The first stage is to issue the claim at Court and apply for permission to bring statutory review proceedings. This will comprise a claim form together with details of claim (generally to be drafted by a barrister); witness statements setting out any relevant facts, exhibiting relevant documents and supporting any application for a costs capping order, a bundle of authorities, and a list of essential reading.
The defendants will be the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the local planning authority (although they will likely not take an active part in proceedings as they refused planning permission in the first place) and the developer. The claim must be issued and served on the defendants within six weeks of the date of the decision so there is even less time in practice than in JRs.
The defendants will have 21 days from service upon them of the claim to acknowledge service indicating whether they wish to contest the claim and, if so, setting out their summary grounds for doing so. We will then, if necessary, respond to these summary grounds as soon as possible (although there is no express provision for doing so).
A single judge will then consider the application for permission on the papers without a hearing to decide whether the claimant has an arguable case. The judge may also certify the application as ‘totally without merit’ at this stage if they consider that the claim is bound to fail no matter how they look at it.
If permission for statutory review is refused and the application is not certified ‘totally without merit’, the claimant has the right to have its application heard at an oral hearing. This involves preparing grounds for renewal and a skeleton argument setting out why the claimant believes that the judge who refused permission on the papers was wrong to do so. The application will then be heard before a single judge at a permission hearing of approximately 30 minutes at which the claimant will try to persuade the judge that its case is arguable. The defendants do not have to attend this hearing but often do. The judge will give judgment on the day as to whether they consider that permission should be granted or refused. If permission is refused the claimant has recourse to the Court of Appeal.
If the permission for statutory review is refused on the papers and the judge certifies the application as ‘totally without merit’, the claimant may not apply to have their application heard at an oral hearing. The claimant, if they wish to continue with the claim may only apply to the Court of Appeal to obtain permission for statutory review.