Collateral challenge and enforcement notices

Barry Hough

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Notorious were the fruitless labours of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in steadfastly advocating a distinction between fancy and the imagination - an endeavour in semantics which was always unconvincing Echoes of this kind of sophistry resonate in the very recent decision of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in R v. Wicks which seeks to resurrect, a supposed dichotomy between the nullity and invalidity of an enforcement notice. Unlike Coleridge's metaphysics, such esoteric and outmoded analysis has significant practical consequences in the planning context which may prove injurious to the interests of developers who find themselves the victims of enforcement proceedings, and who wish to challenge them collaterally. This is so because R v. Wicks limits the circumstances in which the invalidity of an enforcement notice can be raised as a defence in a criminal trial. Developers seeking to challenge the vires of the notice will often be forced to undertake expensive High Court litigation if a conviction is to be avoided. Strict limitations on the availability of this procedure may mean that such recourse is not always possible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Planning and Environment Law
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997


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