Village Greens

April 6th, 2016 by James Goudie KC

Appointing an independent legal expert to conduct a non-statutory enquiry and make findings is an appropriate mechanism in determining town and village green applications. So reaffirmed Stewart J in Somerford Parish Council v Cheshire East Borough Council [2016] EWHC 619 (Admin), at paragraph 31(iv).  An allegation of lack of independence, or apparent bias, based on the suggestion that the situation looked like the registration authority paying a lawyer to give favourable advice was misplaced: paragraph 35.  The appointee was a barrister in independent practice.  However, parties must be given the opportunity to make further representations on additional material filed late: paragraph 44.  Moreover, in any case where there is a serious dispute on factual issues, a public inquiry will almost invariably need to be held, and determination of the application on the papers will not be appropriate: paragraph 74.

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