*Full case details
Christian Braun vs (1) Secretary of State for DTLR (2) Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council, 20 May 2003, Court of Appeal, Civil Division, Judgment of the Court
The Court of Appeal agreed that in principle, enforcement under s.38 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 was available against works provided only that they did in fact involve a contravention of listed building control, whenever and by whomsoever they were carried out, once the building had been listed. The court nevertheless dismissed the appeal because the council's notice had not made it clear that it was intended to reverse all contravening works back to the date of listing.
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The building owner in this case had successfully defended criminal proceedings on the basis that the unauthorised work had been carried out by his predecessors in title. Although he also succeeded in having the decision of the building inspector quashed in these proceedings, he only did so because the council had not included the predecessors' work within the scope of their notice, as they were perfectly entitled to do. Aside from underlining the need when purchasing listed buildings to ensure that no unauthorised works have been carried out to them, the case also sends a warning to those involved in the process of enforcing compliance with the regulatory regime to ensure consistency between their views of the end to be achieved. Here, if the council had checked out the extent of the breach of the regulations before issuing its notice, then it could have succeeded in its enforcement application.