Development Plan and TVG

May 20th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

The issue in Wiltshire Council v Cooper Estates Strategic Land Ltd (2019) EWCA Civ 840 was what it takes in a development plan document to identify land for potential development. If land is so identified, the right to apply for registration of a town or village green (a “TVG”) is suspended.

The reference to the “development plan” now includes development plan documents, and neighbourhood plans: Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 Section 38 (3). A neighbourhood plan must be in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan for the area: Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Schedule 4B paragraph 8 (2) (e). But it need not slavishly adopt every detail. Once made, a neighbourhood plan becomes part of the statutory development plan. The importance of development plan documents is stressed in the National Planning Policy Framework. Read more »


Justification of Article 14 Discrimination

May 16th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Human Rights and Public Sector Equality Duty

In the revised benefit cap case, R (DA) v SoS for Work and Pensions (2019) UKSC 21, the Supreme Court said, with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (“the UNCRC”), that:-

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Rateable Occupation

May 16th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Council Tax and Rates

The true test is whether the occupation is “of value”, contrasted with an hereditament that is sterile in any and everybody’s hands.  In Telereal Trillium v Hewitt (VO) (2019) UKSC 23 the Supreme Court endorses the distinction drawn in previous Land Tribunal cases between a property which is unoccupied merely because of a surplus between supply and demand in the market, and a property which has “reached the end of its economic life”. The Valuation Office Agency’s guidance on whether a property is obsolete lists several relevant considerations, including whether the property was occupied at the antecedent valuation date, and whether there are other similar properties in the locality that are occupied. This highlights the issues of fact which may become relevant in drawing the distinction in particular cases. Read more »


Disposal of Allotment Land

May 13th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

The main issue in R (Adamson) v Kirklees MBC (2019) EWHC 1129 (Admin) was whether the Council was obliged to obtain the consent of the Minister before deciding to dispose of certain land in its area currently in use as allotments by the claimant and others. That depended on whether the Council had “appropriated” that land for use as allotments, within Section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925, as amended. If it had, it could not dispose of the land without the consent of the Minister. The Council had not applied for such consent.

The Council wanted to use the land as part of the site of a new primary school it has decided to build. Mr Adamson is in favour of the new primary school but says it should not include the allotment land, unless the Minister agrees to that. He wishes to put the case to the Minister that the primary school site should be differently arranged so as to spare the allotment land. He and his fellow allotment holders were not satisfied with alternative allotment land offered to them by the Council.

Kerr J held that:-

  1. There is no required formal procedure for appropriation: paragraph 113;
  2. Whether appropriation occurred was a fact sensitive evaluation: paragraph 114;
  3. A considered and conscious decision had been taken, recorded in committee minutes, that the land should be zoned for use as allotments: paragraph 115;
  4. The appropriation issue must be determined in favour of Mr Adamson: paragraph 126; and
  5. The claim succeeded: paragraph 153.


ECHR Article 14

May 7th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Human Rights and Public Sector Equality Duty

In R (TP) v SoS for DWP (2019) EWHC 1116 (Admin) Swift J said:-

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Contra Proferentem in Leases

May 3rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Land, Goods and Services

In Earl of Plymouth v Rees (2019) EWHC 1008 (Ch) the Court set out the interpretation principles applicable to a clause in a lease that reserved rights to the landlord, as follows:-

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Extension of Time

May 2nd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

Whether Kerr J was wrong when he exercised his discretion to extend time for a challenge to be brought by a claim for judicial review against a planning permission granted more than five and a half years before the claim was issued was the question at the heart of the appeal in R (Thornton Hall Hotel Ltd) v Wirral MBC (2019) EWCA Civ 737.  The appeal raised two main issues: first, in view of the delay of more than five and a half years, whether the Judge erred in extending time for the claim to be brought, under CPR r.3.1(2)(a); and second, having regard to the substance of the claim, whether he was wrong not to exercise his discretion to refuse relief under Section 31(6) of the Senior Courts Act 1981.  The appeal was dismissed on both issues.

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Standard of Judicial Review

May 2nd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

The scrutiny of review is dependent upon the circumstances of a particular case.  Both reasonableness and proportionality review involve considerations of weight and balance. The intensity of the scrutiny and the weight to be given to any primary decision maker’s view depend on the context.  Similarly, the requirements of procedural fairness depend on context. This includes the statutory framework within which the decision sought to be taken was impugned. The factors upon which the degree of scrutiny of review particularly depend include (1) the nature of the decision under challenge, (2) the nature of any right or interest it seeks to protect, (3) the process by which the decision under challenge was reached, and (4) the nature of the ground of challenge. See paragraph 669 of the Divisional Court decision in relation to a third runway at Heathrow, R (Friends of the Earth) v SoS for Transport (2019) EWHC 1070 (Admin), at paragraphs 147-153 inclusive.


Temporary Accommodation

April 26th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Mohammed v Barnet LBC (2019) EWHC1012 (QB) was an appeal against a decision by HHJ Luba QC at the Central London County Court, following the trial of a preliminary issue in relation to proceedings for possession of residential premises sought by the London Borough of Barnet (“the Council”). By his decision the Judge concluded that the agreement for occupation between the Appellant, Ms Mohamed, and the Council is not an agreement that attracts the security of tenure provisions of the Housing Act 1985 (“the Act”). The appeal raised the issue of whether the occupation of accommodation by Ms Mohamed has secure status for the purposes of Part IV of the Act or whether, as the Council contends, it is a simple non-protected arrangement. This turns on the construction of paragraph 6(b) of Schedule 1 to the Act.  In particular; does paragraph 6(b) require a single provision providing for vacant possession on expiry of a specified period or when required? Or, is it sufficient, in the present case, to simply provide for possession “when required”? Thornton J dismissed the appeal.

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Statutory Interpretation

April 25th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In R (VIP Communications Ltd) v SSHD (2019) EWHC 994 (Admin) Morris J allowed an application for judicial review and held that a Direction made by the SoS, under a regulatory framework put in place following the implementation of EU Directives, was ultra vires his statutory powers, and therefore unlawful.  Morris J, at paragraph 50, stated the principles of statutory interpretation, as follows:-

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