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Launch of Planning Court sees big fall in time taken to get substantive hearing

The establishment of the Planning Court has led to a dramatic reduction in the time from lodging to substantive hearing, it has emerged.

The Lord Chief Justice’s annual report revealed that at the end of October 2015 this time had been reduced to 27.3 weeks, down from 46.9 weeks in February 2014.

The report added that the number of live planning cases (both “significant” and non-“significant”) at the end of October 2015 stood at 222. This represented a significant reduction in the number of live cases, which, at the end of 2013, stood at 314.

“Additionally, the Criminal Courts and Justice Act 2015 introduced a permission stage in applications for statutory review and the Civil Procedure Rules have been amended to set out the procedure for statutory challenges, largely reflecting the procedure for judicial review,” the LCJ noted.

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“The main purpose of this reform was to remove unmeritorious statutory challenges to planning decisions as early as possible, and thus to avoid the delays and the pressure on the resources of the Planning Court entailed in such proceedings.”

See also: LCJ concern over litigants in person, outdated IT and unsatisfactory funding

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