Council, the county’s chief constable and two NHS clinical commissioning groups over whether they should be paid to assist safeguarding partners.
Jul 02, 2020

Council wins judicial review challenge over decision by Regional Schools Commissioner to back academy conversion

Somerset County Council has overturned at judicial review a decision by the South West Regional Schools Commissioner that a local middle school should become an academy.
Jul 02, 2020

County council launches claim for costs to repair defects on guided busway

Cambridgeshire County Council is again locked in litigation with construction contractor BAM Nuttall over its guided busway, seven years after their last dispute was settled.
Jul 02, 2020

Court of Protection judge approves young adult who lacks capacity being stem cell donor for mother

A young adult who lacks mental capacity can be used as a stem cell donor for a parent if this is also in the donor’s interest, the Court of Protection has ruled.
Jul 02, 2020

Council persuades High Court judge to quash judgment in default in data breach claim after papers posted to empty office during lockdown

The High Court has quashed a judgment in default awarded against the London Borough of Tower Hamlets because pandemic restrictions had made it impossible to the council to receive the claim concerned.
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Jul 02, 2020

Council to review decision-making process and reimburse mother after boy left without suitable education for second time

Norfolk County Council has agreed to review its decision-making process and internal communications in relation to its special educational needs services, and provide its People and Communities select committee with regular updates on its performance, following a critical report from the Local…
Jul 01, 2020

“All hands to the pump” for courts with no constraints on sittings days and no hesitation in using fee-paid and deputy judges: senior judges

The Lord Chancellor has agreed that there should be no constraints in the number of sitting days available during the COVID-19 recovery period for the courts or any hesitation in using fee-paid and deputy judges to fill any gaps which cannot be filled by the salaried judiciary, the Lord Chief…
Jul 01, 2020

Reports from social landlords of anti-social behaviour surge during COVID-19

Reports of anti-social behaviour have increased by 43% since March, the latest COVID-19 impact monitoring report by Housemark has revealed.
Jul 01, 2020

Tributes paid after sudden death of head of litigation at Government Legal Department

Tributes have been paid to Stephen Amos, Director of Litigation at the Government Legal Department, who has died this week.
Jul 01, 2020

New regulations to allow trials of rental e-scooters

Rental electric scooters will be allowed on roads, cycle lanes and tracks in the UK on a trial basis from this Saturday (4 July), the Government has said.
Jul 01, 2020

High Court to hear challenge next week over legal recognition of humanist marriages

The High Court will next week (7-8 July) hear a challenge over the legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales.
Jun 30, 2020

Chris Packham given permission to appeal in HS2 legal challenge

The Court of Appeal has agreed to hear broadcaster Chris Packham’s appeal regarding an application for permission for judicial review of the Prime Minister’s decision to proceed with the HS2 railway project.
Jun 30, 2020

Court of Appeal hears challenge to introduction of congestion charge for minicab drivers

The Court of Appeal will this week hear an appeal by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) over Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision to introduce a congestion charge on minicab drivers.
Jun 30, 2020

Department for Health and Social Care sets out position on ordinary residence determinations pending legal challenge

The Department for Health and Social Care has issued a position statement on the determination of ordinary residence disputes pending the outcome of the judicial review challenge brought by Worcestershire County Council.
Jun 30, 2020

Prime Minister promises ‘biggest shake-up of planning system since WW2’

Boris Johnson has announced a major review of planning law as a key component of the government’s economic recovery plan following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jun 29, 2020

Judge rejects application for interim relief after council offered unfurnished flat to claimant particularly vulnerable to COVID-19

A High Court judge has rejected an application for interim relief against a district council amid claims that an unfurnished one-bedroom flat was unsuitable accommodation for a claimant who was particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
Jun 29, 2020

London borough revises homeless prevention scheme after legal challenge

Lambeth Council is to revise one of its homeless prevention schemes, formerly known as Temp2settled, following a legal challenge amid claims it had resulted in families being removed from its social housing register.
Jun 29, 2020

High Court gives green light to judicial review challenge over removal of children’s social care safeguards during COVID-19

Children’s rights charity Article 39 has been granted permission for a judicial review of the Department for Education’s removal and dilution of children’s legal protections during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jun 29, 2020

Winckworth Sherwood advises social housing provider on £75m private placement

Winckworth Sherwood has advised Trident Group on its £75m private placement, in a deal that the law firm said “confirms the re-opening of the private markets to social housing providers”.
Jun 29, 2020

