Wrexham County Borough Council v Berry; South Buckinghamshire District Council v Porter and another; Chichester District Council v Searle and others: HL 22 May 2003

The appellants challenged the refusal to grant them injunctions to prevent Roma parking caravans on land they had purchased.
Held: Parliament had given to local authorities exclusive jurisdiction on matters of planning policy, but when an authority sought assistance in enforcement by requesting an injunction, the role of the court was not merely supervisory, but original, and it had a duty to assess each case on its merits. The remedy of an injunction, carrying the threat of imprisonment is personal to the proposed injunctee. The court was not bound to follow the views of the local authority in enforcing planning control, and the proposed injunction must be both just and proportionate. The balance between Roma and other parts of society will always be difficult to find.
Lord Bingham of Cornhill said: ‘When granting an injunction the court does not contemplate that it will be disobeyed . . Apprehension that a party may disobey an order should not deter the court from making an order otherwise appropriate: there is not one law for the law-abiding and another for the lawless and truculent.’
Lord Brown gave a broad summary of the authorities: ‘The reasons for a decision must be intelligible and they must be adequate. They must enable the reader to understand why the matter was decided as it was and what conclusions were reached on the ‘principal important controversial issues’, disclosing how any issue of law or fact was resolved. Reasons can be briefly stated, the degree of particularity required depending entirely on the nature of the issues falling for decision. The reasoning must not give rise to a substantial doubt as to whether the decision-maker erred in law, for example by misunderstanding some relevant policy or some other important matter or by failing to reach a rational decision on relevant grounds. But such adverse inference will not readily be drawn. The reasons need refer only to the main issues in the dispute, not to every material consideration. They should enable disappointed developers to assess their prospects of obtaining some alternative development permission, or, as the case may be, their unsuccessful opponents to understand how the policy or approach underlying the grant of permission may impact upon future such applications. Decision letters must be read in a straightforward manner, recognising that they are addressed to parties well aware of the issues involved and the arguments advanced. A reasons challenge will only succeed if the party aggrieved can satisfy the court that he has genuinely been substantially prejudiced by the failure to provide an adequately reasoned decision.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Steyn, Lord Clyde, Lord Hutton, Lord Scott of Foscote
[2003] UKHL 26, Times 23-May-2003, Gazette 05-Jun-2003, Gazette 10-Jul-2003, [2003] 2 WLR 1547, [2003] 2 AC 558
House of Lords, Bailii
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 187B
England and Wales
CitedChapman v United Kingdom; similar ECHR 18-Jan-2001
The question arose as to the refusal of planning permission and the service of an enforcement notice against Mrs Chapman who wished to place her caravan on a plot of land in the Green Belt. The refusal of planning permission and the enforcement . .
CitedAttorney-General v Bastow 1957
The case involved an attempt by a local authority to enforce planning control by a relator action requiring the removal of caravans on land in breach of planning control. The use of the service of stop notices, are supported by the power of the . .
CitedManchester Corporation v Connolly CA 1970
The local authority sought to use an injunction to assist in enforcing planning controls. The court had no power to make an interlocutory order for possession. Lord Diplock: ‘The writ of possession was originally a common law writ (although it is . .
CitedMole Valley District Council v Smith 1992
The local authority sought to use its powers under the Act to enforce planning control over gypsies. . .
CitedWaverley Borough Council v Hilden 1988
The local authority sought to use its powers under the Act to enforce planning control over gypsies. . .
CitedRegina v Lincolnshire County Council Ex Parte Atkinson; Regina v Wealden District Council Ex Parte Wales and Others QBD 3-Oct-1995
A local Authority must make proper welfare enquiries before seeking to remove unlawful campers. The new draconic legislation must be seen in its context. The commons of England provided lawful stopping places for people whose way of life was or had . .
CitedWestminster City Council v Great Portland Estates plc HL 31-Oct-1984
The House was asked whether the 1971 Act permitted the relevant authorities, by resort to their development plans, to support the retention of traditional industries or was the ambit of the Act such as to permit only ‘land use’ aims to be pursued? . .
