When are a Local Authority’s resources relevant to carrying out a statutory duty?

by Kerryn Woollett, Senior Solicitor

Rex (Imam) v Croydon London Borough Council [2023] UKSC 45

The Appellant was a full-time wheelchair user. Since September 2014, Croydon London Borough Council provided her with temporary accommodation under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. The accommodation consisted of a two-storey property with a through floor lift. The Appellant’s bedroom was on the top floor while the bathroom was on the bottom floor. Should the need arise during the night, it would not have been easy for the Appellant to use the bathroom. The Council, therefore, accepted that the property was not suitable accommodation, having regard to her disability and that it was in breach of s.193(2) of the Housing Act 1996 by not offering her suitable alternative accommodation.

In 2020, the Appellant brought a claim for judicial review seeking, amongst other things, a mandatory order compelling the Council to secure her suitable accommodation under Part 7.

The judge in the Administrative Court dismissed the claim, refusing to make a mandatory order.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal set aside the judge’s order dismissing her claim for a mandatory order.

The Supreme Court considered the circumstances in which the Administrative Court could refuse to make a mandatory order compelling a public authority to act in compliance with a statutory duty and the extent to which the limits of a public authority’s resources are relevant to whether a mandatory order should be made.

The Supreme Court’s decision is of great importance, not only to housing law, but to public law generally.

Lord Sales gave the only judgment and started with the general proposition that resources were irrelevant to compliance with a statutory duty, however, Lord Sales then set out matters that might militate against the granting of a mandatory order.

The ordinary position, if one is successful in establishing their claim, is that relief should be granted. However, it is well established in public law proceedings that remedies are discretionary, that is, simply establishing a claim does not automatically lead to a conclusion that an order should be made, or relief granted. In fact, no order should be made if it isn’t reasonably possible to comply with it.

The court should not refuse relief routinely and should “proceed cautiously” when it was considering whether to do so. In particular, the court was required to bear in mind that Parliament imposed the duty on the authority and that the effect of the court making a mandatory order was to transpose this role onto the court rather than the authority, with the court then effectively supervising the authority’s compliance with what it termed a “super added duty”.

Another matter, which might militate against making an order, was the risk of detriment to good administration, for example, cases in which decisions were made or actions were taken on reliance of matters being finalised, only for the court to then upset the balance previously achieved, by granting relief. If is for this reason that judicial review claims must be brought within limited time frames, so that public authorities are not frozen through the passage of time by the risk of litigation.

Another matter that might militate against the grant of any order was the hardship or prejudice that might be caused to third parties, that is, the litigious should not be able to jump the queue above those whose claims might be more meritorious.

And finally, on resources, the court found that impossibilities does not mean literal impossibility but it does require the authority to show that it has taken all reasonable steps to comply with the duty. What all reasonable steps might be must be looked at in the context of the authority’s existing plans for the allocation of its resources which should not be disrupted.

Where a breach of duty is found or admitted, it is for the authority to explain why no order should be made by providing detailed evidence. It is not for the applicant to show why an order should be made.

When defending an Imam claim there are five comments authorities are expected to address:

  1. Does it have a contingency fund and if it does, has it considered employing it to assist the relevant applicant;
  2. Has there been a history of non-compliance with the duty;
  3. Are the applicant’s circumstance particularly dire;
  4. To what extend has the authority complied with the requirement to take all reasonable steps – the better its attempts the less likely an order will be made; and
  5. Caution should be paid to promoting the litigious above those whose claims are more meritorious.

If local authority can’t perform a statutory duty the Supreme Court was quite clear that it does not have to divert resources from other service areas or borrow more in order to comply with the duty. Generally, the courts won’t look behind budget decisions that have already been taken as the courts recognise that they lack the democratic authority and institutional competence to do so. That means a local authority isn’t required to reallocate funds from other service areas or from other budget heads once its annual budget has been set. However, the Supreme Court was quite clear that local authorities should have regard to using contingency funds. If a local authority has some form of contingency within its budget either within the service or for the full council, the court may expect it to dip into that contingency to provide a property (or in the wider context, comply with a statutory duty).

