We reported last month on the case of R (U & Partners (East Anglia) Limited) v Broads Authority and the Environment Agency, where the court felt bound by the Uniplex case to allow the full three months to bring a JR challenge even though, if it had not been for Uniplex, the court would probably have found there had been too much delay in bringing the case.
The Uniplex case stems from the Public Procurement Regulations, but the issues (and relevant governing wording) are on a par with planning. If a time limit is set out, it must be capable of being relied upon by potential claimants and not subject to a "but you must act promptly" qualification since that makes the time limit uncertain.
So the recent publication by the Cabinet Office of proposed changes to the Procurement Regulations, make interesting reading. From 1 October, the time limit for bringing challenges under those regulations will change, so as to allow a period of 30 days from the date when the challenger first knew, or ought to have known, that grounds for challenge had arisen. The court will retain a discretion to extend the period up to three months. It will be interesting to see how this affects planning-related challenges.