Remember to Serve Planning Statutory Reviews on Time!

20 Jul 2022

Planning and Environment

We know that filing a planning statutory review must be filed on time, and that the Court has very limited powers to extend time, see: Croke v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2019] EWCA Civ 54.

However, a planning statutory review must also be served within the time for filing the claim (see: PD54D, para.4.11).

As that is a rule of Court and not a statutory provision there had been a measure of flexibility in extending time for service of claims which had not been filed on time. That position has now changed.

In Hill v Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead & Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (CO/1023/2022), the High Court declared that it did not have jurisdiction to hear a planning statutory review brought under s.113 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, challenging the Windsor and Maidenhead Local Plan.

The solicitor acting for the Claimant had filed the claim within the 6 week limitation period but had mistakenly thought it may be served within 7 days after filing (as is the case with judicial review claims).

The Judge refused an application for an extension of time, citing a change in the law brought about by R(Good Law Project) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2022] EWCA Civ 355, which held that CPR 7.6 applied to a Part 8 claim. The Court of Appeal found the general power to extend time limits at CPR 3.1(2)(a) or the rules in Denton not apply to a step which founded the jurisdiction of the Court. Instead, the Court should ask: (a) did the claimant take all reasonable steps to comply and (b) did the claimant act promptly in seeking an extension?

Lang J found that the solicitor’s misunderstanding meant that the Claimant did not take all reasonable steps to serve the claim on time. It follows that the Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the s.113 claim.

Claimants in public law challenges should therefore check the time limits for filing and service very carefully and ensure that all reasonable steps to comply are taken. If service is not affected on time, a prompt application to extend should be made. Parties should no longer rely on a general power to extend time limits and a lack of prejudice resulting from an extension.

 

Dr Ashley Bowes acted for the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.

 

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