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21 SEP 2011

R (Buglife) v Medway Council [2011] EWHC 746 (Admin), [2011] JPLO (Sept)

Procedure – promptness – environmental law – application of EU Directives

30 March 2011
Administrative Court
HHJ Thornton QC

There is no requirement to bring a claim promptly within the three month period for judicial review within CPR 54.5 when bringing a challenge under a European Directive. The decision in Uniplex applies general and core principles of EU law which are applicable to all Directives.
(1) The charity Buglife (B) sought permission to apply for judicial review Medway Council’s (MC) grant of outline planning permission to National Grid Property Holdings (NGPH). B argued that the proposed development would have an unacceptable impact on invertebrate fauna and that there had been non-compliance with the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2008 and Directive 85/337 (the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive). B applied two days before the three-month time limit contained in CPR 54.5. MC and NGPH argued that B should be refused permission as the claim had not been brought ‘promptly’. B argued it should be granted permission in light of the European Court of Justice’s decision in Uniplex (UK) Ltd v NHS Business Services Authority (C-406/09) which, it argued, gave an entitlement to a three month time limit unqualified by a promptness requirement.

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