Where a local authority has failed to provide a suitable property (or comply with another statutory duty) for a considerable period, the court may enquire as to why the budget has not been updated to consider/include this case.

Procurement Guidance Documents

by Kate Hiller, Legal Team Manager

On 26 March 2024, the Cabinet Office published a number of guidance documents to accompany the Procurement Act 2023 and the Public Procurement Regulations 2024 that were laid before Parliament the day before.

At first glance, they do appear quite helpful.  It is appealing that they are all relatively short in length (most of them 5-7 pages but some a little longer).  The content also appears quite focussed on what you need to know rather than padding it out with unnecessary background information, which is helpful.

What is notable is that the majority of the guidance notes published are aimed at explaining the new terminology that the Act and the new Regulations have adopted.  It becomes almost a dictionary of definitions as we move from familiar terminology to the new expressions adopted in relation to similar to concepts.

So far, the guidance includes the following:

  • Contracting Authority definition
  • Covered Procurement definition
  • Valuation of Contracts
  • Mixed Procurement
  • Exempted Contracts
  • Thresholds.

The Cabinet Office note that there are more batches of guidance to follow, with the intention of all guidance documents published by the end of June (some light summer reading for procurement enthusiasts!)

The guidance documents are worth checking out – Procurement Act 2023 guidance documents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) – and sharing with your procurement officers in preparation for when the provisions start taking effect.

Applications for Adverse Possession

by Kerrie Culverwell, Senior Property Solicitor

Following from Helen’s article concerning encroachments onto Council Owned Land. I thought it would be helpful to discuss adverse possession – which Helen notes as being a potential consequence of encroachments that are left unchallenged.

Often referred to as “squatters rights” adverse possession is the act of occupying another’s land without permission of the lawful owner. Worryingly for a landowner, if that occupation is not challenged for a period of time (usually 10-12 years) the occupier can make an application for adverse possession of the land, which, if successful will result in possessory title to the land being granted.

This principle is governed by the Limitation Act 1980 and the Land Registration Act 2002. The Land Registry sets out the following criteria for an adverse possession application: –

  • factual possession of the land
  • intention to possess the land
  • possession is without the owner’s consent

if all of the above are satisfied, for a period of 12 years, then an application for adverse possession can be made.

Taking each of the three above points in turn:-

Factual Possession was discussed in the case of In Powell v McFarlane (1977) 38 P & CR 452 which provided that factual possession signifies a degree of physical control. Possession must be exclusive, as the owner and the intruder cannot both be in possession of the land at the same time.

Fencing, that is enclosing the area to the exclusion of other people (including the owner) is strong evidence of factual possession.

Intention to Possess

Usually, factual possession will demonstrate intention. The intention does not need to be to own the land but to possess it. It is worth noting that where the land is used for access, it is unlikely to amount to adverse possession but more likely a prescriptive easement.

Without Consent

The possession of the land must be without the owner’s consent. If the land is used with the owner’s permission by way of a licence (whether formally made or not) there cannot be adverse possession.

If the above criteria are satisfied and sufficient evidence provided (set out in a statement of truth) to the Land Registry, a successful application will result in possessory title being granted.

It is also worth noting that possession by a predecessor can be included in the application. The applicant is not required to have personally been in adverse possession for the entire duration if they are the successor in possession.

If an application is successful and possessory title is granted, it is possible that after a further period of 12 years title can be upgraded to title absolute. Which is the highest class of title and means that the title cannot be claimed against.

The above points really illustrate why an encroachment of land should not be ignored, as there is a potential to lose title to the property.