Large Midlands social landlord names 12 firms to £7.5m panel

One of the largest housing associations in the Midlands has appointed 12 law firms to a legal services framework worth an estimated £7.5m.
Jun 26, 2020

Council to pay £1,000, build new bat hibernation boxes and improve processes after Ombudsman criticises planning approval

Warwick District Council has agreed to pay £1,000 and provide new hibernation boxes for bats after it failed to properly consider the impact a development might have on local wildlife when it approved a planning application.
Jun 26, 2020

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman resumes taking new complaints online

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has announced that, after pausing all casework during the COVID-19 crisis, it will be resuming all existing casework and taking on new complaints through its website from next week (29 June).
Jun 26, 2020

Report highlights governance failings at borough council

South Ribble Borough Council has suffered major failings in its governance with auditors having given ‘no assurance’ over two spending areas and criticised legal service procurement.
Jun 25, 2020

County council in legal action against Health Secretary over ‘ordinary residence’ determination

Worcestershire County Council has started legal action against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in a dispute over which council should provide after-care services under the Mental Health Act 1983 to someone who has been detained on two occasions.
Jun 25, 2020

Property owners found guilty over illegal sub-division of building after ten year battle with council

Two joint property owners have been found guilty of illegally sub-dividing a building into seven substandard flats in a prosecution brought by the London Borough of Camden.
Jun 24, 2020

Councils told not to prioritise preparations for Liberty Protection Safeguards

The Government has told local authorities and other agencies not to give priority to the introduction of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) due to pressures from dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jun 24, 2020

Spending watchdog issues guide on financial reporting and management during COVID-19

The National Audit Office (NAO) has warned against any weakening of controls over spending public money as a result of pressures from dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, and has called for attention to possible new opportunities for fraud and error.
Jun 24, 2020

Five teams in running for 'Legal Team of the Year' at LLG Virtual Awards 2020

Five council teams have been shortlisted for the ‘Legal Team of the Year’ at the LLG Virtual Awards 2020, which will be held next week.
Jun 24, 2020

London borough names Binjal as Director of Law, Governance and HR

Lewisham Council has appointed Suki Binjal as Director of Law, Governance and HR.
Jun 24, 2020

Social housing consortium names 22 firms to legal services framework agreement

The Central Housing Investment Consortium (CHIC) of social housing providers and local authorities has appointed 22 law firms to its latest four-year, multi-million pound legal services framework agreement.
Jun 23, 2020

Chancery Lane demands action to clear employment tribunals backlog

The Law Society has called for action to be taken to clear a backlog of cases in employment tribunals ahead of an anticipated "avalanche" of post-COVID claims.
Jun 23, 2020

NALC renews calls for power to suspend councillors for up to six months

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has called on the Government to take “urgent action” to introduce a power for local authorities to suspend councillors for up to six months.
Jun 23, 2020

Court of Appeal to hear appeal over police use of automated facial recognition

The Court of Appeal will this week hear an appeal challenging police use of live Automated Facial Recognition (AFR) technology in public spaces.
Jun 23, 2020

Trowers promotes ten lawyers to partner

Law firm Trowers & Hamlins has promoted ten lawyers across a range of practice areas to its partnership with effect from 1 July 2020.
Jun 23, 2020

Sharpe Pritchard recruits employment law partner

Public law specialist Sharpe Pritchard has bolstered its employment law offering with the appointment of a new partner.
Jun 23, 2020

Barristers chambers appoints public sector commercial lawyer as its new chairman

Parklane Plowden Chambers has appointed David Kilduff, previously the head of the Commercial Group at Walker Morris, as its new chairman.
Jun 23, 2020

Public law specialist joins 39 Essex Chambers

Public law and human rights specialist Ian Brownhill has joined 39 Essex Chambers from No. 5 Chambers.
Jun 22, 2020

Just 4% of Directors of Adult Social Services confident they will have budget to meet statutory duties: research

Only 4% of Directors of Adult Social Services are fully confident that their budget will be sufficient to meet their statutory duties this year, down from 35% in 2019/20, the annual budget survey by ADASS has found.
Jun 22, 2020

Government to extend consents for sites with planning permission that would have expired during lockdown

