Planning Energy Environment

William Orbinson KC is the author of Northern Ireland’s main texts on planning appeals, planning policy, prematurity, environmental assessment, energy development, enforcement, local government planning functions, and planning and environmental judicial review

Published by SLS Legal Publications (NI), his 2009 ‘Planning and Judicial Review’ drew on his extensive experience in the Judicial Review Court, and he will shortly publish a substantial new book, ‘Planning and Judicial Review in Northern Ireland’, with Fionnuala Connolly, Judge of the Royal Court in Guernsey, through Planning Online, with a Foreword by Mr Justice Scoffield

“An indispensable resource … a vital text ... essential reading for all who work in the planning sphere whether as lawyers, planners or otherwise. Most importantly, however, it deserves to be recognized for its magisterial review of core judicial review principles, albeit in the planning context”From the Foreword to 'Planning and Judicial Review' by the then Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, latterly Lord Kerr of the Supreme Court

Mr Orbinson’s ‘Planning and Judicial Review: Case Summaries 1976-2016 and its annual Updates also received praise from Lord Kerr and more recently Lord Justice McCloskey and Mr Justice Scoffield . His 'Planning Appeals Principles' (5th Edition, 2020) remains the seminal publication for those engaged in the planning appeals process

Most of his recent publications are available on Planning Online


Publication of ‘Planning and Judicial Review: Case Summaries 1976-2016 – 2018 Update’ – Published June 2018

The 2018 Update for Planning and Judicial Review: Case Summaries 1976-2016 was published in June 2018 and contains summaries of all the planning judicial review decisions given in 2017

“… this series of texts has become firmly established as an indispensable resource for all those working the sphere of planning law and judicial review … an illuminating exposition of the key developments in this field … this update will ensure that the series retains its status as the definitive guide to planning law and judicial review in Northern Ireland”

Lord Kerr, Justice of the Supreme Court

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Planning and Judicial Review: Case Summaries 1976 – 2016

Written with Fionnuala Connolly BL as a companion to the main ‘Planning and Judicial Review’

To allow those working in planning, development and the environment to identify and access with ease readily digestible outline information about decisions of the NI courts on judicial review applications

“I predicted in the 2009 Foreword to this publication’s predecessor that it would be an indispensable resource for lawyers, planners and others involved in the planning sphere, as well as for lawyers working across the gamut of judicial review. It has, indeed, proved to be a most valuable resource. This volume builds on that promise and cements the series’ reputation as the definitive guide for planning and judicial review in Northern Ireland. William Orbinson is to be commended for his assiduous commitment to the provision of the most important materials in the field, in a readily accessible format and a single location. It is through enterprise of this sort that the law evolves to be a more comprehensible, more efficient, and more consistent body of thought. His efforts, and those of contributing author Fionnuala Connolly, have resulted in a book that, I am sure, will prove to be the starting point for many a researcher, and will make those endeavours considerably less onerous”

Lord Kerr, Justice of the Supreme Court

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The Aarhus Convention in Northern Ireland – A Tale of Two Polities

Chapter contributed to ‘The Aarhus Convention: A Guide for UK Lawyers’

Hart Publishing 2015

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Any Seaport in a Storm: The Northern Ireland SEA Experience

Jones and Scotford, Hart Publishing 2017

Chapter contributed to ‘The Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive: A Plan for Success?

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Planning Appeals Principles (4th Edition)

The decision-taking approach of the Planning Appeals Commission

William Orbinson QC will publish an updated edition in early 2019, again through Planning Online

“I commend this publication as a source of valuable information to those in the wider planning community when preparing for appeals in an increasingly complex policy and legal environment”

From the Foreword by Elaine Kinghan, then Chief Commissioner, Planning Appeals Commission, June 2014

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Safeguarding Assets: Understanding the Planning Appeals Commission’s Approach to Planning Enforcement

“Every enforcement official will want to keep a copy of this by the bedside, but the real value in the book is for practitioners looking to inform clients and mount well-supported argument at appeal.  A better understanding of the PAC approach helps everyone involved in the process”

Bill Morrison, planning consultant

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