A blog from our Senior Property Solicitor

by Kerrie Culverwell, Senior Property Solicitor

As I start to wrap up for the eagerly anticipated Christmas and New Year break, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the last seven weeks of my starting with North West Leicestershire District Council (NWL Legal). My previous role was also in a Local Authority, but this being a District Council I have had a slightly different range of matters and clients, together with some similar work. One aspect I enjoy about being a Local Authority Solicitor is the range of instructions we get – it is not just transactional work but a range of queries relating to on-going Property Portfolio Management and Property Maintenance and in that respect, you can still get matters which feel unfamiliar and require some research before providing advice.

I have begun to get to know and support our in-house client departments with property queries, inherited some matters which have been underway prior to me joining and I have also had some instructions from external Parish and Town Council’s.

My instructions have been on a range of matters, some landlord and tenant queries, lease renewals, responsibilities for culverts and drainage, an exciting CPO project which I understand is likely to be the start of many – together with some in-house training for CPO’s.

Despite working from home, I have received a warm welcome from the team and our regular team meetings ensure that we all remain connected and new members are embraced as part of the team. The flexible working policy that NWL has enables me to achieve the perfect balance between being a busy Mum of two young boys and a Solicitor who enjoys growth and development in my role.

I look forward to the New Year with NWL and getting to know the wider team better.

Merry Christmas!

The new world of Legal Apprenticeships

Kate Hiller

by Kate Hiller, Legal Team Manager

This year we embarked on recruiting our new trainee and found that the world of legal qualifications had changed, and we were now looking for a legal apprentice.  With support from our colleagues in HR and our chosen training provider, we navigated our way through a new way of recruiting and we were pleased to see that the interest in the post was as strong as ever, which is a great sign for local government lawyers.

Our appointed apprentice, Charlotte, has been with us now since the end of August and what has been really interesting recently is starting to understand how the apprenticeship works and how it differs from the traditional training contract route.  I remember being a trainee and keeping a log of everything I did to show I met the relevant SRA skills, discussing that with my supervisor and then that being the final record of how I met the standard to qualify.  Now, we are in a new world of portfolios and exams, with overlap of what previous trainees like me would have covered on the professional skills course.

From my own point of view, I would definitely say it is a more focussed approach.  Whilst I can see some difficulties with the idea that the two competencies that the apprentices have to cover each term may not relate to what they have done during that period, I think it is also helpful for us as trainers to really think about what apprentices need to know.  We operate so differently in local government, as compared to the private sector, so we naturally have to follow a ‘what comes up’ approach (and let’s face it, anything could come up!) but having a framework of the competencies and a timeline for when to cover them does seem quite useful.

What I have learnt from this process so far is that it seems sensible to discuss with an apprentice what competencies they have coming up each term that they need to cover in their portfolio, so you can plan training and work opportunities around developing those particular skills.  It has also made me think about our induction process and whether we can tie any of that into the early competencies that the apprentice may cover, for example, explaining more around processes for assessing conflicts and risk, even though we wouldn’t necessarily expect that to arise so early on for them.

It is certainly a new way of training and one we as a team are embracing to support Charlotte on her route to qualification.  I expect there will still be plenty more for us all to learn as the apprenticeship continues!

Entitlement to the Right to Buy

Helen Lisney, Legal Officer

by Helen Lisney, Legal Officer

The  Right to Buy is governed by Part V of the Housing Act 1985 (the Act).

Section 118 of the Act states that a secure tenant has the right to buy, subject to the certain conditions and exceptions.

What is a secure tenant?

Section 79 of the Act provides that a tenancy under which a dwelling house is let as a separate dwelling is a secure tenancy at any time when the conditions described in sections 80 and 81 as the landlord condition and the tenant condition are satisfied, subject to the certain exceptions.

Section 80 – The landlord condition is that the interests belongs to a local authority.

Section 81 – the tenant condition is that the tenant is an individual and occupies the dwelling-house as his only or principal home, or where the tenancy is a joint tenancy, each tenant is an individual and at least one of them occupies the dwelling-house as his only or principal home.

The exceptions referred to in section 79 are set out in schedule 1 to the Housing Act as follows:-

Tenancies which are not secure tenancies.

