Hodgetts v Chiltern District Council: HL 1983

The House was asked as to an alleged offence of non-compliance with an enforcement notice under section 89(1) of the 1971 Act, and particularly: ‘Whether an information which alleges initial failure to comply with the provisions of an enforcement notice under section 89(5) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 ‘on and since a certain date’ is bad for duplicity.’ The appellants were said to have used buildings as an office and for storage of builders’ materials in breach of an enforcement notice. The Crown Court was persuaded that section 89(5) created a continuing offence which occurred and repeated itself during the period of default and that since the information related to more than one day they were bad for duplicity.
Held: The House distinguished the two classes of enforcement notices to which section 89 gave rise, namely those which required the owner of the land to do something on it (‘do notices’) and secondly those which required the user of land to stop doing something on it (‘desist notices’).
Lord Roskill said: ‘It is not an essential characteristic of a criminal offence that any prohibited act or omission, in order to constitute a single offence, should take place once and for all on a single day. It may take place, whether continuously or intermittently, over a period of time. The initial offence created by sub-section (1) in the case of non-compliance with a ‘do notice’, is complete once and for all when the period for compliance with the notice expires . . ‘
The information charging the offence was ‘on and since May 27, 1980’ and was validly drafted and was not bad for duplicity. Having so decided, Lord Roskill went on to say this as to the practice of charging, by reference to s.89 (5) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, on the basis of ‘on and since’ a specified date: ‘I see no objection to that practice, but it might be preferable if hereafter offences under the first limb of s.89 (5) were charged as having been committed between two specified dates, the termini usually being on the one hand the date when compliance with the enforcement notice first became due and on the other hand a date not later than when the information was hand, or of course some earlier date if meanwhile the enforcement notice had been complied with.’

Lord Roskill
[1983] 2 AC 120
Town and Country Planning Act 1971 89(1)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedTovey and Another v Regina CACD 9-Mar-2005
Each defendant appealed sentences where he had committed a series of offences and the sentence had been for specimen acts.
Held: When choosing representative offences a prosecutor should be careful to try to give the court a proper picture of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Planning

Updated: 20 December 2021; Ref: scu.224233