Happy New Year to all! After something of a break, the 39 Essex Newsletter is back with a new issue for 2018, which considers some important developments from the end of last year.
We begin this edition with an extended look by Stephanie David at the evolving protective costs order regime, the new rules for which has recently received detailed consideration from Dove J in RSPB and others v Secretary of State for Justice and Anr  EWHC 2309 (Admin). Stephanie considers the question of whether the recent reforms, read in the light of the RSPB case, have enhanced or inhibited access to justice in environmental matters?
One of our co-editors, Jonathan Darby, examines the law surrounding planning conditions, which has been consolidated over the past couple of years. The courts have clarified the approach to take to the imposition of conditions just as the well-known tests, as set out at paragraph 206 in the NPPF, have been placed on a statutory footing in the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017.
Stephen Tromans QC and Rose Grogan discuss a rare contaminated land case in the Court of Appeal – Price and Hardwicke v. Powys County Council  EWCA Civ 1133. Stephen and Rose appeared for the Council in a case which considered the scope of “liabilities” for the purposes of the Part IIA contaminated land regime.
Finally, we conclude this edition with a plug for an indispensable new book on ‘Planning Policy’ to be published by Bloomsbury Professional by two of our own, Richard Harwood QC and Victoria Hutton, and which is coming out this month. Do go and buy a copy!