Oxfordshire Director of Legal

The right to lobby councillors: Holborn Studios 2

A High Court judge recently considered the right of local councillors to receive correspondence from the public and to consider it when making decisions. Richard Harwood QC analyses the outcome. Read more
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  NEWS

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 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

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

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

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 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 17, 2020

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

A county council has withdrawn its new post-16 transport policy for the 2020-2021 academic year after being threatened with a judicial review challenge.

  FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

June 26, 2020

Child protection, diplomatic immunity and human rights

Hannah Whitehouse summarises two recent decisions by a High Court judge in relation to diplomatic immunity and public law children proceedings that are likely to be significant and have wide-reaching ramifications.
June 26, 2020

Site allocation plans and Green Belt release

A Planning Court judge recently allowed a legal challenge to the Leeds Site Allocations Plan. Jenny Wigley explains why.
June 19, 2020

Requests for care pending assessment

A recent judgment is extremely significant for local authorities considering requests to provide care pending assessments or reassessments of needs, writes Arianna Kelly.
June 11, 2020

The Court of Appeal, decision-making capacity and sex

An important ruling from the Court of Appeal raises the question: have we been getting it all wrong? Alex Ruck Keene analyses the judgment.
June 05, 2020

Children case law update: vaccinations and appeals out of time

Georgina Dalton summarises a recent Court of Appeal ruling on vaccination of children in care, and a High Court decision on an appeal out of time.
June 04, 2020

Gulliksen dead and McGeown fatally wounded?

Matthew White looks at the key points for highways authorities and claimants from an important Court of Appeal ruling this week.
May 28, 2020

Committal applications during COVID-19

Clare Jones and Sian Evans analyse the courts' approach to committal applications during the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 26, 2020

The interface between statutory nuisance and disability discrimination

A 67-year-old woman with a neurological disorder that causes her to make involuntary sounds and noises has failed in a judicial review challenge over a noise abatement notice. Charles Holland examines the judgment.

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  MORE NEWS

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

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 Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal in its determination of an asylum application based upon the risk of…
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 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

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

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 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

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 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 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.

  MORE FEATURES

May 22, 2020

Injuncting Ofsted reports

The Court of Appeal has maintained the heightened hurdle test when it comes to seeking an injunction over an Ofsted report, says Peter Oldham QC.
May 22, 2020

The end of R v Ghosh and the new test for criminal dishonesty

A recent judgment of the Court of Appeal is likely to be welcome news for local authority prosecutors and their investigation teams, writes Matt Marsh.
May 22, 2020

Don’t put it in writing! Problems in store for local authority environmental crime

Ben Mills analyses an important ruling on the powers of local authorities to investigate environmental crime.
May 22, 2020

How does ADR help "to do better"?

In this second article John Pugh-Smith reviews the results of recent membership surveys of the Compulsory Purchase Association and the Planning and Environment Bar Association and their successful outworkings particularly in the fields of compulsory acquisition and statutory compensation.
May 21, 2020

Public law (children) update

Michael Jones, barrister at Deans Court Chambers, rounds up the most important Court of Appeal and Family Division judgments in public law childcare cases so far this year.
May 15, 2020

COVID-19 and inquests: an update with Peter Skelton QC

In this episode of Law Pod UK, Emma-Louise Fenelon and Peter Skelton QC discuss the recent changes in legislation and guidance concerning the Coronial jurisdiction since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the ways in which Coroners and practitioners are rising to meet the challenges faced in lockdown.
May 12, 2020

Ultra vires contracts and maintained schools in the Commercial Court

Following a two-week trial in the Commercial Court, Foxton J has handed down a very significant judgment concerning the application of the ultra vires doctrine to contracts with public bodies, specifically the powers of education bodies to enter into finance leases. Barristers at 11KBW explain the ruling.
May 11, 2020

Unlicensed HMOs and liability

A London borough recently successfully defended two claims for judicial review of decisions it made against directors of property companies operating, and owners of property, in its area. Simon Kiely, Aleksandra Wolek and Christos Paphiti explain how the ruling will help local authority housing departments and prosecutors.
May 01, 2020

Section 106s and the 'technical traps' submission

John Pugh-Smith explores the inherent difficulties with the concept of the 'technical trap' in relation to s.106 agreements.
May 01, 2020

Capacity under the microscope

The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers detail an important case concerning a woman with dementia and mild learning difficulty and her capacity to consent to sexual relations as well as contact with her husband in distinction from having contact with others.
April 27, 2020

Possession claims and breaches of the PSED

A breach of the public sector equality duty recently proved not to be fatal to a claim for possession. Nicholas Grundy QC and Donna McCarthy explain how a Court of Appeal judgment leaves PSED defences in such cases, and give their top 10 tips for ensuring compliance with the duty.
April 27, 2020

Coronavirus Act 2020: updated Practice Direction 51Z

Sian Evans and Karen Neald look at the updated Practice Direction 51Z and how it impacts on possession proceedings against trespassers.
April 27, 2020

Possession and errors in procedure

A Master has held that although a local authority had not given proper notice of their application for permission for a writ of possession in the High Court under CPR 83.13(8)(a), that defect could be waived under CPR 3.10 on the facts of the case. Toby Vanhegan reports.
April 24, 2020

Homelessness appeals and contracting out

The Court of Appeal recently decided that there was jurisdiction within a homelessness appeal to decide the lawfulness of contracting out, but that on the facts of the case, the homelessness review function had been lawfully contracted out by the local housing authority. Timothy Straker QC and Toby Vanhegan analyse the ruling.
April 17, 2020

Vulnerability and the PSED: No arid debates. No straitjackets. No disciplinary stick

The Court of Appeal has upheld the decisions of two councils where reviewing officers had considered the Public Sector Equality Duty without making clear findings as to whether the applicant in each case was disabled, and concluded that those applicants were not vulnerable. Michael Paget, Zoë Whittington, Catherine Rowlands and Rowan Clapp report.
April 15, 2020

COVID-19: contact with children in care

Mark Smith explores the legal principles that will give family practitioners their bearings and guide the court’s approach to contact with children in care through the coming weeks and months.
April 15, 2020

Possession proceedings - and alternatives - to counter Anti-Social Behaviour during COVID-19 lockdown: Should you stay, or should they go?

Peter Marcus explores the options that social landlords have to enforce against anti-social conduct committed in rented residential property, given the last month of impromptu legislation, guidance and procedural changes.
April 14, 2020

Articles 3 and 8 in the time of coronavirus

Arianna Kelly looks at a new case with significant implications for local authorities using the Care Act ‘easements’.
April 09, 2020

Covid-19 scams and how to tackle them

Supplying counterfeit personal protection equipment (PPE), unproven health supplements purported to prevent infection and failure to supply paid for PPE are amongst a number of scams occurring during the COVID-19 crisis, say Cameron Crowe and Sabrina Goodchild, who look at the powers local authorities can use in response.
April 03, 2020

Foster families and human rights

In an important judgment, the Court of Appeal has confirmed the general application of Article 8 of the European Convention (right to family life) in the context of foster care. Peter Wake analyses the ruling.