PLANNING APPEALS - NO RIGHTS
Just imagine your neighbour builds a monstrosity next door to your house. He or she has got planning permission despite your objection. What are you going to do about it? You cannot appeal the decision of the council to anyone. You can in Ireland!
MISERY GO ROUND
The planning system as it stands fails to comply with Article 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA).
Where Article 6 guarantees every person a right to a fair hearing by an independent tribunal established in law, a person applying for planning permission has only a statutory right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Nobody other than the applicant has the right of appeal. The Planning Inspectorate is not independent for the purposes of the Act because the Secretary of State may call in an application. For this reason the independence goes out the window.
Ah, say the Government, but the system complies because you have a right to appeal to the High Court. Bunkum! You may only appeal at present on a point of law. Consequently, as most cases hinge of the circumstances of the applicant or other material considerations, there is in effect no statutory right of appeal.
Another issue is where your personal circumstances may not afford you the opportunity to go to law, the public funding system (Legal Aid via the Legal Services Commission) is geared up to deny you a right to (for example) a Judicial Review. The Right to Justice Act just made things worse. If you were to apply for a Review, the time it takes to obtain a decision from the LSC will put you out of time - you can be sure the LSC will run you out of time - it's Government policy to reduce the cost of funding the system. Lastly, you may not be able to find a solicitor willing to make an application to the LSC for you. As all applications for public funding must at present go through a solicitor, the man in the street is stuffed. Or as one person was told by the LSC after 3 planning applications taking 5 years - and 12 months considering his application for funding - apply again.
The funding system also fails to come up to scratch. According to Article 6 your right to a fair hearing (the one you don't have) is supposed to be secured in a reasonable timeframe. Is anything more the 12 months reasonable? The obvious solution for this Government is to go to war with Iraq. This will divert attention away from the injustices at home.
The good news is that where the system fails to meet the clear requirements of the HRA, you may not care to put yourself through the "misery go round." Why should you. The Government got it wrong, it's up to them to sort it out. Isn't it? If the system fails to deliver, any decision reached by the system is void - ultra vires.
WHY NOT CONTACT YOUR MP - ASK HIM TO LOBBY THE GOVERNMENT FOR COMPLIANCE - IF IRELAND HAVE A SYSTEM THAT COMPLIES WITH THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, WHY CAN'T WE?