Investigation and Enforcement for Planning Officers

This 4-module intensive training programme over 4 days gives Planning Officers the skills needed to carry out their investigations in a professional manner and take successful criminal prosecutions.

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Investigation and Enforcement for Planning Officers

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Learn how to obtain and secure evidence in accordance with best practice standards and understand how this affects the admissibility, credibility and weight of evidence in court.

Attendees will receive expert legal guidance on how to investigate an offence, compile a successful criminal prosecution case from start to finish. They will gain excellent knowledge of the relevant legislation, practice and procedures which they work under.

Key Learning Points:

  • Manage a prosecution case from start to finish
  • Relevant legislation and procedures
  • Powers and offences
  • Issuing enforcement notices
  • Rules of evidence and admissible evidence
  • Best practice in statement/report writing
  • Give confident evidence in Court
  • Deal with difficult cross examination

Read more about each training module below.

Module 1: Planning and Development Act 2000

On completion of this module all planning officers will understand:

  • Powers of Authorised Officers
  • Methods of Enforcement under the Act
  • Enforcement Notices
  • Section 46 Notices
  • Section 59 Notices
  • Section 60 Notices
  • Section 88 Notices

Along with Criminal Prosecutions:

  • Summary and Indictable Offences and Penalties
  • Reverse Onus Clause
  • Offences by Companies


  • Section 160 Injunctions
  • Costs/Polluter pays principal
  • What factors the Court may take into account

Judicial Review Proceedings:

  • What can be judicially reviewed
  • What time limits apply
  • When will the Court grant leave
  • Case Law re substantial ground/interest

Module 2: Law, Evidence, Procedure and Best Practice

On completion of this module Planning Officers will:

  • Understand the need for consistency of approach in enforcement procedure
  • Recognise different types of evidence, including, oral, documentary, hearsay, circumstantial and real evidence, which includes use of notebooks, photographs, and maps as evidence
  • Distinguish between facts, inferences and opinions
  • Follow best practice in evidence gathering procedure
  • Consider the rules of evidence and admissibility of evidence
  • Have an understanding of our legal system, court system and criminal prosecution procedure both summary and indictable.
  • Follow guidelines in relation to the procedure required in case preparation

Module 3: Excellence in Written Evidence

On completion of this module, delegates will be able to:

  • Create, maintain and enhance best practice standards in note taking and maintenance of officers’ notebooks
  • Create, maintain and enhance best practice standards in statement writing including cautioning in accordance with the Judges Rules
  • Consider and follow best practice in both investigation and prosecution report writing, to include analysis of model report formats

Module 4: Giving Effective Evidence

On completion of this module delegates will be able to:

  • Understand summary and indictable trial procedure
  • Consider the process of giving evidence and how best to prepare
  • Appreciate the differences between examination-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination
  • Consider the techniques used by lawyers in cross-examination
  • Analyse how to handle cross-examination, in particular getting across the whole truth
  • Experience cross-examination in the witness box, and receive feedback based on assessment criteria, covering content, structure and presentation

Who should attend and why?

This training is designed to provide Planning Officers with a clear insight into the legal framework in which they work. Attendees will examine the relevant legislation, looking specifically at offences, their powers and enforcement options. They will learn by exploring real life planning problems and sharing ideas/solutions with fellow planning professionals.

Delegates will learn from qualified lawyers how to apply best practice standards in their procedures to ensure consistent approach is applied across the board, at all stages of the investigation and prosecution.

Benefits of this training

Planning officers will:

  • Gain a clear understanding of their powers
  • Get practical guidance on how to draft notes, statements and reports
  • Issue enforcement notices

All in accordance with best practice standards.

Planning officers will also:

  • Gain skills in collecting evidence
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the rules of evidence ensuring the evidence they collect is admissible.
  • Learn through interaction with colleagues
  • Learn best practice from qualified lawyers

As part of the final module delegates will learn how to:

  • Give clear confident testimony in court,
  • Deliver the evidence in the best way possible
  • Defend the evidence presented under difficult cross examination


"I consider this course essential training for planning enforcement practitioners and would recommend this course to any planner undertaking planning enforcement work in Ireland today." - Kevin O'Connor, Acting Senior Planner, Cork City Council

"Excellent course, trainer had great knowledge of planning enforcement. Course was very relevant to my area of work." - Planner, Wicklow County Council

If you'd like to plan this training course for your organisation at a different date please contact us directly and we'll arrange this with you.