FIOA Exemptions

November 24th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in General

In DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS AND TRADE v INFORMATION COMMISSIONER and MONTAGUE (2023) EWCA Civ 1378 the Court of Appeal has ruled that the public interest recognised in two or more different provisions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) exempting information from disclosure should be assessed in combination when determining whether that public interest outweighed the public interest in disclosure. In other words, the Court approved of aggregation.  It rejected the contention that the public interest recognises in each exemption provision should be weighed separately against the public interest in disclosure. Read more »



November 23rd, 2023 by James Goudie KC in General

An Arbitration Bill was introduced ( in the House of Lords ) on 21 November 2023. The Bill when enacted aims to give effect to Recommendations by the Law Commission to amend the Arbitration Act 1996 ( the 1996 Act ). The main provisions of the Bill are : (1) a new rule on the governing law of an Arbitration Agreement : Clause 1; (2) codification of an Arbitrator’s Duty of Disclosure; Clause 2; (3) strengthening of Arbitrator immunity around resignation and applications for removal : Clauses 3 & 4; (4) introduction of a power for Arbitrators to dispose summarily of issues which have no real prospect of success : Clause 7; (5) clarification of Court powers in support of emergency Arbitrators : Clause 8; (6) clarification of Court powers in respect of arbitral proceedings : Clause 9; and (7) a revised framework for jurisdiction  challenges under Section 67 of the 1996 Act : Clauses 10 & 11;



November 21st, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Human Rights and Public Sector Equality Duty

Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights protects the general right of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others, and a specific right to form and join Trade Unions which applies in more limited circumstances. In INDEPENDENT WORKERS UNION OF GREAT BRITAIN v CENTRAL ARBITRATION COMMITTEE ( 2023 ) UKSC 43 the Supreme Court addresses whether there is an employment relationship for the purposes of Article 11 and whether the provision of Article 11 which protects Trade Union activity applies.



November 21st, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

I R ( IAB ) v SSHD (2023) EWHC 2930 (Admin) Swift J gave guidance on the Duty of Candour and on the procedure to be adopted by a party who wishes documents in Judicial Review proceedings to be redacted so as not to disclose the names of employees and/or contractors. The Duty of Candour is an obligation of explanation, rather than simply an obligation to disclose. It exists to ensure that the reasoning process underlying a challenged decision is explained. Disclosure of relevant material is required when it is necessary for the fair and just determination of an issue in the case. A person disclosing a redacted document should fully and succinctly explain at the point of disclosure the reason for the redaction and do so in a witness statement.



November 21st, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Housing

In KYLE v COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL (2023) EWCA Civ 1360 the Court of Appeal says at para 42 that (1) there is no need for accommodation to be so bad that a person could not be expected to stay there for another night for there to be homelessness for the purposes of the Housing Act 1996, (2) on the other hand, a person does not have to be entitled to remain in accommodation indefinitely, or for any particular period of time for it to be “ reasonable for him to continue to occupy “ it; (3) neither need he have accommodation which it would be “ reasonable …to continue to occupy” for ever; (4) in general at least Section 175(3) will be satisfied and a person will not be “homeless” if there is accommodation which it would be “ reasonable for him to continue to occupy “over the period which would elapse before the local housing authority re-housed him; (5) the physical characteristics of accommodation will often be of central importance in determining whether it is “ reasonable … to continue to occupy “it; (6) Restrictions affecting the person’s life in , and use of, the accommodation may also be relevant.


Time Limits

November 16th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

Limitation periods for bringing claims are set out in the Limitation Act 1980. The commencement of the period is postponed when any fact relevant to the right of action has been “deliberately concealed” from the claimant by the defendant. “Deliberate concealment” includes when there is a “deliberate commission of a breach of duty” in circumstances in which it is unlikely to be discovered for some time. The meaning of “deliberately” and “concealed” in this context are clarified by the Supreme Court in CANADA SQUARE OPERATIONS LIMITED v POTTER (2023) UKSC 41.

The Supreme Court holds that a fact will have been “concealed” if the defendant has kept it secret from the claimant, either by taking active steps to hide it or by failing to disclose it. Contrary to previous Court of Appeal authority, the claimant does not need to establish that the defendant was under a legal, moral or social duty to disclose the fact, nor does she need to show that the defendant knew the fact was relevant to the claimant’s right of action. All that is required is that the defendant deliberately ensures that the claimant does not know about the fact in question and so cannot bring proceedings within the ordinary time limit. Read more »


Council Tax: HMOs

November 8th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Council Tax and Rates

The Chargeable Dwellings and Liability for Owners, SI 2023/1175,amend 1992 council tax measures (1) so that a house in multiple occupation is always treated as a single dwelling for the purposes of council tax in England and (2) to expand the prescribed class of houses in multiple occupation for which the owner, as opposed to the resident, is responsible for paying the council tax.


Abuse of Process

November 8th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

To what extent, if at all, can a claim, which is in time, and found to be arguable on the merits, be struck out as an abuse of process, because of what was said (or not said) at an earlier hearing in separate but unrelated proceedings? That was the issue before the Court of Appeal in ORJI v NAGRA (2023) EWCA 1289. The Court addressed the rule in HENDERSON v HENDERSON and found that it was not applicable.

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November 7th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Decision making and Contracts

The 831 paragraph Judgment in the utility case of SIEMENS v HS2 (2023) EWHC 2768 (TCC) covers amongst other matters scoring challenges, change of control consent, evaluation, including power to seek clarification, abnormally low tender (ALT) review, verification prior to negotiation, pre-contract checks, modification, conflict of interest, adequacy of reason and judicial review. Legal principles on award criteria, equal treatment and transparency, and manifest error are set out between paras 135-146 and 575-577. The power to seek clarification is addressed at paras 511-516. The applicable test for ALT appears at para 559; the legal principles applicable to ascertaining the date when an economic operator first had actual or constructive knowledge of material grounds at paragraphs 731-735; abuse of process at paras 793-797; the adequacy of reasons at paras 817/818; and judicial review claims at paras 825-829. Siemens claim failed in all respects.


Limited Partnership

November 7th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

The question before the Court in FRONTIERS CAPITAL 1 LIMITED PARTNERSHIP v FLOHR (2023) EWHC 2723 (Ch) was whether the general partner of a limited partnership governed by the Limited Partnerships Act 1907 (the 1907 Act) has standing after the dissolution and apparent winding up of the partnership to sue a third party in respect of a cause of action accruing before dissolution. A limited partnership under the 1907 Act is of course different from an ordinary partnership under the Partnership Act 1890 (the 1890 Act) and from a limited liability partnership under the Limited Liability Partnership Act 2000.

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