§ Lord Denning
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the answer of the Earl of Arran on 26th May 1994 and the letter annexed thereto [WA 51 and 52], whether the procedure for determining legal issues is contrary to the principles of administrative law in that they are determined by the department's legal staff without hearing either side and without giving any reasons, and their determination can be ignored or overruled by the inspector in his discretion.
§ The Earl of Arran
Responsibility for the subject of this Question has been delegated to the Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. H. S. Crow. The agency is therefore responding to the question.
Letter to Lord Denning from the Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency, Mr. H. S. Crow:
The Secretary of State for the Environment has asked me to reply to your question about the determination of 88WA legal issues relating to orders determined by inspectors appointed under paragraph 10(1) of Schedule 15 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Legal issues in rights of way orders are not determined by the Department of the Environment's legal staff. In reaching decisions on rights of way orders the appointed inspectors have a duty to reach conclusions on all relevant matters, including legal issues, placed before them by the parties. In certain instances advice may be sought from Department of the Environment legal staff on legal issues. What conclusion the inspector reaches in the light of that advice is a matter for the inspector's own judgment when determining the order. Such conclusions as may be reached are set out in the decision letter.