Sites with planning permission that have an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of 2020 will see their consent extended to 1 April 2021, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, has announced.
Jun 22, 2020

Ministry urges councils to shy away from enforcement action that would unnecessarily restrict outdoor stalls

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has called on local authorities not to undertake enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting outdoor stalls.
Jun 22, 2020

Court of Appeal allows appeal over refusal of application for intermediary assessment

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal from a case management decision in care proceedings refusing an application by a parent with a learning disability for an intermediary assessment and the appointment of an intermediary.
Jun 22, 2020

Ministry issues code of practice for commercial property relationships during COVID-19

The Government has published a code of practice “to encourage commercial tenants and landlords to work together to protect viable businesses” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jun 19, 2020

LLG and ADSO warn on lawfulness of 'hybrid' meetings

So-called ‘hybrid’ meetings - where some councillors are present in a committee room and others participate remotely - are unlawful “under the current situation as it stands at the moment”, Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) have concluded.
Jun 19, 2020

Landlord fails in bid to vacate earlier guilty plea amid claims council was improperly motivated by prospect of confiscation windfall

A landlord has failed in a judicial review challenge after he was refused permission to vacate a guilty plea in relation to an enforcement notice, amid claims that a council was improperly motivated by an expected windfall from a confiscation order.
Jun 19, 2020

Browne Jacobson appoints new Head of Higher Education

Law firm Browne Jacobson has appointed partner Bettina Rigg to its national education practice where she will be the firm’s Head of Higher Education.
Jun 18, 2020

Judge declares council was entitled to exit 25-year waste processing contract, awards £10m+ in damages

Essex County Council was entitled as at 13 June 2019 to terminate a 25-year contract for the processing of household waste, a High Court judge has ruled.
Jun 18, 2020

Court of Appeal refuses Valuation Office Agency permission to appeal ruling on rateable valuation of council-run museum

The Court of Appeal has refused to grant the Valuation Office Agency permission to appeal a ruling in favour of Exeter City Council over the rateable valuation of the city’s Grade II-listed Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM).
Jun 18, 2020

High Court judge issues ruling over notification of ending of interim duty under section 188 of Housing Act 1996

The London Borough of Islington must pay costs in a homelessness case even though the claimant’s win was “to some degree ‘technical’”, the Administrative Court has ruled.
Jun 18, 2020

Judge declines to consider judicial review bid over inclusion of 'informative' in CLEUD

A High Court judge has declined to hear a judicial review application concerning the inclusion of an ‘informative’ into a certificate of lawfulness of existing use or development ("a CLEUD").
Jun 18, 2020

Social landlord fails in Upper Tribunal appeal over conditions for dispensing with normal consultation of tenants

Social landlord Aster Communities has lost an appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) over consulting lessees about works whose cost could be recovered through the service charge.
Jun 18, 2020

Charity urges closure of “legal loophole” in housing of vulnerable children

A “legal loophole” has left hundreds of vulnerable children who face homelessness to fend for themselves in unregulated children’s homes, children’s legal charity Just for Kids Law has claimed.
Jun 17, 2020

Pandemic has led to human rights abuses of young people with autism or learning disabilities who have been detained: MPs

The coronavirus crisis has resulted in human rights abuses of young people who are autistic or have learning disabilities and have been detained, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has claimed.
Jun 17, 2020

County council withdraws post-16 transport policy after judicial review threat

A county council withdraws its new post-16 transport policy for the 2020-2021 academic year after being threatened with a judicial review challenge.
Jun 17, 2020

Decision to disqualify bidders from rail franchise procurements was lawful: High Court

A Department for Transport decision to disqualify three bidders from procurement competitions for the South Eastern, East Midlands and West Coast Partnership passenger rail franchises was lawful, a High Court judge has ruled.
Jun 17, 2020

Judge refuses application by father to adjourn final hearing so it can be held in Preston and not Manchester

A Family Court judge has refused a father’s application for an adjournment of a part-heard final hearing so the proceedings could continue to be heard in Preston rather than moved to Manchester.
Jun 17, 2020

DAC Beachcroft strengthens public sector liability expertise with four-strong, partner-led team hire

Law firm DAC Beachcroft has hired a four-strong team of public sector liability specialists, including partner John Palmer, from DWF in London.
Jun 16, 2020

