Words That Strike Fear…

…into the hearts of men (and women, but ‘people’ just doesn’t finish the title properly).

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 is a veritable feast of changes for the General Permitted Development Order 1995, itself now so heavily amended that it puts Michael Jackson’s transformation over the years into the shade.

Aside from the eye-watering number of brackets used in the title (a recurring theme of Parliamentary draftsmen in recent years, it seems) the 2013 Order introduces swathes of changes, such that I can’t hope to do them justice in one post.

First up – the new Class J appearing in Part 3 of the Second Schedule to General Permitted Development Order (I know, exciting as it is, please do try to control yourselves).  In English, office to residential conversions. Read more of this post

Know your memes – Waya and the Supreme Court (Part One)

On 14th November 2012 the Supreme Court gave judgment in the case of R. v. Waya [2012] UKSC 51.  A nine-Justice court delivered a majority decision, split 7-2.  We’ll go through both the majority and dissenting minority decisions, but what the dissenting minority (Lord Phillips and Lord Reed) seem to think of the majority decision can be neatly summarised thus:

Read more of this post

Knowing Your Elbow From Your…

For me the past few weeks have been taken up by a sudden rash of prosecutions for breach of various planning controls, in particular a number of Tree Preservation Orders matters, in which I have been mostly instructed for the defence.

And in just about every case the same thing has happened.

The manner in which the prosecution have gathered and presented their evidence has completely ignored basic rules of evidence, procedure and well-known case law of some long standing.  Which results in an easy (and predictable) win for the defence, with prosecutions being stayed, defendants discharged and (sometimes) awards of wasted costs against the prosecuting authority.

The most astonishing thing about it all was how fundamental some of the mistakes have been – for example:

1. Including witness statements in bundles that were to be put before a tribunal of fact – a classic giveaway that whoever advised on the contents of the bundle does not know their criminal evidence & procedure;

2. Seeking to rely on evidence of motive, knowledge or intention in a strict liability case (where a defendant’s state of mind is irrelevant) – this evidence is inadmissible from the outset;

3. Charging defendants with contravening provisions which were not in force at the time the alleged offences were committed – check your commencement dates before issuing the Informations and Summons.

The obvious point being that, had the prosecution instructed a lawyer who regularly practised in criminal law none of those results would have gone the defendants’ way.  In the meantime, I’ll keep on taking the low-hanging fruit while I’m instructed for the defence…

Scott

The Lost Boys and Normal Service

Well it’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to post here on planningblog.org.  In the past few months I’ve been kept unbelievably busy (and away from this blog) by a combination of professional and personal commitments.

One of those personal commitments has been a training regime for a charity bike ride (for the British Heart Foundation) on which I set off tomorrow.

I (and a number of other like-minded fools) will be cycling from London to Paris, off-road, in just three days.  That’s right – an off-road bike ride from London to Paris.  Setting off on Saturday and (in theory) arriving at the Palace of Versailles sometime on Monday afternoon.  So you can see why getting ready for that has occupied me somewhat…

If you want, you can find more details on the ride here.

Or, if you really wanted, you could sponsor me here.  That would be great, but don’t feel obliged.  With a special mention to my very good friends at SEOG who have very kindly and generously donated already!

And once I’m back – and able to walk properly again – normal service will be resumed on planningblog.org.

 

Scott

Assuring Letters

Have a look at s125 of the Localism Act 2011.  When you’ve read it, I’ll bet you have an expression a bit like this:

Read more of this post

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: