Log in | Register

JR Reforms: Rapid reviews

July saw the time limit for starting planning-related judicial reviews (JRs) reduced from three months to six weeks, in an effort to add certainty to the industry and kick-start development.

In the same month, a Planning Fast-Track was put in place in the Administrative Court to identify planning JRs at an early stage, prioritise them so target deadlines can be met (including sending paper applications to a judge within 14 days of receipt and hearing substantive JRs within three months of the decision of a provisional hearing) and ensure they are allocated to “appropriate members of the judiciary”.
September’s consultation paper on further JR reforms suggests that more can be done, noting that in 2011 the average time that elapsed between lodging an application and a full hearing was 370 days.
The paper suggests the creation of a “specialist planning chamber” – in fact, to be part of the Lands Chamber, with specialist judges deployed. At the moment, judges sit on a range of cases, from asylum to planning and criminal trials. It is hoped that having specialist judges will speed up the process and allow planning cases to be better prioritised.
Whether or not you think that is a good idea presumably depends on what side of the fence you are sitting on. But there can be no doubt that the historic delays in dealing with JRs causes frustration and added cost to many. 
Caroline Bywater is a senior solicitor for Mills & Reeve. Read the ocompany blog here


Email Newsletter Sign Up