Local authority challenged on cuts to legal advice services
Bryan McGuire QC and Matt Hutchings appeared in the Administrative Court last week defending the London Borough of Newham in a judicial review claim that it had unlawfully cut and failed to replace legal advice services in its borough.
The assertion was that by so doing it had acted in breach of its Public Sector Equality Duty and had failed conduct a lawful consultation.
Cornerstone Barrister to address the Royal Aeronautical Society
Gerard Forlin Q.C. is to address the RAeS on Tuesday 29th May at their conference entitled “Rotary Wing Mission Training Rehearsal and the Role of Flight Simulation”
Ranjit Bhose QC intructed against "Occupy London" protesters
Ranjit Bhose Q.C. has been instructed on behalf of the London Borough of Islington in their claim against the “Occupy London” protesters on Finsbury Square.
The Coalition Government’s reform of Housing Benefit
On 29 May 2012 Jon Holbrook is speaking on the "Housing Implications of Welfare Benefit Reform". Jon will be looking at the three changes that will affect housing benefit claimants that come into force next April: (i) the benefit cap of £18,000 for single people (£26,000 for couples) that will include housing benefit; (ii) the ‘bedroom tax’ that will penalise public sector tenants with spare bedrooms & (iii) further reductions on private sector tenants.
Gerard Forlin QC on international enforcement trends in aviation
Gerard Forlin QC was the keynote speaker at the Third European Safety Management Symposium in London on 16 May 2012.
Amongst a line up including safety and security directors from many of the major airlines, as well as academics and consultants, he addressed the conference on the current state of play and direction of travel in international aviation enforcement.
Court of Appeal gives guidance on the Homelessness Regulations
The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in Said El Goure v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea  EWCA Civ 670, a judgment of significance for homelessness practitioners.
The first basis of challenge was an alleged breach of regulation 6(2) of the Homelessness Regulations. This requires the local authority to notify a homelessness applicant of his right to make further representations on a review of its decision regarding the applicant’s homelessness. The Court held that a breach of the duty does not necessarily mean the review decision ought to be quashed, and took a purposive approach to compliance with that duty.
Gerard Forlin QC appointed to Welsh Jurisdiction Consultation Process
Gerard Forlin QC has been appointed to a sub-committee (2 QC's, 2 Juniors and 2 Solicitors) of the Association of London Welsh Lawyers looking into the Welsh Government Consultation on whether there should be a separate legal jurisdiction for Wales.
There is to be a meeting at the House of Lords regarding this in the week commencing 21st May 2012.
Sainsburys Rebuffed in Saffron Walden
In one of the first retail appeal decisions to be considered against the NPPF, a Sainsburys scheme for an out of centre foodstore at Saffron Walden has been rejected by an Inspector because of the trading impact on the town centre, and in particular on a planned investment by Waitrose to expand their existing town centre store.
Westminster City Council ordered to repay Soho Sex Shops
R (Hemming and Others) v Westminster City Council - Administrative Court - Keith J, 16th May 2012
In a seminal judgment, Mr. Justice Keith has ordered restitution of licence fees charged to sex shops by Westminster City Council.
A judicial review of Westminster’s sex licensing fees was brought by 7 owners of 13 sex shops in Soho and Covent Garden.
Chelsea Nightclub "Public" loses Appeal
The well-known nightclub, “Public” on Kings Road in Chelsea has lost its appeal against a curtailment of hours imposed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The club was taken to review by local residents in 2011 following allegations of nuisance and disorder. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Licensing Committee curtailed its terminal hours from 2 a.m. to midnight. The club appealed to Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court.
No obligation on Secretary of State to reopen gypsy caravan site inquiry following reinstatement of Regional Strategy
The ripples caused by the Cala Homes litigation were considered by Foskett J in a challenge to the decision of the Secretary of State to refuse planning permission in an appeal for a gypsy caravan site.
The inquiry into the appeal was heard at a time when the Regional Strategy (RS) had purportedly been revoked, but the Secretary of State’s decision was given some months later, after Cala Homes (No. 1) had restored the RS. In a judgment handed down on 8th May 2012, the High Court rejected a challenge based on an alleged failure to refer the matter back to the parties.
Costs in judicial review claims where a settlement is reached before trial
The Court of Appeal has given important guidance on the approach to costs when judicial review claims settle before final hearing.
In an age assessment claim against the London Borough of Croydon the Claimant M unsuccessfully sought an order that the Borough - represented by Catherine Rowlands - should pay all his costs.
Philip Kolvin QC comments to BBC London News on alcohol at club event amongst children as young as 14.
Philip Kolvin QC commented to BBC London News about evidence of illegal drugs being used by children as young as 14 attending supposedly “safe” all-night raves. Let’s Go Crazy (LGC) is a popular clubbing event which markets itself as a safe night out for over 16s where drugs will not be tolerated.
GDC v Ferreira [May 2012]
Tom Cosgrove appeared for the GDC in this case which involved consideration of serious and complex clinical failings by a dentist in relation to 18 patients over period of three years. The professional conduct committee determined that the practitioner was guilty of misconduct and that his fitness to practise was impaired. His registration was made subject to conditions for 12 months.
Independent Social Workers and Age Assessments
Jon Holbrook recently grilled three independent social workers who gave evidence for the claimant, an Afghan asylum seeker, in an age assessment case.
They had sought to support the claimant’s claimed age of 16 whereas Solihull’s social workers had concluded that he was probably 20. In what is understood to have been the first fully contested age assessment case in the Upper Tribunal the Tribunal concluded in favour of Solihull.
Guidance Given On Reporting Of Court Of Protection Cases
Bryan McGuire QC appeared for the local authority in a recent Court of Protection case which gives guidance in reporting of Court of Protection Decisions.
Sian Davies has helpfully digested Hedley J’s comments on best practice in regard to the citation and application of Court of Protection:
The case of A Local Authority v FG AG and HG (Court of Protection, anonymised transcript 27th April 2012) concerned the issue of how one assesses capacity. The question arose in the context of a young woman who could play some part in decision making, albeit a limited part and only with help. Hedley J found at paragraph 21:
Eligibility Training for Adults and Children
On 25th April 2012, Kelvin Rutledge and Jenny Oscroft delivered a seminar entitled “No Recourse to Public Funds” to delegates working in and with the London Borough of Bexley.
Over 70 attendees, including social workers from Adult and Child Services, health workers from the PCT, managers, housing and legal officers were given a comprehensive course in this fast-developing and complicated area of law,
Gerard Forlin QC speaks at 8th International Harbour Masters Congress
On Wednesday 16th May 2012 Gerard Forlin QC is delivering a speech entitled: ‘Navigating health, safety and corporate liability in the new commercial landscape’ at the 8th International Harbour Masters Congress in Cork, Ireland.
The 8th IHMA Congress will explore and address the changing landscape of ports and how these changes are redefining the role of harbour masters in the future.
Village Green Inquiry, Nottinghamshire
Anthony Porten QC acted for a consortium of builders in a recent Village Green Inquiry which raises an important point of interest: issue estoppel.
Mrs Malcolm applied originally in 2006 under s.13 of the Commons Registration Act 1965 for land at Hucknall to be registered as a TVG. Following an eight day Inquiry the application was dismissed on various grounds – use had not continued up to the date of the application, being prevented by the erection of fences a few days earlier; use had not been as of right due to (a) deference and (b) prohibitory signs.