Para 1A: Introductory tenancies

Para 2: Premises occupied in connection with employment;

Para 3: If the dwelling house is on land acquired by the Council for development purposes and being used as temporary housing accommodation pending development.

Para 4: Accommodation for homeless persons

Para 4ZA: Family Intervention tenancies

Para 4A: Accommodation for asylum-seekers

Para 7: Where temporary accommodation is made available while works are carried out on the house they previously occupied.

Para 8: Where the dwelling is part of an agricultural holding

Para 9: Where the dwelling includes premises licensed to sell alcohol.

Para 10: Student accommodation

Para 11: Where the premises are let for business purposes.

Para 12: Almshouses.

Any other tenancy where the Landlord is a local authority will be a secure tenancy.

There is no mechanism to exclude properties that are owned by the Council from the right to buy, other than as set out below.

Qualifying Period for the Right to Buy  – Section 119

To qualify for the right to buy a tenant must be a secure tenant, and have been a public sector tenant for a period, or periods totalling three years.

A period qualifies if it falls within the following criteria which are included is Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 1985.

Para 2: The secure tenant, or his spouse or civil partner (if they are living together, or in the case of deceased spouse were living together at the time of death) was a public sector tenant

Para 4: The secure tenant since reaching the age of 16 occupied as his only or principle home a dwelling where his parent was the public sector tenant  and he became a public sector tenant less than two years after the end of that period.

Para 5: The secure tenant, or his spouse or civil partner occupied accommodation provided to them as a member of the armed forces.

Circumstances in which the right to buy cannot be exercised – Section 121

Even if a tenant meets the criteria set out above, they will not be able to exercise the right to buy in the following circumstances..

  1. If the tenant is subject to a court order for possession of the property;
  2. If the tenant has made a bankruptcy order that has not been determined, has a bankruptcy petition pending against him,  is an undischarged bankrupt, has a composition arrangement with his creditors the terms of which remain to be fulfilled or is a person to whom a debt relief order applies.
  3. If the tenancy is subject to a suspension period under an order made under section 121A in respect of the secure tenancy.

Exceptions to the Right to Buy – Section 120

There are certain properties that are excepted from the right buy and these are set out in Schedule 5 of the Housing Act 1985.  The following can relate to Local housing authority tenancies:-

Para 4: Where the landlord does not own the freehold of the property and does not have a sufficient interest to grant a lease.

Para 5: Where the dwelling:

– Is within the curtilage of a building which is held mainly for purposes other than housing and consists mainly of accommodation other than housing accommodation or is situated within a cemetery; and

– was let to the tenant in relation to their employment.

Para 7: Properties for occupation by physically disabled persons that are:-

– one of a group of dwellings which it is the practice of the landlord to let for occupation by physically disabled persons, and

– a social service or special facilities are provided in close proximity to the group of dwelling houses for the purpose of assisting those persons.

Para 9: Properties that are:-

– one of a group of dwellings which it is the practice of the landlord to let for occupation by persons who are suffering or have suffered from a mental disorder, and

– a social service or special facilities are provided in close proximity to the group of dwelling houses for the purpose of assisting those persons.

Para 10: Properties that are:-

– One of a group of dwellings which are particularly suitable, having regard to their location, size, design, heating systems and other fieatures, for occupation by elderly persons; and

– which is the practice of the landlord to let for occupation by persons aged 60 or more; and

– either has the services of a resident warden, or the services of a non-resident warden, a system for calling him and the use of a common room in close proximity to the group of dwelling-houses.

Para 11:  Where the dwelling house:-

– is particularly suitable, having regard to its location, size, design, heating system and other features for occupation by elderly persons; and

– was let for the occupation of a person who was aged 60 or more.

