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Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Chapter one: Defining the constitution
  3. Chapter two: Parliamentary sovereignty
  4. Chapter three: The rule of law and the separation of powers
  5. Chapter four: The royal prerogative
  6. Chapter five: The House of Commons
  7. Chapter six: The House of Lords
  8. Chapter seven: The electoral system
  9. Chapter eight: Parliamentary privilege
  10. Chapter nine: Constitutional conventions
  11. Chapter ten: Local government
  12. Chapter eleven: Parliamentary sovereignty within the European Union
  13. Chapter twelve: The governance of Scotland and Wales
  14. Chapter thirteen: Substantive grounds of judicial review 1: illegality, irrationality and proportionality
  15. Chapter fourteen: Procedural grounds of judicial review
    1. Cooper v Wandsworth Board of Works [1863] 143 ER 414
    2. R v Metropolitan Police Commissioner, ex parte Parker [1953] 2 All ER 717
    3. Ridge v Baldwin and others [1963] 2 All ER 66
    4. Re K (H) (an infant) [1967] 1 All ER 226
    5. Schmidt and Another v Secretary of State For Home Affairs [1969] 1 All ER 904
    6. McInnes v Onslow Fane and another [1978] 3 All ER 211
    7. R v Hull Prison Board of Visitors, ex parte St Germain and others (No 2) [1979] 3 All ER 545
    8. Attorney-General of Hong Kong v Ng Yuen Shiu (Privy Council) [1983] 2 W.L.R. 735; [1983] 2 A.C. 629
    9. R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Khan [1985] 1 All ER 40
    10. R v North East Devon Health Authority, ex parte Coughlan [2000] 3 All ER 850
    11. Regina v Secretary of State for Education and Employment, ex parte Begbie (CA) [2000] 1 W.L.R. 1115
    12. R (on the application of Bibi) v London Borough of Newham; [2001] EWCA Civ 607; [2002] 1 WLR 237 (CA).
    13. R v East Sussex County Council, ex p Reprotech (Pebsham) Ltd (HL) [2002] UKHL 8; 2002] 4 All ER 58.
    14. Metropolitan Properties Co (F G C) Ltd v Lannon and Others [1968] 3 All ER 304
    15. R v Gough [1993] 2 All ER 724
    16. R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and others, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No 2) [1999] 1 All ER 577
    17. Taylor v Lawrence [2003] QB 528
  16. Chapter fifteen: Challenging governmental decisions: the process
  17. Chapter sixteen: Locus standi
  18. Chapter seventeen: Human rights I: Traditional perspectives
  19. Chapter eighteen: Human rights II: Emergent principles
  20. Chapter nineteen: Human rights III: New substantive grounds of review
  21. Chapter twenty: Human rights IV: The Human Rights Act 1998
  22. Chapter twenty-one: Human rights V: The impact of The Human Rights Act 1998
  23. Chapter twenty-two: Human rights VI: Governmental powers of arrest and detention
  24. Chapter twenty-three: Leaving the European Union

R v East Sussex County Council, ex p Reprotech (Pebsham) Ltd (HL) [2002] UKHL 8; 2002] 4 All ER 58.


[33]....I think that it is unhelpful to introduce private law concepts of estoppel into planning law. As Lord Scarman pointed out in Newbury DC v Secretary of State for the Environment, Newbury DC v International Synthetic Rubber Co Ltd [1980] 1 All ER 731 at 752, [1981] AC 578 at 616, estoppels bind individuals on the ground that it would be unconscionable for them to deny what they have represented or agreed. But these concepts of private law should not be extended into 'the public law of planning control, which binds everyone'. (See also Dyson J in R v Leicester City Council, ex p Powergen UK Ltd [1999] 4 PLR 91 at 100.)

[34] There is of course an analogy between a private law estoppel and the public law concept of a legitimate expectation created by a public authority, the denial of which may amount to an abuse of power (see R v North and East Devon Health Authority, ex p Coughlan (Secretary of State for Health intervening) [2000] 3 All ER 850, [2001] QB 213). But it is no more than an analogy because remedies against public authorities also have to take into account the interests of the general public which the authority exists to promote. Public law can also take into account the hierarchy of individual rights which exist under the Human Rights Act 1998, so that, for example, the individual's right to a home is accorded a high degree of protection (see Coughlan's case [2000] 3 All ER 850 at 883-884, [2001] QB 213 at 254-255), while ordinary property rights are in general far more limited by considerations of public interest (see R (on the application of Alconbury Developments Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions [2001] UKHL 23, [2001] 2 All ER 929, [2001] 2 WLR 1389).

[35] It is true that in early cases such as Wells' case and Lever (Finance) Ltd v Westminster Corp [1970] 3 All ER 496, [1971] 1 QB 222, Lord Denning MR used the language of estoppel in relation to planning law. At that time the public law concepts of abuse of power and legitimate expectation were very undeveloped and no doubt the analogy of estoppel seemed useful. In the Western Fish case the Court of Appeal tried its best to reconcile these invocations of estoppel with the general principle that a public authority cannot be estopped from exercising a statutory discretion or performing a public duty. But the results did not give universal satisfaction (see the comments of Dyson J in Ex p Powergen [1999] 4 PLR 91 at 100-101). It seems to me that in this area, public law has already absorbed whatever is useful from the moral values which underlie the private law concept of estoppel and the time has come for it to stand upon its own two feet.