CitedBasildon District Council v The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions Admn 2-Feb-2001
The court considered the relevance of personal circumstances to the grant of injunctions in enforcement of planning conditions.
Held: In any considerations of common humanity, the needs of these particular gypsy families were a material . .
CitedIn re Liddell’s Settlement Trusts CA 1936
The Court upheld an injunction issued against Mrs Liddell who was not a party to the proceedings and who had taken her children to the United States. When granting an injunction, the court should operate on the basis that it will be obeyed, and not . .
CitedCastanho v Brown and Root (UK) Ltd HL 1981
A claim was made for an anti-suit injunction.
Held: The court is reluctant to make orders which would be ineffective to achieve what they set out to do, but the fear that the defendant will not obey an injunction is not a bar to its grant. The . .
CitedBuckley v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-1996
The Commission had concluded, by a narrow majority, that the measures taken by the respondent in refusing planning permission and enforcing planning orders were excessive and disproportionate, even allowing a margin of appreciation enjoyed by the . .
CitedWilliam Browning, Maureen Browning v Messrs Brachers (A Firm) QBD 15-May-2003
The claimants sought damages for professional negligence, in having failed to pursue a claim for professional negligence against a previous firm of solicitors who had acted for the claimant. . .
CitedAttorney General v Chaudry CA 1971
The court has jurisdiction to grant a civil law remedy by way of injunction in order to enforce the public law, except in cases where statute had expressly or by necessary implication removed the jurisdiction. Whenever Parliament has enacted a law . .
CitedSmart v Sheffield City Council: Central Sunderland Housing Company Limited v Wilson CA 25-Jan-2002
Each tenant had become unintentionally homeless, and was granted a non-secure tenancy of accommodation under section 193. Complaints of nuisance were received from neighbours. Possession orders were obtained and now challenged under the Human Rights . .
Appeal fromPorter, Searle and Others, Berry and Harty v South Buckinghamshire District Council, Chichester District Council, Wrexham County Borough Council, Hertsmere Borough Councilt CA 12-Oct-2001
Local authorities had obtained injunctions preventing the defendants from taking up occupation, where they had acquired land with a view to living on the plots in mobile homes, but where planning permission had been refused. The various defendants . .
ApprovedClarke Homes Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment CA 1993
On a challenge as to the adequacy of the reasons given for a planning decision: ‘I hope I am not over-simplifying unduly by suggesting that the central issue in this case is whether the decision of the Secretary of State leaves room for genuine as . .

Cited by:
CitedLondon Borough of Harrow v Qazi HL 31-Jul-2003
The applicant had held a joint tenancy of the respondent. His partner gave notice and left, and the property was taken into possession. The claimant claimed restoration of his tenancy saying the order did not respect his right to a private life and . .
CitedDavis and Others v Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council CA 26-Feb-2004
The claimants were travelling showmen who had purchased land, and after failing to apply for permission, moved onto the land and began to live there.
Held: The cultural identity of travelling show-people and their status, as a matter of . .
AppliedCoates and others v South Bucks District Council ChD 27-Jan-2004
. .
CitedCoates and others v South Buckinghamshire District Council CA 22-Oct-2004
The local authority had required the applicants to remove their mobile homes from land. They complained that the judge had failed properly to explain how he had reached his decision as to the proportionality of the pressing social need, and the . .
CitedSecretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs v Meier and Others SC 1-Dec-2009
The claimant sought a possession order to recover land from trespassers. The court considered whether a possession order was available where not all the land was occupied, and it was feared that the occupiers might simply move onto a different part. . .
CitedBroxbourne Borough Council v Robb and Others QBD 27-Jun-2011
The Council applied for the committal of the defendant for an alleged breach of a without notice injunction. Notice of the injunction had been placed at the site, requiring nobody to move caravans onto the land.
Held: The application . .
CitedDover District Council v CPRE Kent SC 6-Dec-2017
‘When a local planning authority against the advice of its own professional advisers grants permission for a controversial development, what legal duty, if any, does it have to state the reasons for its decision, and in how much detail? Is such a . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 May 2021; Ref: scu.182482