The Commission’s review follows the government’s commitment in its ‘levelling up’ white paper to streamline public sector compulsory purchase powers.
The Law Commission last reviewed compulsory purchase 20 years ago and published two reports in 2003 and 2004. However, they were largely ignored and little changed.
The Law Commission has been asked by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) to look again at the law on compulsory purchase, to see that it does not get in the way of public infrastructure development.
In the new review, the Law Commission will examine the technical laws concerning:
- the procedures governing the acquisition of land through compulsory purchase orders (CPOs).
- the system for assessing the compensation awarded to parties in relation to such acquisitions.
Public law commissioner Nicholas Paines KC said: “Compulsory purchase orders are essential to delivering large-scale projects – from critical infrastructure, to housing developments and environmental plans.
“It is important that the legislative regime is effective, consistent, and clear to both landowners and acquiring authorities – but the current laws are fragmented and complex, often leading to uncertainty and unpredictability.
“I am therefore pleased that the Law Commission is undertaking this review. Our project will help to ensure that the law governing compulsory purchase is modernised and simplified – so that it can better support future projects at a local and national level.”
Levelling up minister Dehenna Davison (who, at the grand age of 29, is quitting parliament at the next election) said: “Giving councils the right tools to drive forward regeneration across our towns and cities and deliver much-needed new homes is essential to our levelling up mission.
“The measures we are taking forward through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill will also improve the process and help ensure that fair compensation is paid.”