The General Scheme of the Housing and Planning and Development Bill 2019 (the "Bill") was released for public consultation on 9 December 2019. It sets out proposed changes to the planning judicial review process.

Most significantly, the Bill seeks to:

  • Restrict the category of persons or bodies who may seek a judicial review;
  • Revise the "substantial grounds" and "substantial interest" criteria for the purposes of granting leave to judicially review a planning decision;
  • Restrict judicial review challenges to decisions of An Bord Pleanla only;
  • Require legal proceedings to be commenced by way of "motion on notice", thereby enabling Respondents and Notice Parties to contest a leave application at the earliest possible stage;
  • Introduce new costs caps for capping arrangements in relation to judicial review proceedings;
  • Change the special cost rules in respect of judicial reviews of planning permissions; and
  • Remove the entitlement to seek judicial review on the basis on typographical or clerical errors.

If passed as currently drafted, this will mark a significant shift towards a more "pro-developer" approach to judicial review challenges of planning decisions. However, we advise reading the current Bill with caution, as we would not be surprised to see numerous amendments to it before it is passed.