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Grafton Group (UK) Plc v. Secretary of State for Transport [2017] 1 W.L.R. 373

DATE: 21 Jun 2016

In this case, the Court of Appeal (Laws, Longmore & David Richards LJJ) held that the provision in s.24 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 that, upon a successful High Court challenge to a compulsory purchase order under s.23 of the 1981 Act, “the Court may quash the compulsory purchase order” meant that the Court’s powers of relief was confined to undoing not merely the confirmation of the compulsory purchase order by the confirming Minister but also its making by the acquiring authority, even where the legal error was exclusively attributable to the confirmation stage. The Court found that the language of s.24 compelled such a conclusion, notwithstanding that it was a “blunt instrument”, and that due to the ouster clause under s.25 of the 1981 Act the Court did not retain any alternative inherent powers beyond the express terms of s.24.

Charles Banner acted for the Secretary of State (the confirming Minister), instructed by the Government Legal Department.

Russell Harris QC acted for the Port of London Authority (the acquiring authority), instructed by Bircham Dyson Bell.

Rupert Warren QC acted for Orion Shepherds Bush Market Limited, which was given permission to intervene due to its interest in other proceedings where the same point was in issue.