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Redress – Judicial Review

Judicial Review is a remedy of last resort and should not be undertaken lightly. In view of the high cost you should seek advice from a lawyer before taking such action.

In some cases a decision made by a local planning authority or the Secretary of State can be challenged in the High Court through 'Judicial Review'.

The Judicial Review is not concerned with the planning merits of a case, but with its legality. What is a "legal mistake" is quite technical to define. For example, has the planning authority misinterpreted the law or taken into account something it should not? Challenge through the High Courts is open to anyone with a sufficient interest in the matter concerned where the planning authority has made the decision or an appeal decision has been made.

A Judicial Review should not be on the grounds that you think the Inspector or the planning authority has made the “wrong” decision. What are frequently referred to as the “planning merits” of a proposal are for the Inspector or planning authority to determine and judges will not consider an appeal where the planning merits are being questioned. A Judicial Review has to be on the basis that the decision maker made a legal mistake. If you are successful in applying for Judicial Review, the decision is “quashed”. This means that the Planning Inspectorate or planning authority have to reconsider the matter correcting the legal mistake which has resulted in the decision being quashed. It is possible that the outcome of this redetermination might be that the same decision will be reached.

The time limits for starting Judicial Review proceedings i.e. filing detailed papers with the court are very tight. The time limit is 6 weeks from the date of the relevant decision. Thus, if you think you are likely to want to apply for Judicial Review you must act promptly.

If you think that you may wish to pursue a Judicial Review, it is strongly advised that you seek your own legal advice as soon as possible after the decision you wish to see quashed has been made.

For further information on judicial review and the contact details for the Planning Court, go to; http://www.justice.gov.uk/.

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