Northern Ireland Planning Service

Information Leaflet 6: Certificates of Lawful Use or Development
What is a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development?

Certificates of Lawful Use or Development are certificates issued by the Department, which establish that the use or development of land is lawful in two circumstances:
(a) Article 83A Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development.
This is where you wish to confirm that any existing use, or operation, or activity in breach of a condition or limitation on a planning permission that has already taken place is lawful on the date specified in the application. It is defined as being lawful if enforcement action cannot be taken against it. This may be because it had, or did not need planning permission, or it may be the case that the use or operation took place so long ago that the time for enforcement action has expired;
(b) Article 83B Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development.
This is where you wish to confirm that what you are proposing would be lawful i.e. it would not require express planning permission. For example you may need to establish that what you have proposed does not constitute development, is ‘permitted development’, or already has planning permission.
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