In making a decision to deny the right to buy under paragraph 11 above the decision maker will normally be expected to be satisfied on the following points:-

  1. there should be easy access on foot. Access is unlikely to be regarded as easy if it is necessary to climb three or more steps (in addition to the threshold) and there is no handrail;
  2. the accommodation should normally be on one level;
  3. in the case of a flat above ground floor there should be easy access by lift;
  4. there should be no more than two bedrooms;
  5. there should be heating arrangements which function reliably and provide heat to at least the living room and one bedroom, and
  6. the accommodation should be located reasonably conveniently for shops and public transport having regard to the nature of the area.

If the dwelling falls within one of the exceptions above, the landlord shall serve a notice under section 124 of the Act denying the right to buy and stating the reasons, why, in the opinion of the landlord the tenant does not have the right to buy.

Where the right to buy is refused on the basis of paragraph 11 above then the tenant may make an application to the First Tier Tribunal within 56 days of the service of the section 124 notice.  The question shall then be determined by the Tribunal.  If so application is made within 56 days the question shall be deemed to have been determined by the Tribunal.

If the right to buy is refused on any of the other grounds, then the tenant’s challenge would be made by an application to the county court.

Discount entitlement

Under the right to buy provisions the purchase is entitled to an initial discount of 35 % of the market value for years 3-5 of their entitlement.     After year 5 this increases by 1 % for each year of tenancy up to a possible discount of 70%

There is a cap on the amount of discount which is changed each year but is currently set at £96,000.

Getting a Contract from Start to Finish

Kate Hiller

by Kate Hiller, Legal Services Team Manager

When our clients have a contract that they need, they often come to us with an idea of what they want but it is worth remembering that they may not know what is involved in getting a contract over the line.  Drafting or reviewing a contract is only part of the process to lead to it being signed and completed.

Here are some handy tips we are sharing with clients to help them avoid delays and know what to expect:

– Authority – they will need authority to enter into a contract. Sometimes that authority may come from Members or sometimes it can already be delegated to officers under their constitution.  We would always advise clients to make sure they know who has authority to authorise entering into the contract and how they are going to get it, before getting in touch with us.  The last thing we would want is to wait until the contract is about to be signed and find they don’t have their authority!

– Drafting or review – depending on the value, clients may have a contract provided to them from a contractor or through a framework for us to review or they may need a contract drafting for them. This is something that we can discuss with clients when they first get in touch.  Once we have reviewed or drafted a contract, there may be points to follow up and think about, for example:

– Do they have the right insurances?

– Can they meet any timeframes under the contract and/or cost requirements?

– Does the contract cover what they want it to?

– Negotiation – when the client has a contract that they are happy with, we will, of course, need to share it with the contractor (either through their solicitor if they have one instructed or direct from the client). We remind clients that just because we are happy with it, it doesn’t mean the other side will be!  There may be some back and forth to get to a compromise that both sides are happy with and it is worth them factoring that into their timeframe.

– Agreed draft – once all points under question have been resolved, we should have an agreed draft. It is at that point that we will need to confirm that the client has all their required approvals in place to get the contract signed.

– Signing the contract – at NWL Legal we now sign most of our contracts electronically through e-signing software. It is a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to complete contracts but it does take time to upload all the documents, particularly if it is a large contract.  We are happy to arrange for clients’ contracts to be signed this way but it is worth factoring in that it may take time to pull it altogether, although it should be relatively quick for signatories to sign once it is sent out (subject always to their availability).

– Dating a contract – once the contract has been signed by all parties, it needs to be dated to be completed. Where the contract is signed through our e-signing software, we will arrange for it to be dated at the right time.  If a client is arranging signing themselves, then we would remind them to make sure that they only date it once all parties have signed and it must be dated with that day’s date (they shouldn’t be backdating it).  It is always worth flagging that the date of the contract is when it has legal effect and the parties become contractually bound, it does not prevent a contract having an earlier start date which should be set out in the contract itself.

Once the contract is completed, we will keep a copy on our legal files (provided that we have been sent a copy, if not signed through us).  Then it is back over to the client to remember that it is their contract to follow and manage, we are just the conduit to get them to that point!

