The Planning Court

The Planning Court deals with all judicial reviews and statutory challenges involving planning matters in accordance with Civil Procedure Rule 54.21 and Practice Direction 54E including appeals and applications relating to enforcement decisions, planning permission, compulsory purchase orders and highways and other rights of way. It forms part of the Administrative Court and cases can start at the following locations:

Cases may be heard at other locations.

Any claim lodged in the Administrative Court before 6 April 2014 and yet to be determined will be transferred to the Planning Court after that date. The amended Civil Procedure Rules will then apply to the claim from the date of transfer.

Planning Court cases will be subject to tighter time limits than Administrative Court cases:

  • applications for permission to apply for judicial review are to be determined within three weeks of the expiry of the time limit for filing of the acknowledgment of service;
  • oral renewals of applications for permission to apply for judicial review are to be heard within one month of receipt of request for renewal;
  • applications for permission under section 289 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 are to be determined within one month of issue;
  • substantive statutory applications, including applications under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, are to be heard within six months of issue; and
  • judicial reviews are to be heard within ten weeks of the expiry of the period for the submission of detailed grounds by the defendant or any other party as provided in Rule 54.14.

Process

When a planning judicial review or statutory challenge is lodged in the Planning Court it will be assessed by a Court lawyer under the supervision of the Planning Liaison Judge. Cases identified as ‘significant’ will be administered in accordance with the new Practice Direction 54E and are to be heard within set time-scales. The types of case which are likely to be deemed ‘significant’ are:

  • any development with economic impacts at a local, regional or national level;
  • any matter which generates significant public interest; or which involves significant technical material

Any statutory challenge will use the existing Administrative Court forms. There will be new Planning Court forms and guidance for making an application for a judicial review, an adjournment request and an application notice. There will be a 6 week transitional period where we will still accept Planning court cases on Administrative Court forms, but we will require applicants to file the correct Planning Court forms from 19 May 2014.

Planning court cases will be listed separately within in the Administrative Court cause list, and will be heard by judges with planning expertise.

Listing changes will mean that parties will not be consulted over the listing of renewal applications; specific requests for a change to the given date will be considered but will have to respect the general timetable target.

Parties will be consulted before listing substantive hearings.

Listing will respect the general timetable target; this may well mean that dates are imposed. Counsel's availability will not be a reason for hearing a case significantly outside the target timetable.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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