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Protecting Your Rights

Environmental & Planning Law Solicitors

Challenging a decision, at any level, by an environmental or planning agency may seem daunting, whether you're a private individual, resident's organisation, campaign group or a business.

With experienced environmental and planning law experts, we're perfectly placed to help you get the outcome you need. Our highly regarded and legal team mainly handle judicial review cases, but also offer a range of services and are always on hand to give advice.

We understand environmental and planning law from each point of view, and will always strive to help you get favourable outcomes from challenges to decisions at all levels from local planning authorities, through to the central government and Environment Agency.

We can provide you with advice and representation in many areas, including:

  • General planning issues (including judicial reviews)
  • Renewable energy planning issues
  • Town or village greens and green space issues
  • Built heritage - including listed building status
  • Environmental Impact Assessments Waste management
  • Water resources, including pollution and flooding
  • Funding

To find out more about our Environmental and Planning law services, either call us on 0800 028 1943, or just contact us online and we'll be happy to call you back.

Public law experts
Accessible, flexible and professional service
Experienced in high profile cases
Offices around the country

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  • Anne-Marie Irwin
  • Associate Solicitor
Meet Our Team
Environmental & Planning Law - More Information
    • What Will Happen When I Open A Case?
    • Once you've got in touch with one of our environmental and planning law experts, they will assess the strength of your claim from every angle We've helped our clients with all manner of cases and will always discuss the best possible legal remedy and procedure for your case.

      We will also discuss costs and funding options for your case. Although many of our clients choose to fund their cases privately, we hold a contract for legal aid for this area of law for those clients who are unable to fund their cases themselves.

    • How Long Will It Take?
    • For environment and planning cases the court will respond to the urgency of the claim and can make orders immediately if needs be. However, if there is no such urgency, then claims usually take around 6-9 months to be decided.

      To find out more about how long your claim might take and speak to one of our legal experts, please call us on 0800 028 1943.

    • What's The Judicial Review Process?
    • For the vast majority of environmental and planning cases we see, the most effective available legal solution is usually either a judicial or statutory review. Put simply, a judicial review is a type of court proceeding where a judge looks at the legality of a decision or action made by a public body. The process is as follows:

      • Pre-action - The first step in the Judicial Review (JR) process, this involves our sending a pre-action protocol (PAP) letter to the proposed defendant setting out our proposed claim and what we're seeking. A response is normally expected within 14 days.
      • Permission - if the response to the PAP isn't satisfactory then we will lodge a claim for JR with the administrative court. You are then expected to apply for permission for a JR, in effect you must prove that you have an arguable case by filling in a short form and providing evidence. We usually do this for you.
      • Substantive stage - Once permission has been granted, your claim will proceed. During the substantive stage of the process the defendant and any interested parties will try to undermine any evidence you have given for your claim. Prior to the final hearing, both parties have to submit skeleton arguments - summaries of the respective legal cases for the judge to read.
      • Judgement - During the final hearing the judge will pass judgement on the case. In some instances he may choose to either give judgement orally there and then or hand it down in writing later. Handed down judgements are usually preferred as they are usually better thought through. After the final judgement there is usually a discussion about who pays for the costs and whether permission to appeal should be given.

      To discover more about the review process, or if you think you have a claim, either call us on 0800 028 1943 or fill in our contact form and we will call you back.

    • Meet The Experts
    • Our Environment and Planning solicitors are recognised in their fields by top legal directories and have been involved with cases at the highest level.

      Whenever you contact our team you can expect friendly and enthusiastic advice and support. We understand that challenging a decision by an environment or planning agency can be both confusing and challenging, so we're dedicated to making the whole process as simple and stress-fee as possible.

      Meet our team of expert environment and planning solicitors

Without Irwin Mitchell challenging the Local Authority we would still be awaiting an answer."

Client's Father
Client quote

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

As well as our in-depth knowledge of and expertise in public law, we specialise in dealing with community interests and campaign groups.

We have a particular expertise in the protection of open space and recreational land through the use of village green law. Our lawyers have been instrumental in a number of high profile planning cases in recent years.

We also hold a contract to provide legal aid for this area of law. This means that, in certain situations, you may qualify for government funding for your case, saving you having to pay any legal fees.

Call us free on 0800 028 1943 to discover how we can help you.

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What Costs Are Involved, And Is Funding Available?

For a planning or environmental judicial review, our clients typically choose to fund their cases in one of three ways: 1) funds raised by residents or campaign groups, 2) private payment and 3) legal aid.

At Irwin Mitchell we can advise you on the best way to fund your case and ways to limit your exposure to the defendants costs if the case is lost. These ways include:

  • Public funding - At Irwin Mitchell we hold a contract for legal aid for this area of law. Legal aid is available for environment and planning cases where a) the client meets the financial requirements, b) there is a good chance of winning the case and c) where there is significant public interest. If legal aid is available it not only provides funding for the case, but protection from the defendants costs as well.
  • Insurance against losing - Some of our clients benefit from 'Before the Event' insurance which means that if they need to make a claim or defend one their legal expenses, and those of the opposition if they lose, are covered. However these types of insurance are increasingly rare and hard to obtain. Our experts will be able to advise you on the best course of action should you wish to pursue this approach.
  • CCOs - Cost Capping Orders. These apply to public interest cases and can be applied for when you first issue legal proceedings. They may provide some protection against defendant's costs

However you choose to fund your case, and whatever the costs, we will always advise you on the best course of action to suit your circumstances. To discuss you case and possible funding options please either call us free on 0800 028 1943 or fill in our contact form and we will call you back.

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What Kind Of Environmental And Planning Issues Have You Dealt With?

Our Environment and Planning specialist solicitors have helped our clients successfully deal with a vast range of legal issues, including:

  • General planning - The UK's green space is getting steadily more developed and the decisions behind this are often made by planning committees or by the planning inspectorate, often with little consideration for local residents.
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) - One of the planning tools introduced under European Law, EIAs are central to determining whether, and in what way, building developments will affect the environment.
  • Town or Village Greens - Long-term users of green space can apply to have such areas of land registered under the Commons Act 2006. However, due to more recent changes in the law, these applications are becoming increasingly difficult. We have particular experience of working with those affected by green space issues, including cases which have been instrumental in clarifying the law.
  • Built heritage - For a long time Town and Country planning has held protection of buildings with special architecture or historic interest as a central objective. This is another area of law we specialise in and have advised on cases of national interest.

This list is by no means exhaustive and we have expertise in many areas of environmental and planning law. To discuss your case further please either call us free on 0800 028 1943 or fill in our contact form and we will call you back.

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Awards & Accreditations

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK.

Private Client Team of the Year - Legal Business Awards 2018 Leading Firm - Legal 500 2017 The Times Best Law Firms 2019 chambers-2019

What Our Clients Say

We truly value and appreciate the feedback we receive from our clients, as we look to improve the services we offer on an ongoing basis.

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Our Offices

Our offices are located in major cities throughout the UK and have excellent transport links.

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