Fixed Recoverable Costs & the Intermediate Track

Kerryn Woollett, Senior Solicitor

by Kerryn Woollett, Senior Solicitor

Changes to costs are being introduce from 1 October 2023. Part of this reform, is the creation of a new fourth litigation track, the intermediate track, which will deal with claims worth between £25,000 and £100,000.

The changes are being introduced by the Civil Procedure (Amendment No.2) Rules 2023.


Generally, the new regime will apply where proceedings are issued on or after 1 October 2023, regardless of when the cause of action occurred.


CPR 26.9 will provide that cases will be allocated to the intermedial track where:

-the claim is suitable for neither the small claims track nor the fast track;

-the claim includes a claim for monetary relief, the value of which is not more than £100,000;

-the court considers that—

-if the case is managed proportionately, the trial will not last longer than three days;

-oral expert evidence at trial is likely to be limited to two experts per party;

-the claim may be justly and proportionately managed under the procedure set out in Section IV of Part 28; and

-there are no additional factors, which would make the claim inappropriate for the intermediate track; and

-the claim is brought by one claimant against either one or two defendants or is brought by two claimants against one defendant.

There is no definition of “additional factors” though, as an example, this might apply to test cases where the monetary value is low but the ramifications for others not directly involved in the litigation is high.

Claims for non-monetary relief, will not be allocated to the intermediate track unless the court considers it to be in the interests of justice to do so.

CPR 26.13 provides that when deciding the track for a claim, matters the court will have regard to will include:

-the financial value, if any, of the claim;

-the nature of the remedy sought;

-the likely complexity of the facts, law or evidence;

-the number of parties or likely parties;

How a claim is valued

The court determines the financial value of a claim, not the parties. In doing so, the court will disregard:

-any amount not in dispute;

-any claim for interest;


-any contributory negligence; and

-where the claim is, or includes a claim for non-monetary relief, any amount prescribed by rule 45.45(1)(a)(ii) and rule 45.50(2)(b)(ii).

A tactic for a defendant could. Therefore, be to admit part of a claim, for example, if the claimant is claiming the claim is worth £120,000 so that it wouldn’t fall within the intermediate track or be subject to fixed costs, the defendant could admit to part of the claim worth £40,000 which would then bring the amount in dispute to only £80,000 which would then cause the claim to fall within the intermediate track and be subject to fixed costs.


The new regime sets out four bands of complexity for cases allocated to the intermediate track. The higher the banding, the higher the fixed recoverable costs.

Table 2 in CPR 26.16 sets out the complexity band to which a claim will normally be assigned in the intermediate track.

Complexity band 1 Complexity band 2 Complexity band 3 Complexity band 4
Any claim where—

(a) only one issue is in dispute; and

(b) the trial is not expected to last longer than one day, including—

(i) personal injury claims where liability or quantum is in dispute;

(ii) non-personal injury road traffic claims; and

(iii) defended debt claims

Any less complex claim where more than one issue is in dispute, including personal injury accident claims where liability and quantum are in dispute Any more complex claim where more than one issue is in dispute, but which is unsuitable for assignment to complexity band 2, including noise induced hearing loss and other employer’s liability disease claims Any claim which would normally be allocated to the intermediate track, but which is unsuitable for assignment to complexity bands 1 to 3, including any personal injury claim where there are serious issues of fact or law


The Ministry of Justice has refrained from giving further guidance on the bands and instead is leaving this for judges to decide.

The parties must state on the directions questionnaire the complexity band, and if the parties don’t agree as to the band, then they each have to set out which band they say is appropriate and why.


CPR 28.2 will provide that when the court allocates a case to the fast track or intermediate track, the court shall give directions for the management of the case and set a timetable for the steps to be taken between the giving of the directions and the trial.

CPR 28.14(2) sets out the provisions that apply in respect of directions in the intermediate track:

-oral expert evidence is limited to one witness per party, save where the oral evidence of a second expert for any party is reasonably required and is proportionate; and

-the trial time estimate must not exceed 3 days.

