UK: Judicial Review: Who Pays The Price?

Summary and implications

It is usually the applicant developer who is most interested in defending a judicial review challenge, so that the permission does not get quashed. However, the defendant in a judicial review challenge against the grant of planning permission is the decision-maker, being the relevant local planning authority (LPA). In light of the recent cuts to local authority budgets, we expect that more LPAs will leave the detailed work involved in defending a challenge to the developer, who may join proceedings as an interested party. However, in a recent case, the court specified the minimum required of a defendant LPA in these circumstances. Interested parties will need to work with the LPA to ensure that the court's requirements are met.

The facts

Midcounties Co-Operative Ltd (Midcounties) challenged the grant of planning permission for a 4,645 square metre food store by the Forest of Dean District Council (the Council). This was the third claim for judicial review made by Midcounties at the site. Clearly Midcounties thought they were on a roll having successfully challenged the other two permissions which were then quashed by the court.

The Secretary of State called in the first application made by Trilogy Development (Trilogy) in 1999 and refused permission on the basis that Cinderford was a weak town centre with "an extraordinarily high level of leakage" and it was considered that the proposed Tesco development would have a direct adverse impact on the town centre of between 25 and 37 per cent.

The second application was approved by the Council in March 2012 but quashed by the court in July 2012. In January 2014 the Council reconsidered the application and granted permission but again the decision was challenged and quashed in September 2014. Finally in July 2014, the Council granted the planning permission which was the subject of this challenge.

Permission quashed

Midcounties brought the challenge on five, but the court quashed the planning permission on the basis of the first two. These were as follows:

  • The Council failed to consider or assess the true extent of harm to the town centre and the importance of consistency in planning law.
  • The Council took an inconsistent and irrational approach to the section 106 obligations and breached CIL Regulation 122 (which sets out the legal requirements for section 106s).

The court agreed with the claimant on the following basis:

  • There was a fundamental defect in the officers' report. The full impact of the development on the town centre had not been clearly set out in the report. It did not make it clear that the development would remove half of the Co-op's turnover and put it at risk of closure. This was emphasised by the judge in the previous judicial review case. The committee's balancing judgement was therefore flawed.
  • Even if the Co-op did not close, there would be a knock-on effect from the reduced number of linked trips to the town centre as a result of the out-of-town development.
  • The court agreed that the Council's approach was inconsistent and irrational. The planning officer had stated in one section of his report to the committee that the section 106 obligations were necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms, but did not explain why. In another section of the same report he said that even if the section 106 obligations were ignored, the development was acceptable despite the conflicts with planning policy.

The role and responsibilities of a defendant LPA

One of the main points of interest in this case are the postscript comments regarding the court's expectations where the defendant LPA chooses not to take an active part in proceedings. In this case, the defendant LPA had informed the court by letter that it did not concede the claim but, since it could not afford to take an active part in the proceedings, it supported Trilogy in its resistance to the challenge. The court commented that if a defendant public authority should find itself in such a position, it should consider whether it has complied with the public authority's duty of candour and co-operation in judicial review proceedings to assist the court in understanding its decision-making process and dealing with the issues fairly. In particular, it should consider whether:

  • it has disclosed all relevant documents;
  • it should file a witness statement to assist the court;
  • it should file an acknowledgement of service with summary grounds of resistance, if only in outline form; and
  • a representative of the authority (not necessarily a lawyer) should be present in court at any hearing so that it is in a position to know what is going on.

We expect that these comments from the court will be useful for defendant LPAs as they provide a checklist for consideration. We hope that despite the acceptance of a reduced role for defendant LPAs in judicial review proceedings in certain circumstances, LPAs will strive to ensure that their decisions and decision-making processes are lawful. After all, if a challenge is thrown out at the permission stage of proceedings, there will be a costs saving for all involved.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.