Advocacy at Appeal Hearings, Public Inquiries & in the High Court.

Planning appeals involving large and complex development schemes tend to be decided after either a Hearing or a Public Inquiry.

The cost and risk of Court proceedings can be considerable.

We're always clear on the likelihood of success.

We have extensive experience in conducting appeals by both Hearings and Public Inquiries. We are used to dealing with short time frames and giving robust and clear advice on an urgent basis.

Employment Law

A Hearing is a formal and structured discussion between the parties, led by the Inspector (who decides the appeal).

The issues will usually be worked through on a topic by topic basis and the Inspector will ask parties and their representatives to contribute to the discussion. Whilst forensic skills are less evident at hearings than inquiries, there is plenty of opportunity for lawyers who understand planning to contribute to discussion of this kind, and our training in analysis, and our overview of planning issues, can often play an important part in the successful presentation of an appeal.

An Inquiry is a more formal procedure. The witnesses who give evidence will have to prepare statements of evidence and they will be cross examined by the advocates before formal legal submissions are presented to the Inspector. It is common for there to be a great deal more documentation for this kind of procedure, and for the issues to be more complex than for hearings. Inquiry procedures require skilled advocacy to present your case in the most persuasive way possible, so as to give your appeal the best chance of success. 

We have extensive experience in conducting appeals by both Hearings and Public Inquiries. 

In addition to appeal Hearings and Public Inquiries, we also have extensive experience in both launching and defending High Court challenges (such as ‘s288 Appeals’ and Judicial Reviews). S288 Appeals can occur when an appeal has been decided and one side or the other think that the Inspector’s decision is legally flawed. Judicial reviews can occur when for example an interested third party (e.g. a neighbour) considers that a local authority has made a legal error in deciding to grant planning approval. We have acted for Claimants and Defendants, as well as interested parties in these types of proceedings and in the High Court, and the Court of Appeal.

The cost, and risk, of Court proceedings is considerable and we give straightforward advice to our clients as to the likelihood of success of challenging a planning decision and as to the potential costs, and timescales involved in the processes. A key problem is speed of action; we are used to having to take on these cases with the short time frames that are inevitable, and to giving robust and clear advice on an urgent basis. 

Suzanne Tucker

Working With Our Service Team

Adding value to your property assets means successfully negotiating the maze of planning and environmental regulations and liabilities. Our experienced and expert team provide strategic and proactive advice to help you deliver on the legal aspects required.

- Suzanne Tucker

If you have an enquiry in relation to Town and County Planning or want to speak to a member of our expert team, please get in touch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where an appeal against the refusal by a local planning authority to grant planning permission, or against their failure to make a decision in relation to a planning application is determined by way of a Hearing (as opposed to via Written Representations or a Public Inquiry), there will essentially be a formal roundtable discussion led by a Planning Inspector (who makes the decision about whether the appeal should succeed), with each party invited to comment on the issues.

The applicant can be represented by their legal adviser and/or planning consultant and also supported by other professional experts (for example with expertise in highways/drainage/heritage/ecology etc.). Third parties (whether objecting to or supporting the scheme) can also attend a Hearing and give their views to the Inspector. Hearings can either be in person or via video conference (or a combination of both).

The written submissions will always be very important in presenting a case, but where oral submissions are made to an Inspector at a Hearing, they can often be very effective in focussing on the key points and explaining the detail of complex issues, where an unusual or novel legal point is being argued, where there are differences of view as to the impact of a scheme, or where an Inspector is seeking clarification on a matter.

A Public Inquiry is the most formal method of determining planning appeals and other cases and may be required for large scale, complex or controversial schemes, or where there is a dispute of fact between parties. Evidence is given to the Planning Inspector by witnesses under oath, who can be cross examined by a Barrister or Solicitor acting for the other party/ies. Public Inquiries can be attended by members of the public who can also give evidence.

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If you have a legal enquiry and would like to speak to one of our specialist team, please get in touch. We aim to respond within 2 hours of receiving your enquiry and look forward to hearing from you.

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What Our Clients Say

I was very satisfied with the professional service, the communication from the firm throughout the course of the work, the quality of the report and of course the outcome of my case.

Mark Turner

Ms Jackson


We were most impressed throughout the process with the advice and guidance given and the subsequent communications on our matter, and with the eventual outcome of the case.

Mark Turner

Mr Knight


Great planning advice. Wouldn't go anywhere else 10/10.

Suzanne Tucker

Mr Ellis