And CPR28.14(3) provides that the following provisions apply in respect of directions in the intermediate track, unless the court orders otherwise:

-rules 28.2(3) and (4) apply in respect of disclosure;

-the total length of all the permitted witness statements and witness summaries of a party shall not exceed 30 pages; and

-any expert report shall not exceed 20 pages, excluding any necessary photographs, plans and academic or technical articles attached to the report.

Fixed Costs

The amount of fixed costs will be set out in Table 14 in CPR 45.50.

The idea behind the fixed costs was to incentivise settlement.


Vulnerability – CPR 45.10 recognises the need for the court to have regard to vulnerability.

The court may consider a claim for an amount of costs (excluding disbursements) which is greater than the fixed recoverable costs where:

-a party or witness for the party is vulnerable;

-that vulnerability has required additional work to be undertaken; and

-by reason of that additional work alone, the claim is for an amount that is at least 20% greater than the amount of fixed recoverable costs.

Unreasonable Behaviour – the biggest potential financial adjustment is for unreasonable behaviour (CPR 45.13) – there will be a 50% adjustment in costs – if the unreasonable party is the paying party e.g. the defendant, they will have to pay the claimant an extra 50% of the recoverable costs amount. If the receiving party is the unreasonable party, then they will only be able to recover half their costs, so they lose 50% of their costs.

Definition unreasonableness is “conduct for which no reasonable explanation”.

London weighting – this is contained in CPR 45.3

Where fixed costs are payable and the receiving party:

-lives, works or carries on business in any area set out in Section II of Practice Direction 45; and

-instructs a legal representative with conduct of the litigation who practises in any of those areas, the fixed costs shall include, in addition to the costs allowable in the relevant Section, an amount equal to 12.5% of those fixed costs (‘London weighting’).

This does not apply to disbursements.

Part 36  – Currently, if a receiving party (e.g. the claimant) makes a good Part 36 offer that goes unaccepted, then they get a 10% uplift and indemnity costs calculated from end of the relevant period.

Under the new regime, the court will not award a 10% uplift or order detailed assessment. What it will do is add a 35% uplift that applies to fixed costs from the stage applicable when the relevant period expired and the stage applicable at the date of judgment (CPR 36.24).

Recovering costs from clients

It is possible to deduct a contribution towards costs from the damages recovered by clients. However, it’s important that clients know, from the outset, what fixed costs are recoverable. They should be informed of what funding is reasonably available even if you don’t provide that.

No client should ever be surprised by a bill they are being asked to pay.

Housing Claims

Housing claims are excluded from the new regime.

CPR 45.1(4) Section VI and Section VII of this Part do not apply to a claim or counterclaim which relates, in whole or in part, to a residential property or dwelling and which, in respect of that property, includes a claim or counterclaim for—


-disrepair; or

-unlawful eviction,

save where the claim or counterclaim in respect of the residential property or dwelling arises from a boundary dispute.

The Ministry of Justice have announced that nothing will change in respect of costs for housing claims before October 2025.

Apprentice Solicitor blog!

by Charlotte Smith, Apprentice Solicitor

I’m coming up to the end of my third week with the NWL Legal Team, and what an amazing experience it has been so far! I feel like I have been taken under the wing of the team and have learned so much from them already in such a short space of time.

I was so thrilled when I was offered the position of Apprentice Solicitor within the in-house Legal department at NWLDC. Being a member of the local community myself and living in Coalville, it is a great feeling to have a job which positively effects the local community. As I only live 5 minutes down the road from the offices, I am able to walk to work which benefits my health as well as the environment.

As there is now a new route to qualifying as a solicitor via the ‘SQE’ (Solicitors Qualifying Examination), I feel very fortunate that I am able to gain invaluable experience working within a crucial department of the Council, whilst also being able to undertake my studies. The apprenticeship strikes the right balance between work and study, as one day per week will be dedicated to studying when the course starts in September, allowing me to have the best of both worlds.