Leaseholder pays social landlord £48k for unlawfully renting out his flat

A man who breached the terms of his lease by using his flat in Tower Hamlets as a holiday let has agreed to pay back social landlord EastendHomes nearly £50,000.
Jun 16, 2020

Local Government Association consults on Model Member Code of Conduct

The Local Government Association (LGA) has launched a consultation on a draft Model Member Code of Conduct that could be a template for councils to adopt in whole and/or with local amendments.
Jun 16, 2020

Council wins Upper Tribunal appeal over whether property was house in multiple occupation

The Upper Tribunal has allowed a borough council’s appeal over whether a property was a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Jun 15, 2020

Public Law Working Group makes recommendations for change in approach to special guardianship orders, issues best practice guidance

The Public Law Working Group led by Mr Justice Keehan has issued a series of recommendations for change in relation to special guardianship orders and also best practice guidance on their use.
Jun 15, 2020

Blackpool Borough Council awarded £1.1m in tram depot construction claim

A High Court judge has awarded Blackpool Borough Council £1.1m in damages in a claim for alleged breaches of contract in relation to the design and construction of a new tram depot.
Jun 15, 2020

Court of Appeal upholds broad discretion of family courts in FGM cases

The Home Secretary has lost an appeal over a ruling that in the exercise of the family court's jurisdiction to make a female genital mutilation (FGM) protection order, the family court is not bound to take a previous assessment or determination of risk of FGM made by the Immigration and Asylum…
Jun 15, 2020

Government amends MCA/DOLS guidance during COVID-19 to include section on right to appeal if those subject to emergency health powers and lacking capacity

The Department for Health and Social Care has added a new section to The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: additional guidance on the right to appeal if someone is subject to emergency health powers and lacks…
Jun 15, 2020

Council agrees to pay out £60k after Ombudsman report into failure to support autistic woman

A council has agreed to pay a woman with autism, severe anxiety disorder and associated mental health disorders £60,000 after it failed to provide her with support for more than five years.
Jun 15, 2020

Councils call for suspension of No Recourse to Public Funds condition

The Local Government Association has called for the suspension of the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) “so that all vulnerable individuals are entitled to receive support during the coronavirus crisis”.
Jun 15, 2020

Government facing legal challenge over urgent award of £108m PPE contract

The Good Law Project will today launch judicial review proceedings over the Government’s award of an £108m contract to a pest control company for the supply of PPE.
Jun 12, 2020

Community councillor in Wales fails to secure injunction to stop Ombudsman investigating complaints against him

A High Court judge has rejected an application by a community councillor for an injunction against the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) to stop its investigation of complaints made against him.
Jun 12, 2020

CIPFA proposes temporary amendments to s.114 guidelines in wake of COVID-19

At the earliest possible stage a chief financial officer (CFO) should make informal confidential contact with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to advise of financial concerns and a possible forthcoming s.114 requirement, CIPFA has proposed in amended guidance.
Jun 11, 2020

Government issues procurement policy note on recovery and transition from COVID-19

The Cabinet Office has issued a procurement policy note on recovery and transition from COVID-19 that applies to all contracting authorities.
Jun 11, 2020

Neighbourhood forum wins Planning Court challenge over Leeds site allocations plan and Green Belt land releases

A neighbourhood forum has successfully challenged Leeds City Council’s site allocation plan in the High Court in a dispute over calculating Green Belt release for housebuilding.
Jun 11, 2020

Council wins appeals over reduction of penalties for unlicensed flat rentals

The London Borough of Waltham Forest has won two appeals over reductions made by the First-Tier Tribunal to penalty notices for unlicensed flat rentals.
Jun 11, 2020

Family Court judge considers power summarily to dismiss findings sought by local authority

The Family Court will determine allegations made by an unnamed local authority as to how a child came to sustain a head injury, Mr Justice MacDonald has ruled.
Jun 11, 2020

Upper Tribunal orders re-hearing in dispute over penalties imposed after fire safety inspections at flats

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has overturned two penalties imposed by the London Borough of Croydon over fire safety inspections of private flats.
Jun 11, 2020

Survivors of Manchester Arena bombing in legal action to secure core participant status at public inquiry

Survivors of the Manchester Arena bombing are taking legal action to try to secure core participant status at the public inquiry into the atrocity.
Jun 11, 2020

Court of Appeal dismisses legal challenge over voter ID

A former member of Braintree District Council has lost a Court of Appeal case over the Government’s decision that it and other councils had to pilot voter identification in the 2019 local elections.
Jun 10, 2020

