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Public Sector Update - July 2015

Local Government Legal Awards 2015

Ashfords is pleased to announce that we will be this year's sponsor for the category 'Practice Management/ Development of Legal Services Professional/ Team of the Year' at the 2nd annual Local Government Awards.

The 2nd Local Government Legal Awards will be held on 20 November 2015 at London's Rosewood Hotel, presided over by Master of Ceremonies Clive Anderson. Hosted by the Lawyers in Local Government ("LLG"), the awards examine 10 different categories covering diverse aspects of local government, and gives recognition to those who work in this sector.

To apply for the awards you will need to visit the LLG website here and complete a Nomination Form with relevant contact details. Submissions should be sent to LLG (details on their website) in pdf format by Friday 11 September 2015, and those who are successful in this stage will then be contacted to provide additional details in support of their application - the deadline for completion of this second stage is Thursday 1 October 2015, after which the final shortlist will be announced.

We are very excited to be a part of this event, and we hope that many of you will decide to enter.

Construction

Settlement agreements: the need for caution and care

There can be many good reasons for reaching a settlement agreement when faced with the prospect of trial. Escalating legal costs and the uncertainty of the outcome are often two important factors. Indeed, the vast majority of commercial disputes, including those in the construction industry, are resolved this way.

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Data Protection

The Investigatory Powers Bill

The Queen's Speech, delivered on 27 May 2015, announced the legislative agenda for the current parliament. Amongst the legislation announced was the Investigatory Powers Bill, relating to interception and communications data. The Bill aims to maintain the ability of UK-based intelligence and law enforcement agencies to target online communications of serious criminals.

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Education

Education Public Sector Update - June 2015

In this edition we will look at:

  • Woodland v Maxwell [2015] EWHC 820 (QB)
  • Education and Adoption Bill
  • DfE issues updated guidance: Disposal or change of use of playing field and school land
  • NCTL guidance on teacher misconduct

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Employment

UK Court Hears First Case on Points-Based Immigration System

Despite a boom in business immigration in recent years, the court has only recently heard the first case concerning 'Tier-2' of the UK's points-based immigration system in R (on the application of Raj & Knoll Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2015).

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Personal Injury

Qualified One Way Costs Shifting -v- Fundamental Dishonesty

Qualified One Way Cost Shifting ("QOCS") now applies to all injury claims, except where a CFA was signed prior to 1 April 2013. As the new rules bed in, the full extent of the effect of QOCS is beginning to be seen.

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Planning

Court of Appeal says "I'm Your Man" …but only where there is no alleged change of use

Local planning authorities may take enforcement action where development appears to have taken place without planning permission or where conditions attached to a planning permission have not been complied with. 'Development' is defined in section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act as " the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations… or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land."

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Projects

Housing Stock Shortfall

The government concedes that there is currently a housing stock shortfall of more than 230,000 homes a year.
As part of the Queen's Speech on 27 May 2015, the newly appointed government have promised an extension of the Right to Buy scheme to 1.3 million housing association tenants in England.

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Property Litigation

Section 21, Disrepair and the Deregulation Act 2015: increasing the burden on local authorities

On 26 March 2015, the Deregulation Bill received Royal Assent, thereby becoming an Act of Parliament. This Act will have a significant effect on the rented sector. Sitting alongside provisions relating to tenancy deposits, it is a legislative change that is more than likely to increase the strain on the environmental health teams of local authorities.

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