Every so often we see a case come before the Courts that is struck out because of an error in process, however sound its substantive grounds.
The Court of Appeal made such a decision yesterday, in relation to a challenge against the adoption by a local planning authority of a development plan document.
The challenge was filed under s113 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, which provides for such challenges to be made "not later than the end of the period of six weeks starting with the relevant date". The "relevant date" for these purposes is the date of adoption of the development plan document. It was held that the six weeks started with and included that date of adoption - it did not start running the following day.
As such, the challenge was submitted out of time and was struck out as the Court had no jurisdiction to hear it.
This is in contrast to appeals under, for example, s287 TCPA 1990, which allows for the period to start running from the day after the relevant date ("six weeks from the relevant date").
The Court noted the express use of different languages in these sections, which clearly signalled Parliament's intention to refer to different periods. It was held to be important to adhere to such deadlines to ensure certainty for those who might rely on a challenge not having been filed within the given timescales.
EDWARD BARKER v HAMBLETON DISTRICT COUNCIL (2012)  EWCA Civ 610