Use the drop-downs to find out more about recovering your appeal costs.

WHAT IS AN AWARD OF COSTS?

An award of costs is where one party in an appeal is required to pay either the full or partial costs of another party. In the vast majority of cases, costs are awarded to either:

  • the local council against the appellant*
  • the appellant against the local council. 

Costs could be awarded against or on behalf of third parties but this is very rare. 

*the appellant is the person who submitted the planning appeal.

WHEN ARE COSTS AWARDED?

Costs are awarded only in very limited circumstances. Both of the following must hold true:

  1. A party has acted unreasonably
  2. That unreasonable behaviour has directly caused another party to incur unnecessary or wasted expense. 

What is unreasonable behaviour?

“Unreasonable behaviour” is defined in the normal way. Planning Inspectors will be expected to apply their discretion in each case. 

The Planning Inspectorate publishes some common examples of unreasonable behaviour, including:

Unreasonable behaviour by the local council 

  • Introducing new reasons for refusal
  • Withdrawing reasons for refusal
  • Providing information that is clearly false or inaccurate
  • Lack of co-operation with the other party
  • Refusing permission on a ground capable of being dealt with by condition(s)
  • Acting contrary to well-established case law
  • Not determining similar cases in a consistent manner
  • Persisting to object to a development (or elements of a development) that a Planning Inspector has previously indicated to be acceptable. 

Unreasonable behaviour by the appellant

  • Lack of co-operation with the other party
  • Introducing new grounds of appeal at a late stage
  • Withdrawal of an appeal without good reason
  • Providing information that is clearly false or inaccurate
  • Making an appeal that had no reasonable prospect of succeeding. 

Remember: It is not enough to demonstrate that the other party has acted unreasonably. You must also show that their unreasonable behaviour has directly caused you wasted expense. 

HOW ARE COSTS RECOVERED?

If you have grounds to claim costs from another party in an appeal, you should submit a costs claim to the Planning Inspectorate. There is a standard claims form available at gov.uk. You can access it using the button below.

When you claim, you must describe the unreasonable behaviour of the party being claimed against and describe how this behaviour has caused you additional costs. 

If they feel it is warranted, Planning Inspectors are entitled to make an award of costs even if no claim has been submitted. This only happens in very exceptional circumstances. 

WHAT COSTS CAN YOU RECOVER?

Only appeal costs can be recovered. You cannot recover any money spent prior to the appeal (e.g. at application stage), even if these costs arose only due to the other party’s unreasonable behaviour. 

Depending on the circumstances, all appeal costs can be recovered. This includes the fee paid to your planning consultant and the cost of any reports supplied with the appeal. 

WHEN SHOULD YOU APPLY FOR AN AWARD OF COSTS?

You should submit a claim for costs as soon as possible, preferably alongside your appeal. 

The Inspectorate has discretion to consider late applications for costs but it’s always best to avoid the risk of your claim being turned away. 

HOW CAN PLANNING DIRECT ASSIST YOU TO RECOVER YOUR APPEAL COSTS?

If you have instructed Planning Direct to prepare and manage a planning appeal on your behalf, we will always investigate the possibility of recovering your costs. If we think you have grounds to claim costs, we’ll let you know from the outset. 

If you decide to proceed with a costs claim, we will submit the application on your behalf. We have experience recovering costs on behalf of both large corporations and individual householders. 

If you’d like to know a more about applying to recover your appeal costs, contact your planning consultant at Planning Direct directly. 

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