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The promptness requirements in non-EC law case

On 8 September 2011 David Elvin Q.C. (sitting as a Deputy High Court judge) refused permission for judicial review in the case of R (Macrae) v. Herefordshire District Council (unreported). David Elvin Q.C. rejected the contention that the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in C-406/08 Uniplex (UK) Ltd v. NHS Business Services Authority (“Uniplex”) could apply to claims which did not raise an issue of EU law and that the Claimant consequently had to show that he had issued his claim promptly.

In C-406/08 Uniplex (UK) Ltd v. NHS Business Services Authority the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) had concluded that the promptness requirement in Part 54.5 of the CPR, which requires judicial review proceedings to be brought promptly and in any event within three months, was contrary to Community Law. The court found that the lack of certainty regarding the period in which a challenge had to be made breached the principle of the effectiveness of Community law.

The decision in Macrae confirms that unless your claim raises issues of Community law, such as claims under the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Directive 85/337/EEC)  (see the decision in R (U & Partners) v. Broads Authority [2011] EWHC 1824 (Admin)), then the requirements of CPR 54.5 still apply and permission may be refused on the grounds that the claim was not brought promptly even if within the three month time limit.