The Bartlett School of Planning


Oliver Carr

Research subject

Planning Lore: A Historical Institutionalist Analysis of the Impacts of Case Law on Planning Practice in London Between 1909 and 1986

Primary supervisor: Ben Clifford
Secondary supervisor: Yvonne Rydin
Email: oliver.carr.15@ucl.ac.uk
Start date: October 2020
Projected completion date: October 2024

Oliver Carr

Case law in the jurisdiction of England and Wales is the primary method by which the judiciary arbitrate litigation and further the common law system, the law as it is declared and interpreted by judges, based on customs and precedent. In the context of planning, the effect of a century of jurisprudence on the development of the land use planning system presents a lacuna from which to investigate the impacts of the institution of case law on the institution of planning practice.

This research sets out to examine the contribution of case law to the practice of town and country planning in London, using the first dedicated piece of planning legislation, The Housing, Town Planning, &c Act 1909 (c.44) as its starting point and the dissolution of the Greater London Council in 1986 as its end point. The first of these dates is chosen as represents the starting point for the courts’ interpretation of planning policy and legislation through case law. The end point of 1986 marks the disbanding of the Greater London Council, thereby situating my study in the context of Greater London, both temporally and spatially.

The institutions of case law and planning practice serve as the setting for a historical institutionalist analysis of the timeline of the development the British land use planning system. Historical institutionalism is used as the theoretical framework to conduct this study, due to this framework’s propensity to elucidate how timing, path dependence and sequences affect institutions and shape social, political and economic behaviour and change. It is concluded that the customs and precedents which inform case law as it pertains to planning create perceptible actions and reactions in the wider planning field. These directly shape planning practice, demonstrating that planning case law is not the separate, value neutral, activity it has traditionally been framed as.

  • Postgraduate Teaching Assistant for BPLN0092: Planning and Property Law 
  • Post Graduate Teaching Assistant for BPLN011: Introducing Planning and Environmental Law 
  • Module Co-ordinator for BPLN0092: Planning and Property Law (2022)

Oliver Carr holds an MA(Hons) in Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews and an MSc in Spatial Planning from UCL. He qualified as a barrister in 2015 before working as a planner in the private sector. Oliver has a particular interest in the intersections between planning practice and planning law, having worked in both fields. He is currently an MPhil/PhD student at the Bartlett School of Planning.

  • Postgraduate Teaching Assistant for BPLN0092: Planning and Property Law 
  • Postgraduate Teaching Assistant for BPLN011: Introducing Planning and Environmental Law 
  • Module Co-ordinator for BPLN0092: Planning and Property Law (2022)
Conference papers/presentations
  • Carr, O. & Stookes, P. (2015). ‘Coventry v Lawrence: What is the Appropriate Remedy for Nuisance?’ ELaw, UKELA Journal, March 2015. 
  • Carr, O. (2021). ‘Continuity or Change? Prospects for Judicial Review Under the Planning White Paper’. Town and Country Planning, Vol.90, No.1/2. 
  • Carr, O. (2022). ‘A Legal Challenge to “Beauty” in the National Planning Policy Framework 2021’ in ‘On Beauty’ Araabi, H. F., Hickman, H. & McClymont, K. (2022) Planning Theory & Practice. Published online: 02 September 2022.