Case Notes: Human rights in the balance

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In the run-up to the commencement of the Human Rights Act 1998 there was intensive speculation as to the impact of the Act on the Town and Country Planning system. The article examines what has been the impact so far. The decision of the Divisional Court in Alconbury at first indicated that Article 6 would require drastic changes to the procedures for
determining planning applications and appeals. However, successive decisions of the House of Lords have made clear that, apart from the need to give reasons, at the most Article 6 means that the courts have the potential to look more closely at the fairness of decision-making by planning authorities. Articles 8 and 1 of the First Protocol have had more effect on substantive decision-making by planning authorities but the way the courts have applied the doctrine of
proportionality has meant that, except in the case of the granting of injunctions, the courts tend to defer to the superior expertise of the planning authority.

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