USEFUL CASE PRECEDENTS
Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation (1948 1 KB 223)
A decision is amenable to challenge if in the circumstances the Council has made a decision that is perverse, irrational or unreasonable. Failure to properly consider the follow on implications of their actions.
v Carmarthenshire County Council (1955)
A child aged four years escaped from school premises while the mistress was dressing another child and preparing to take the children out. The first child ran down a side lane into the street where a lorry driver swerved to avoid him. The lorry collided with a telegraph pole and the driver was killed. Held: that the school mistress had not been negligent, but the County Council failed in their duty to care for the children and were therefore liable in negligence.
v Dytham 1979 (467 3 WLR) Court of Appeal
Police & law enforcement Constable witnessing an assault failed to preserve the peace or protect the victim or arrest assailants was convicted of wilful neglect. So upheld at appeal: Omitting to take steps to protect the person of the man or to arrest his assailants or otherwise bring them to justice constitutes the crime of failing to carry out a duty of his office.
v Canterbury City Council ex parte Springimage (JPL 1993).
A decision is void if it is based on information put before a committee that is not correct or incomplete.
v Bowden 1995 Court of Appeal (98 1 WLR)
Regarding local authority employees - the common law offence of misconduct in public office applies generally to every person who is appointed to discharge a public duty and who receives compensation in whatever form – salary, wage, expenses and the like. See misfeasance and malfeasance.
v East Hertfordshire District Council ex parte Beckman ( EGCS 104 June
The decision of a planning committee to give a permission was set aside where the Court concluded that the Council must have taken into consideration a factor that was totally incorrect and irrelevant.
Estates v Wellwyn Hatfield Garden City Council (1998?)
Duty to developer (planning) to disclose the facts – Council “nursing a lie”. Council ordered to pay £48M damages + costs.
v Bassetlaw ex parte Oxby (Dec 1997)
The High Court declared as illegal and void a grant of planning consent tainted by actual or apparent bias. As to bias or apparent bias, that was properly the subject matter of proceedings for judicial review.
Government Access to Information Act
If a Council refuses to give you a copy or sight of any document or recording, quote the relevant section of this Act. Normally, Councils only refuse documents (obstruction) when they know said documents will harm them. Don't forget the Article 6 of the Human Rights Act works with this Act to include detail. All too often officers do not want you to see how they became authorised by a committee or who complained - simply because the committees decision may have been based on misinformation - hence void, or a complaint was solicited or put in anonymously by the officers themselves.
Don't forget to check your councils accounts to see if your letters and other enforcement, etc, show up. If they don't show up in the accounts; complain to the District Auditor - false accounting
v Teeside Development Corporation ex parte William Morris Superstore PLC
& Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council (JPL P.23 1998).
Balanced reports should be presented to committee, not just bits of advocacy to support one point of view. Imbalanced reporting will invalidate any decision so reached if challenged.
v Selby District Council ex parte Samuel Smith Old Brewery (CO/2561/99).
Failure to consider other material considerations - imbalance. Council should not present bits of advocacy, but must give the members of the Council a balanced view and supporting information. The Selby Council decision was quashed.
v North Warwickshire Borough Council ex parte Jones & Howe (Sept 2000)
When giving planning permission to build on a village football ground, the Council failed to take into account there was an alternative site in the belief that it was bound to disregard that availability. Decision quashed. Council must therefore reconsider decision.
Properties v Scottish Ministers (July 2000 Lord MacFadyen)
Only a limited right of appeal, where in the case requiring an assessment as to the historic value of a building the Court did not have the necessary jurisdiction to review the substantive issues in the case. Hence planning system fails to comply with Article 6 Human Rights Act
v New Forrest District Council (Mar 2001)
Inspectorate upheld appellants right to keep unauthorised residential
development where family would be made homeless with reference to Human
Rights Act – Article 8.
“In this case I recognise that by upholding the enforcement notice in its present form, the appellant will be made homeless.” “In this situation it seems to me there would be a violation of the appellant’s right under Article 8.
v Wansdyke District Council (Nov 2001)
of Court settlement of £790,000. Where
Bristol County Court ruled that planning officers had conducted themselves
in a consistently unhelpful and obstructive fashion – unfavourable
General Principle: If a body stand by a decision they know to be wrong and should be accountable for, then that accountability may be the subject of review.
Local Government and Housing Act
Monitoring Officer to make reports to full council on any act or omission which might by unlawful prejudice the rights of the citizen
Rights Act 1998:
– The right to a fair hearing by an impartial body in a reasonable
timeframe and to be told in detail the nature and cause of any charge made
against them - hence closed session enforcement reports authorising
enforcement action must be produced in demand.
– The right to enjoy property without interference from public
Article 14 - The right to enjoy property without discrimination on any ground