The following Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Bias and pre-determination can be an issue in planning cases where a local planning authority (LPA) is determining a planning application. Bias arises where a planning officer and/or councillor (the decision-maker) forms or shows bias against or in favour of a person, company or group, or a particular site or locality. Pre-determination is where the decision-maker approaches a decision with a ‘closed mind’. LPAs, like all public bodies, are under a duty to act fairly. Clearly, where a decision-maker is biased or has pre-determined a decision, they will not be acting fairly. The decision will have been taken in bad faith and should be quashed. See Practice Note: Determining planning applications—procedure.
Bias can take two forms:
‘actual’ bias: this is where the decision-maker has a personal interest in the outcome of a case. The decision must be quashed unless the interest was so small that it could have played no part in swaying the decision-maker's mind
‘apparent’ bias: this is where a decision-maker does not have a personal interest in a case but their conduct and behavior give rise to a suspicion that the decision-maker is not impartial
The modern law on bias comes from the judgment of Lord Hope in Porter v Magill, where he indicated
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