Permitted Development Orders

December 23rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

New World Payphones Ltd v Westminster City Council (2019) EWCA Civ 2250 raised important questions concerning the proper approach to the scope of development covered by a permitted development order.

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Time Limits

December 23rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In the 2019 Rail Franchising Litigation, SoS for Transport v Arriva Rail East Midlands Ltd (2019) EWCA Civ 2259, the issue in the appeal was the applicable time limit for the bringing of claims arising out of a public procurement process which was not governed by the Public Contracts (and similar) Regulations. It raised the stark contrast between the 3-month time limit required for an application for Judicial Review, and the 6-year limit for a claim for breach of statutory duty provided by the Limitation Act 1980.  It also raised an issue as to the correct approach to the 3-month limit where the public law issues arise not from a one-off decision, but an ongoing process.

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Environmental Information

December 19th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

The question that arose in DoT v ICO (2019) EWCA Civ 2241 was as to the application to the information in issue of the definition of “environmental information” in the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“the EIR”), implementing EU Directive 2003/4/EC. The case concerned information of potentially “mixed character”: some environmental material, and some not.

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Landlord Liability

December 17th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

Essex County Council v Davies (2019) EWHC 3443 (QB) mainly concerned the long established Cavalier v Pope principle that a landlord is not liable for injuries arising from a property having been let in a dangerous state. The nine claimants were employees and visitors at a College leased from the County

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Non-Domestic Rates

December 13th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Council Tax and Rates

In Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and 16 Others v Derby City Council and 44 Others (2019) EWHC 3436 (Ch) the 17 Claimant NHS Foundation Trusts accepted that they occupied Hospitals and other properties on which they were liable to pay non-domestic rates to their local rating authorities, but claimed that they were entitled to a discount because they were a charity or occupied the relevant property wholly or mainly for charitable purposes: Section 43(6) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.  The claims failed.  Morgan J held that Foundation Trusts, under the consolidating National Health Service Act 2006, albeit public benefit corporations, are not charities within Sections 1-4 of the Charities Act 2011.

 

Fees

December 12th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

The fixing by local authorities of fees for taxis and minicabs has been considered by the Court of Appeal in R (Rehman) v Wakefield Council and LGA (2019) EWCA Civ 2166.  The charging power is Section 70 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (“the 1976 Act”). The Council’s case was not accepted that the costs of enforcing drivers’ conduct fell within Section 70 of the Act.  The Court of Appeal said that it was clear from the wording of Section 70 in the context of the Act that the cost of monitoring and enforcing driver conduct could not be taken into account in fixing the vehicle licence fee.  Part II of the Act provided for distinct and detailed regimes for (a) vehicle licences for taxis and private hire vehicles; (b) drivers’ licences; and (c) operators’ licences.  Each type of licence was governed by a comprehensive and self-contained statutory regime which addressed grant, terms, suspension, revocation and fee. There was no cross-referencing in relation to any of those matters. Thus, the notion that the fee for one type of licence could reflect the costs involved in another was entirely contrary to the structure of the Act. The “control and supervision” referred to in Section 70 was control and supervision by the local authority, not the driver.  It would be a strained and artificial interpretation of those words to claim that the local authority controlled the vehicle by monitoring and enforcing the driver’s behaviour. Moreover, the words in Section 70 could not have been intended by Parliament to authorise something entirely alien to the structure of Part II of the Act in view of its comprehensive self-contained regime for each category of licence. Nor could the proper interpretation of the legislation governing a licensing regime be affected by resource considerations.

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Village Greens: “Statutory Incompatibility”

December 12th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

In linked appeals R (Lancashire County Council) v SoS for DEFRA and R (NHS Property Services Ltd) v Surrey County Council (2019) UKSC 58, the Supreme Court was primarily concerned with the issue whether the concept of “statutory incompatibility” applies to prevent land from being registered as a village green where it is held for general statutory purposes.

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Judicial Review

December 10th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago v Ayers-Caesar, (2019) UKPC 44, Lord Sales for the majority of the Privy Council, reiterated, at paragraph 2, that (1) the threshold for the grant of leave to apply for judicial review is “low”; and (2) all that is to be examined is whether there is “an arguable ground for judicial review which has a realistic prospect of success”; but (3) wider questions of the public interest may have “some bearing” on whether leave should be granted; and (4) if the Court is “confident” at the leave stage that the legal position is “entirely clear” and to the effect that “the claim could not succeed”, it would “usually be appropriate” for the Court to dispose of the matter at that stage.

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Water and Sewerage Charges

December 3rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames v Moss (2019) EWHC 3261 (Ch) was concerned with council houses and flats where the supply of water is not metered, and where the water authority does not bill the council tenants, but does bill the Council. Mr Moss, a secure tenant, was obliged to pay “water charges” to the Council, his landlord. The issue was as to the calculation of those charges, pursuant to the tenancy Read more »

 

Injunction

December 3rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

Injunctions may be granted to restrict street protests in order to pursue the legitimate aims of preventing disorder and protecting others, as being lawful, necessary and proportionate in a democratic society, and not discriminatory. So held in Birmingham City Council v Afsar (2019) EWHC 3217 (QB), concerned with Read more »