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The News

Lodging Appeals by Post

In Michael Parnis v. MEPA (Court of Appeal, 5 April 2013) the letter of appeal was sent by post, and reached the Environment & Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) late.

 

The law on development planning requires that appeals from decisions on planning permits, are lodged within fifteen days from notification of the decision. The party involved sent its appeal to the EPRT, by post. He claimed in Court that since he sent the appeal in good time, he is not responsible if it did not reach the Tribunal within the time frames laid down in the law.


The Court observed that the appeal was not addressed to the EPRT and sent to the EPRT’s official address, but was addressed and sent to the Malta Environment & Planning Authority (MEPA) itself. Indeed MEPA acknowledged receipt of the correspondence, and passed it on to the EPRT (which is a distinct and separate legal entity in its own right).

The Court noted that, even if MEPA failed to pass on the appeal in good time to the EPRT and is responsible in any way for this failure, this does not change the fact that the 15-day time window is a strict one and ultimately, what counts is that the appeal did not reach the desired destination within the time limit laid down in the law.

The Court also pointed out that the appellant should have safeguarded his interest by  checking to ensure that the appeal reached the intended destination.

The Court therefore upheld the EPRT's decision to dismiss the appeal because it was lodged out of time.