Here’s a word of friendly advice for organisations developing components of Sir Geoffrey Vos’s promised ecosystem of online courts. Be very, very careful when testing them out.
A local authority in Kent found out the hard way how not to go about it when a junior employee was tasked with debugging a system for handling planning consents. The junior geek assumed that the five planning applications provided for the purpose were dummies. They were not. And, to the respective joy or dismay of the applicants, the approvals or rejections were duly published online.
According to the Mail, on taking legal advice, Swale Council learned this month that the ‘decisions’ were binding, even though they contained idiosyncratic language. For example an application by an animal rescue centre was declined on the ground that: ‘1: Your proposal is whack. 2: No, mate, proper whack.’
The council taxpayers of Swale now face a bill of some £8,000 to sort it all out.