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Certificate of Lawful Use

Certificate of Lawfulness applications require the Local Planning Authority to determine whether a proposed or existing development is lawful. For example, a Certificate can be issued by the Local Planning Authority to confirm that any extension(s) proposed to a dwelling house can be lawfully constructed without the need for planning permission.  Also, Certificates can be issued to confirm that the Local Planning Authority determines that an existing development or use is lawful and thus immune form enforcement action.

Operational development, such as the construction of a building for example without the benefit of planning permission, is lawful after four years beginning with the date on which operations were substantially completed and so would therefore be immune to enforcement action. A similar rule applies to uses of buildings and land, although the time period for immunity in most cases is extended to 10 years. The onus of proof is placed firmly on the applicant to demonstrate that beyond the balance of probability the development is lawful.

The Sworders’ team are experienced in providing advice to clients regarding Certificate of Lawfulness applications and their experience in such matters has ensured that they have helped numerous clients successfully negotiate the legal minefield presented by such applications.