Chalfont St Peter Parish Council v Holy Cross Sisters Trustees Inc

Town and country planning – Permission for development. Each of the claims in tort pursued by the claimant (the parish council) against the defendant (the Holy Cross Sisters), concerning steps taken by the latter to obtain planning permission for a site, following the closure of a Catholic school, were dismissed. The claimant had been alleged that some of the Holy Cross Sisters, together with another, had conspired to provide false information to the local authority (the authority) concerning the planning application. The Queen's Bench Division held that the interference with a claimant's non-economic interests was not sufficient to found the unlawful means tort. Accordingly, the court rejected the parish council's submission that interference of its non-economic interest (in the proposed relocation of the Church of England school to the site in question) was sufficient to found the tort. The court further held that there had been no conspiracy to use unlawful means, as alleged, that the intent necessary for an unlawful means conspiracy had not been established, and that the parish council had suffered no loss by reason of the authority's decision to grant planning permission.

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