Q&As

What is the legal status of pre-application planning advice for which a fee is paid? Is there a duty of care leading to liability in negligence or contract in the event of an officer failing to identify a constraint which turns out to be fatal to the proposed development?

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Produced in partnership with Kevin Leigh of No 5 Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 18/01/2019

The following Planning Q&A produced in partnership with Kevin Leigh of No 5 Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is the legal status of pre-application planning advice for which a fee is paid? Is there a duty of care leading to liability in negligence or contract in the event of an officer failing to identify a constraint which turns out to be fatal to the proposed development?

What is the legal status of pre-application planning advice for which a fee is paid? Is there a duty of care leading to liability in negligence or contract in the event of an officer failing to identify a constraint which turns out to be fatal to the proposed development?

The short answer is that a local planning authority (LPA) is not liable in negligence for any shortcomings in pre-application advice it provides, even if paid for.

The courts have been reluctant to impose tortious duties of care upon LPAs for conduct connected with planning applications. The floodgates argument is the justification and the burden that would be placed on the administrative procedures of local government if such duties were imposed. Even if a claim in contract could be framed, the problem is that identifying any loss will be difficult as the

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