Borrowing

February 25th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Capital Finance and Companies

Following Consultation in 2016, the Public Works Loan Board (“the PWLB”) has been abolished by the Public Bodies (Abolition of Public Works Loan Commissioners) Order 2020, S.I. 2020/176.

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PSED/ECHR Articles 6 & 14

February 21st, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Human Rights and Public Sector Equality Duty

In R (Leighton) v Lord Chancellor (2020) EWHC 336 (Admin), Cavanagh J considered allegations including breaches of the PSED under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2020 and of Article 6 of the ECHR or Article 14 of the ECHR in conjunction with Article 6.

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Unjustified Enrichment

February 21st, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In Vodaphone v OFCOM (2020) EWCA Civ 183,  the Court of Appeal has held that assessment of a claim for restitution, under the principle in Woolwich Equitable BS v IRC (1993) AC 70, that a public authority could not retain a fee collected without lawful authority, did not involve consideration of any counterfactual situation.

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Vicarious Liability

February 21st, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In Haringey LBC v FZO (2020) EWCA Civ 180,  the Court of Appeal held that the Council, which was the employer of a teacher, was vicariously liable for the teacher’s acts in grooming and sexually abusing a 13-year old pupil during his school years and thereafter, but in the teacher’s private time and not at school.  The Court addressed not only vicarious liability, but also limitation, “consent” (conditioned consent, resulting from a grooming process, was not true consent), and causation.

 

Appropriation of Allotment Land

February 19th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

On 13 May 2019 this Bulletin noted the decision in R (Adamson) v Kirklees MBC, in which an allotment holder’s claim succeeded, on the basis that the land had been appropriated for use as allotments, within Section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925.

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Investigation and Decision

February 17th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Uddin v London Borough of Ealing, UKEAT/0165/19/RN, concerned the dismissal of the Claimant by reason of misconduct.   One of the issues arose from the fact that the complainant who alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour towards her by the Claimant had withdrawn a complaint to the police, but the Council’s manager, who took the decision to dismiss, who knew that the complaint had been made, was not told by the Council’s investigating officer that the complaint had been withdrawn.  The EAT held that the fact that the investigating officer, who did know the complaint had been withdrawn, did not pass this on to the disciplinary decision maker, rendered the dismissal unfair, applying Royal Mail v Jhuti (2019) UKSC 55, on the reason for the dismissal, to the reasonableness of the dismissal decision: see Judge Auerbach in the  Ealing case at paragraphs 71-78, concluding, with respect to Jhuti in the Supreme Court:-

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Investment in commercial property

February 14th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

The National Audit Office has produced an 82 page Report on “Local Authority Investment in Commercial Property”. The Report makes Recommendations for MHCLG, HM Treasury and CIPFA. The Report’s “Key Findings” include with respect to risks and risk management and the Government’s “stewardship role”. The Report’s Conclusion on Value for Money are summarised as follows:-

“26.     The acquisition of commercial property can enable authorities to generate income in the context of financial pressure, while also supporting regeneration. However, the scale of investment of public funds in this activity in the last three years, the concentration of this activity in a relatively small group of authorities, and the use of borrowing to finance such investments is striking. The benefits from this investment therefore must be considered against the potential financial sustainability and value‑for‑money risks that have emerged. Read more »

 

Overlooking

February 14th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

Fearn v Tate Gallery (2020) EWCA Civ 104 raises important issues about the application of the common law cause of action for private nuisance to overlooking from one property to another, and the consequent invasion of privacy of those occupying the overlooked property. The Court of Appeal held that (1) mere overlooking is not capable of giving rise to a cause of action for private nuisance: paragraphs 74 and 85; and (2) there is no sound reason to extend the common law tort of private nuisance to overlooking in the light of ECHR Article 8: paragraph 95.

 

Rating List

February 13th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Council Tax and Rates

When should contiguous units of property occupied by the same occupier be entered on the non-domestic rating list as a single hereditament, pursuant to Section 64(3ZD) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as amended, and the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) etc Act 2018?

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Deprivation of Liberty

February 12th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Social Care

In R (Jallow) v SSHD (2020) UKSC 4 the Supreme Court considers, in the context of an immigration curfew, whether the meaning of “imprisonment”, at common law, should be aligned with the concept of deprivation of liberty (“DoL”) under Article 5 of the ECHR.  Lady Hale explains that the ECHR distinguishes between DoL and restriction of physical liberty.   Whether there has been a DoL depends on a number of factors.  The Supreme Court unanimously declines to accept the argument by the SoS that the time has come to align the domestic law of false imprisonment with the concept of DoL.  This would be a retrograde step. It would restrict the classic understanding of imprisonment at common law with the “much more nuanced” concept of DoL. There is no need for the common law to draw a distinction between deprivation and restriction of liberty, and good reason not to do so. It is possible for there to be imprisonment at common law without a deprivation of liberty under ECHR Article 5.  It was not necessary to decide whether the concept is true.