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October 2013

Further legal challenges to the ‘bedroom tax’ in England and Wales

In previous editions of the Update we referred to an unsuccessful legal challenge to the so called ‘bedroom tax’. It would appear that the decision of the High Court has been appealed and will be considered by the Court of Appeal in the near future. In addition to that challenge, a number of other legal actions have been initiated on the same matter.

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Other Public Interest Cases

Legal challenge to fracking begins

A dairy farmer from Lancashire, with support from Greenpeace, has initiated legal proceedings against the practice of fracking in England. Greenpeace claims that landowners have a legal right to veto fracking from taking place underneath their land and property.

The dairy farmer, Andrew Pemberton, supplies milk to 3,000 households in Lancashire. He has said that he will lose his livelihood if the local water becomes contaminated as a result of fracking.

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Environment Rights & Planning Law

Defamation, football, and parliamentary privilege

Another matter engaging the laws of defamation relates to a Parliamentary Select Committee investigation into allegations of corruption amongst certain football administrators.

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Dafamation

Two cases could mark the end of ‘legal tourism’ in the area of defamation law

There have been long standing concerns about England and Wales becoming the jurisdiction of choice for claimants, seeking to protect their reputations through legal actions in the fields of libel and slander.

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Dafamation

Irish High Court makes a PCO in an environmental case

The Irish High Court has granted a Protective Costs Order (PCO) to a woman who is trying to stop an apparently unauthorised development of a waste facility near her home.

The case falls under the Aarhus Convention. The Convention states clearly that environmental law cases must not be ‘prohibitively expensive’. The issue of costs might be particularly difficult in the area of environmental law, where individuals or small organisations of modest means want to challenge the actions of public bodies or private developers.

In granting the PCO, the judge noted the following:

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Cost Order

Widow of poisoned Russian ex-FSB agent refused Protective Costs Order by English High Court

Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London in November 2006. It was revealed that he died from drinking tea that had been poisoned with Polonium 210. The police investigation into Mr Litvinenko’s death established 2 Russian citizens to be the main suspects. It is understood the UK government is in possession of further information surrounding his death, which could indicate he was poisoned on the orders of the Russian government.

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Cost Order

Judge orders children to be given the MMR vaccination against their wishes

Two sisters have been ordered by the High Court to be given the MMR vaccination, contrary to the wishes of their mother and the children themselves. The legal action was taken by the father of the 2 children.

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Family Law

Court of Appeal of England and Wales hold that a non-consensual adoption can breach Article 8 rights of biological parents

This case is one of the most recent judgments to be handed down since the Supreme Court decision of Re B (A Child), which places greater emphasis on appeal and higher courts scrutinising decisions made in cases of non-consensual adoptions at first instance. The Court outlined its concerns that insufficient consideration is being afforded to the convention rights of the parties when decisions are being reached.

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Family Law

Court of Appeal of England and Wales allow a challenge to a decision refusing to allow contact between a father and his child

In this case, the appellant, M, is a father of 3 children. M has a criminal record. Although the offending was of some vintage, all but one of the convictions related to offences involving violence, including a conviction for grievous bodily harm with intent. Prior to the breakdown of his relationship with the children’s mother, they had witnessed M being verbally and physically aggressive towards their mother. As a result, she left the family home with the children and went to live in a refuge.

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Family Law

English High Court quashes decision of a Local Authority to build a luxury golf resort

This case has been referred to as a prime example of the importance of judicial review in holding public bodies to account.

The case related to a decision of a Council to provide planning permission for a luxury golf resort in Surrey. Planning was granted despite the recommendation of the local planning authority not to grant permission.

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Environment Rights & Planning Law

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