What is the Difference Between a Planning Lawyer and a Planning Consultant?

Our planning team prides itself on its ability to work alongside clients and their agents, architects or planning consultants, to achieve the best possible outcome when negotiating planning permissions and conditions, but one question we get asked a lot is ‘what is the difference between a planning lawyer and a planning consultant?’.

We are always happy to clarify the key distinction and to explain that there is an overlap between the respective skill sets of different professionals working in the same field of planning and development.   

Our planning team is able to assist with:

  • Advice on the planning application process;
  • Assistance with negotiating the terms of planning permissions and conditions;
  • Guidance and legal advice regarding any appeals or enforcement action initiated against your business;
  • Any development agreements required as part of the planning process and associated topics, such as the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 Agreements

We are more often called in to advise on the legal processes surrounding planning projects, which might include more non-contentious elements, such as development agreements made under Section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act or Section 278 of the Highways Act.  

We also regularly advise clients on a myriad of other planning processes, such as the variation of planning conditions using Section 73 of the Act, submitting and advising upon the evidence required for Lawful Development Certificates, submitting appeals against the refusal of planning permission and advising on challenges in the High Court, whether that is against the decision of the council or a planning inspector.  

We work alongside planning consultants all the time, but the vast majority of our clients consult us about planning issues where an application has already been lodged and they either wish to make representations, or to obtain legal advice on specific aspects of the process. 

Clients are businesses, developers, applicants for planning permission or other third parties that wish to make representations. Very often we are brought into a project by planning consultants where legal issues have arisen, and we also have excellent links with the barristers’ chambers that specialise in planning law.

In short, we know what we do best, but will always tackle the thorny and controversial issues which the modern planning system throws up. If you need legal advice regarding a planning issue please contact our expert planning team.

Legal Directory Recommendations 

Lanyon Bowdler's planning team was established in 2015 and has since secured numerous accolades including the following comments from leading legal directories:

The 2020 edition of Chambers UK states: ‘David Brammer is a highly experienced lawyer with a wealth of planning knowledge. Market sources regard him as ‘highly competent and very experienced.’ 
David is also recognised in the 2020 edition of The Legal 500 which states he ‘is clearly a leader in his field. He can scythe through complex factual and legal detail to get straight to the pertinent issues. He is extremely good with clients and ensures that their case is always properly understood and articulated. A delight to work with.’ 

In 2018 and 2019, David was named in an independent survey as one of the top 25 planning lawyers in England.