Local Govt

39 Essex Chambers Local Government Covid-19 Newsletter

Covid-19 is touching all aspects of daily life and therefore it is no surprise that local authorities, with their wide-ranging public duties, are in the thick of the impact of the changes the past few weeks have brought.

Below please find articles prepared by members of 39 Essex Chambers on Covid-19 which may be of interest to our local government clients:

All Skype Trial

Peter Mant appeared last week in a three day trial conducted entirely over Skype, in what the Law Society Gazette described as a “legal first”.  Read about that trial here.

Exam Cancellation

Fenella Morris QC and Jennifer Thelen consider the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A Levels exams for the 2020 cohort, and what a fair appeals system, from the new system of “calculated grades”, might look like.

The Covid-19 Pandemic, the Coronavirus Bill and the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Alex Ruck Keene and Rosie Scott consider the Coronavirus Bill and the Mental Capacity Act 2005, together with Non-Statutory Guidance and Court of Protection Guidance, and provide commentary and practical suggestions for those practising in the Court of Protection here.

Covid-19: The Coronavirus Bill 2020 and its effect on the Care Act 2014

Fenella Morris QC and Sian Davies review changes to the duties of local authorities towards adults with care and support needs and their carers under the Care Act 2014, arising from the Coronavirus Bill.

Local Authority support for children and families during Covid-19 pandemic

A further note from Sian Davies on the changes to the duties of local authorities towards children and families arising from the Coronavirus Bill is available here.

Covid-19: a new dawn for injury litigation?

Sadie Crapper analyses the practical impacts on personal injury litigation, and the challenges lawyers face to ensure that injured claimants are able to obtain access to justice and to prevent a catastrophic backlog in the civil court system.

SEN Update

Rachel Sullivan considers changes to the SEN scheme proposed in the Coronavirus Bill and practical guidance issued by the First-tier Tribunal (HESC) on hearings before it.

Information rights in the Era of a Pandemic

Jennifer Thelen’s article looks at the impact of the coronavirus on data protection and freedom of information law in light of the ICO’s recent guidance.

Consultation, Engagement and Procurement

Rose Grogan and Philippe Kuhn consider how the countrywide lockdown and social distancing will affect engagement, consultation and procurement exercises.

State Aid

Fenella Morris QC and Kelly Stricklin-Coutinho consider the European Commission’s temporary framework under which Member States may assist those industries or businesses which need help as a result of COVID-19, and the impacts of that Framework on local authority decision-making.

Coronavirus and Commercial Leases

Almost all commercial leases will be affected by the current coronavirus emergency. This note by Damian Falkowski, David Sawtell and Gethin Thomas will consider some of the issues that will be front and centre of both tenants’ and landlords’ minds.

Local authority commercial contracts and procurement in a Covid-19 world

The Government has provided vital guidance to local authorities on how to comply with procurement rules during the Covid-19 crisis. In this article, Marion Smith QC, Rose Grogan and Philippe Kuhn summarise the effect of the two PPNs and highlight best practice points. They also comment on force majeure clauses and frustration as they apply to local authorities.

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