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Planning reform must not restrict access to justice
Pic: RollingNews.ie

06 Mar 2023 / law society Print

Planning reform must not restrict access to justice

The Law Society has advised the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage that clarity is needed to ensure that proposed planning law reforms do not restrict access to justice for citizens.

Appearing before the committee (2 March), Law Society Environmental and Planning Law Committee chair Rachel Minch SC (small picture) said, “Planning law reform is needed and commitment from Government to progress this is to be welcomed.

“However, in its current form, aspects of the Draft Planning and Development Bill 2022 have the potential to restrict access to justice for parts of our society.

“Questions remain on how an applicant can demonstrate that they have a sufficient interest to seek judicial review of planning decisions."

Clarity needed

“Clarity is also needed to ensure that costs of a judicial review do not exclude any group or individual from accessing justice. The final bill must be compatible with the protections around access to justice and meaningful public participation afforded under the Aarhus Convention and EU law.

“The Law Society appreciates the opportunity to engage with the committee on this fundamentally important legislative initiative. We look forward to continued consultation in respect of these issues and other significant aspects of the bill relating to the operation of the planning system.” 

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