I was shocked at the Council’s modern way of working, which is reflected in the flexible working policy which allows me to have the perfect work-life balance. I believe the policy really focuses on productivity and allows the Council to get the best out of its employees. There is also a hybrid working scheme in place, meaning I have a full desk set up at home whilst also being able to work in the office whenever I like. Being able to choose between both is a real privilege.

The Council Offices have been newly renovated and have a very modern feel to them. They incorporate ‘hot desking’, meaning employees can book a desk when they want to work in the office. This was a new concept to me at first, but I think it is an amazing idea as it allows you to network with other employees from different departments and talk to new people.

So far, I have received training on Housing Disrepair claims and the procedure to follow when a ‘Letter of Claim’ comes in from a tenant. I have also been able to sit in on weekly catch-up meetings with the housing department, where I have been able to see in practice how we deal with different types of claims and how we determine liability.

I have also received training on Gas Warrants from my supervisor, Kerryn Woollett. This week, I had the opportunity to attend Leicester Magistrates Court and observe how Kerryn advocates for these types of application and the criteria which must be met in order for the Court to grant a warrant. Court advocacy is something that I have always had an interest in, so being able to learn this skill in my role as an Apprentice Solicitor very much aligns with my own personal interests and career aspirations.

My journey has only just begun with NWL Legal, and I cannot wait to see where the rest of my journey will take me!

My Intern Experience at NWL Legal

by Manisha Khadka, Legal Intern

I joined NWL Legal on 31 July as part of the NTU Graduate Internship Scheme, I am with the team for a total of 7 weeks to learn about local government and gain experience of how the internal legal team here at NWLDC provides critical legal support and advice to the Council.

As a legal intern at North West Leicestershire District Council, so far I have had the invaluable opportunity to engage in a range of meaningful activities that not only broadened my legal understanding but also allowed me to contribute directly to the Council’s legal operations.

One of my primary responsibilities included efficiently managing files and communicating effectively with internal clients by sending tailored emails requesting disclosure, utilising standardised templates. This not only improved my written communication skill but also highlighted the importance of precision and clarity in legal writing.

I successfully scheduled meetings using Outlook and Teams, streamlining communication and encouraging teamwork. I actively participated in these meetings by taking comprehensive notes and minutes, reflecting my commitment to accuracy and attention to detail. Becoming well-acquainted with various digital tools like Outlook, Teams, and the legal team’s case management system was instrumental in enhancing my technological proficiency. Navigating these platforms seamlessly allowed me to stay on top of tasks and enabled efficient teamwork within the legal department.

Working remotely has not hindered my ability to collaborate with the Legal team. Regular Teams meeting have provided an excellent platform for information exchange, project updates, and clarifications, showing the Council’s commitment to maintain a cohesive and productive team dynamic even in remote settings.

Furthermore, I delved into legal research on websites such as EM Lawshare, Westlaw, and Cornerstone Barristers, honing my research skills and becoming familiar with the essential resources that facilitate informed decision-making. My involvement in researching policies such as ‘authorisation to issue fixed penalty notices for breach of public spaces protection Orders’, showcased my ability to understand complex legal topics and translate them into practical, effective policies.

A notable addition to my experience was the task of reviewing the North West Leicestershire District Council Constitution. This task not only deepened my understanding of local government frameworks but also highlighted the importance of having a well-structured constitution. It became clear to me that a constitution serves as a crucial reference point for both legal professionals and stakeholders, ensuring consistency, transparency, and effective governance.

Currently I am working on the ‘Right to Buy’ procedure, which is providing me with first-hand insight into property law. Also, I will be learning about Procurement law soon which I am excited to expand my knowledge.

Overall, my time as a legal intern at North West Leicestershire District Council is truly enriching. I am grateful for the exposure to diverse legal tasks, the chance to interact with other professionals in the Council, and the opportunity to contribute to the legal team.