Law firm advises social housing provider on £23m modular housing partnership

TLT has advised social housing provider Stonewater on a multi-million pound deal with modular housing firm ilke Homes to deliver 120 new affordable homes in Herefordshire.
Jun 10, 2020

Mother loses appeal over fairness of hearing where her shielding QC cannot be physically present

A mother has lost her appeal over a judge’s decision to continue a fact-finding hearing later this month in care proceedings in circumstances where her leading counsel cannot be physically present because she is required to shield from the COVID-19 infection.
Jun 10, 2020

Borough council to accelerate applications for temporary changes to use of public areas and private land

Cheltenham Borough Council is understood to have become one of the first local authorities in the country to accelerate applications for temporary changes to the use of public areas and private land.
Jun 09, 2020

Government issues advice to local authorities on how to fight procurement fraud

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a Review into risks of fraud and corruption in local government procurement, which provides advice on how councils can strengthen their processes and implement prevention measures.
Jun 09, 2020

Childcare lawyer to swap council for independent bar

A childcare lawyer at Reading Borough Council is to join specialist family law set Four Brick Court in August.
Jun 09, 2020

North East law firm hires Walton to lead procurement team

North East law firm Muckle has appointed partner Alison Walton to lead its dedicated procurement team.
Jun 09, 2020

Family President predicts “very radical reduction” in amount of time that courts afford to each hearing

It is unlikely that anything approaching a return to the normal court working environment will be achieved before the end of 2020 "or even the spring of 2021", the President of the Family Division has said.
Jun 08, 2020

LLG President issues statement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter

The President of Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) has issued a statement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter and made a commitment to more than words.
Jun 08, 2020

High Court judge issues mandatory order requiring council to provide urgent night-time support for disabled brothers

A local authority acted unlawfully after it failed to provide night-time care and support to two adult brothers with severe physical and learning disabilities pending a full needs reassessment, a High Court judge has ruled.
Jun 08, 2020

More courts to reopen this week for socially-distanced hearings

Sixteen more courts have been assessed as suitable to hold socially-distanced hearings and will reopen this week, the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts & Tribunals Service have announced.
Jun 08, 2020

Charity launches High Court challenge over dilution of children’s social care duties during COVID-19

A children’s rights charity is to ask the High Court to quash a statutory instrument that introduced significant changes to children’s social care law during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jun 08, 2020

Housemark data reveals increases in ASB, arrears and non-emergency repairs

Social landlords saw a 30%+ increase in reports of anti-social behaviour in April, COVID-19 impact monitoring by Housemark has suggested.
Jun 05, 2020

Evictions to be suspended for further two months, says Secretary of State

The government is to suspend evictions from social and private rented accommodation by a further two months, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has said.
Jun 05, 2020

Master of Rolls sets up working group as concerns expressed about end to stay on housing possession claims

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, has established a cross-sector working group to address concerns about the consequences of the current stay on housing possession claims ending.
Jun 05, 2020

Spending watchdog warns public bodies on challenge of managing end of PFI contracts as disputes loom

More than a third of public bodies expect to have formal disputes as PFI contracts come to an end, the National Audit Office has found.
Jun 04, 2020

Claimant calls off judicial review action after council offers concessions on use of Care Act 'easements'

Concessions by Derbyshire County Council have enabled it to avoid a threatened judicial review over use of the Care Act ‘easements’ introduced by the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Jun 04, 2020

Official Solicitor takes part for first time in hearing of out of hours application in serious medical treatment case

The Official Solicitor has for the first time taken part in the hearing of an urgent out of hours application in a serious medical treatment case.
Jun 04, 2020

Government facing legal action over policies on care homes during COVID-19 crisis

A daughter whose father died of suspected COVID-19 in a care home is to launch a legal action “to hold the government to account”.
Jun 04, 2020

High Court judge hands down ruling on secure flexible tenancies and possession during fixed term

A landlord cannot determine a flexible tenancy prior to the expiry of its fixed term without a forfeiture clause even in the event of default by the tenant, the High Court has ruled.
Jun 04, 2020

Campaigners get green light for legal challenge over felling of wood near planned nuclear power station

A group that campaigns against the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station has won permission to take East Suffolk Council to judicial review in a dispute over felling a wood.
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