Case studies


Case study 1

An independent planning consultant was appointed by a client midway through the planning process. The previous consultant had already been dismissed from the job, due to the client being unhappy with their performance. 

Under pressure from their client to adhere to very tight planning deadlines, the new consultant used drawings which were prepared by the previous one. The use of this work came to the attention of the previous consultant, and they successfully sued the new consultant for breach of their intellectual property rights. The claim settlement was in excess of £250,000, including legal defence costs incurred in defending the allegation.

Case Study 2
A planning practice was involved in the submission of proposals for a large-scale urban redevelopment, the application for which was eventually rejected, much to the annoyance of the developer concerned. Seeking the recovery of costs, the developer subsequently served a writ on the planning practice for amounts totalling close to £3m, claiming alleged negligence in the handling of the entire planning process and the strategy devised in the way in which it was approached. Due to the complexity of the claim and the potential costs involved, the practice was advised to settle the claim for over £240,000 (including legal defence costs).
Case Study 3
A sole practitioner planning consultant acted on behalf of Clients objecting to work being undertaken at a nearby Quarry. The consultant concerned had prior knowledge of the issues relating to the site, having been involved in the case during their time working for the LPA. This led to an unusually risky position for the planner, as they potentially could have been sued by their Clients if they were unsuccessful with their objections, or sued by the Quarry owners for alleged misuse of the planners’ prior knowledge.
The planner concerned ended up pursuing fees from his Client, who counterclaimed alleging professional negligence. Claim settled for damages of approximately £60,000 and in excess of £100,000 in legal fees (both own and the claimants).
It is essential that a written appointment is used, the brief is clear and the Client understands what the potential outcomes are. Unfortunately, the days of doing business with a handshake and gentleman’s agreement are long gone.
Members who do not clearly set out their terms of business to a client may also find themselves in breach of the RTPI’s Code of Professional Conduct.

Case Study 2

A planning practice was involved in the submission of proposals for a large-scale urban redevelopment, the application was eventually rejected, much to the annoyance of the developer concerned. Seeking the recovery of costs, the developer subsequently served a writ on the planning practice for amounts totalling close to £3m. The developer alleged negligence in the handling of the entire planning process and strategy development. Due to the complexity of the claim and the potential costs involved, the practice was advised to settle the claim for over £240,000 (including legal defence costs).

Case Study 3

A sole practitioner planning consultant acted on behalf of clients objecting to work being undertaken at a nearby quarry. The consultant concerned had prior knowledge of the issues relating to the site, having been involved in the case during their time working for the LPA. This led to an unusually risky position for the planner, as they potentially could have been sued by their clients if they were unsuccessful with their objections, or sued by the quarry owners for alleged misuse of the planners’ prior knowledge.

The planner concerned ended up pursuing fees from his client, who counterclaimed alleging professional negligence. Damages of approximately £60,000 were awarded and £100,000 in legal fees (both own and the claimants).

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