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Fast-track planning court ready to open doors

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A new planning court set up to slash the time it takes to solve construction disputes will open for business on Sunday

The fast-track court is the brainchild of Justice secretary Chris Grayling who in the summer pledged to tackle the often laborious progress of certain judicial review applications.

According to the Law Society Gazette, judicial review applications more than doubled from 4,300 in 2000 to 12,600 in 2012, and of the 440 that went to a final hearing in 2011 only 170 went in favour of the applicant.

The new court will be based in the Royal Courts of Justice in central London - although it will also be able to set up at regional venues when necessary - and it has a remit to tackle 400 planning cases a year.

The new court is one of a number of measures tabled by Grayling designed to speed up the review process, among them are:

  • a cut in the time limit for applying for a judicial review of a planning decision to six weeks.
  • an option, in certain cases, to skip the Court of Appeal and go straight to the Supreme Court
  • the introduction of new rules governing the payment of legal bills to ensure all parties have an equal interest keeping costs down.
  • calling a halt to reviews based on technical flaws if the end result is likely to have remained the same.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: ‘The new proposals should make all the difference, and will hopefully remove some of the hurdles to growth that currently have to be overcome.

‘Disputed schemes often cause unnecessary delays and trouble, and this new court will ensure that important development and infrastructure projects are delivered as quickly as possible.’

 

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