Might fear of the courts being overwhelmed by an anticipated flood of cases, after eventual emergence from lockdown, begin a trend amongst the judiciary to be more proactive in its encouragement of mediation? C olin Manning investigates
How are smaller jurisdictions coping with the challenges thrown up by the coronavirus? T im Prudhoe describes how a chance jailhouse referral in the Turks and Caicos Islands led to a ‘remote’ pro bono defence of Sri Lankan detainees caught in the chaos
Employment – Redundancy. The Central Arbitration Committee (the CAC) had correctly decided that in exceptional circumstances affecting employees' interests, where para 8 of Sch 1 to the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 1999, SI 1999/3323, as amended, applied, the employer did not have to wait for a European Works Council (the EWC) to give an opinion on the employer's proposed actions, provided that the employer had given the EWC the necessary information on its proposals and had engaged in consultation. The Employment Appeal Tribunal in dismissing the EWC's appeal against the CAC's decision, held that there was no prohibition in either those Regulations nor the Transnational Information and Consultation Directive (EC) 2009/39 on the employer taking or implementing its decision after it had consulted but before the EWC had produced an opinion. Nor could the Regulations be construed to have that effect.
Construction – Dwellings. The claimant's claim against the fourth defendant building control inspector, that it had breached its duty owed under s 1(1) of the Defective Premises Act 1972 in respect of the faulty construction of premises, had been rightly struck out on the basis that s 1(1) did not apply to building control inspectors. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, so held, finding that the focus of s 1(1) was on the doing of positive work which had related to the provision of a dwelling, whereas in certifying, or refusing to certify, plans and works, the building inspector was not engaged in the positive role of the provision or creation of the relevant building.
Air traffic – Airport. The defendant Civil Aviation Authority had not misinterpreted or failed to comply with s 70 of the Transport Act 2000, nor had it reached irrational conclusions. Accordingly, the Administrative Court dismissed the claimant gliding club's application for judicial review of its decision to permit the introduction of air traffic controls in airspace around an airport, which was largely uncontrolled.
Practice – Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The Employment Tribunal (ET) in refusing to make a cost order against the appellant, who had been partially successful, had not erred in law. The Administrative Court in refusing the appellant's appeal reiterated that the power to award costs in the ET was a disciplinary power, not a compensatory one, and further by withdrawing an allegation it could not be said that he respondent had acted unreasonably in his conduct of the proceedings.
Income tax – Investigation. The Administrative Court held that the statutory scheme was such that the defendant Revenue and Customs Commissioners' functions included, not only opening an enquiry into a return under s 9A of the Taxes Management Act 1970 during the enquiry window, but also checking returns without opening a s 9A enquiry, including after the enquiry window had closed, with a view to ascertaining if there was ground to issue a discovery assessment, and that such checking could include, not just re-reading the file, but carrying out investigations and enquiries to see if any further information could be obtained that could shed light on the question.