A blog about planning, planning law and planning policy


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Judicial review – time limits reduced in planning cases

The Secretary of State for Justice

The Secretary of State for Justice

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling yesterday announced that the time limit for commencing a planning judicial review will be reduced from three months to six weeks. The plan is to make the change this summer.  There will be other changes. In procurement cases, it will drop to 30 days. And some of the rights to renew applications where permission to commence them is refused will be curtailed. In “hopeless” cases (or in more measured language, cases which are totally without merit) there will be an absolute bar on renewals.

I blogged about this here last November when the Government consulted on this.  The Lord Chancellor concedes that the majority of consultees opposed his proposals, but is going ahead nonetheless.

For the recipients of planning permission, this is good news. But at some stage experienced players in the property industry will contemplate bringing JR proceedings themselves.  In practical terms, it will be necessary to move extremely quickly in order to meet the new six week limit.  And it will be necessary to be vigilant.  The pre-action protocol in such cases is likely to fall by the wayside as there will not be enough time for responses and compliance. I rather doubt that is a big problem, because planning permissions, even when issued unlawfully, are expensive things to revoke.  There is however a risk of more JRs, issued on a precautionary basis to avoid missing the deadline.

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