The unfortunate case reported in Selby where a Council had accidentally (how !) issued a decision notice saying approval for a Green Belt House where the committee resolution was refusal, and had to accept the permission stands because of the threat of compensation has raised questions on the net about the legality of the issuance of the decision notice contrary to members wishes.
This is probably one for you legal eagles, but was there not an alternative argument, that this was an improper decision – one that could not have been made given the decision of the original committee? The clear intention of the original decision was that this was a refusal bar the one key word – Refused!
The Courts in a number of cases most notably R V West Oxfordshire District Council ex parte Pearce Home  jpl 523 has held that all that is needed to determine if planning permission is granted is a decision notice not the resolution, earlier cases have stressed the importance of a purchaser being able to rely on a notice without wading through a paper trail.
But to my mind these cases do not cover one key issue. The West Ox case covered a situation where there was a resolution to grant subject to a planning agreement but where the site was scheduled so a refusal was issued. Consider the hypothetical case of a corrupt head of planning, the committee resolves to refuse an application for a new town, but the head of planning issues it anyway and heads off to a beach in a country without extradition. In that case the LPA would be quite justified in JRing its own decision . Indeed there was a similar case in Doncaster I believe a few years ago where the council’s own solicitor challenged a decision when corruption was shown, successfully too even though it was normally out of time.
So the courts, despite the West Oxs case, might have been sympathetic to the argument that new case law needed to be established that where a decision was issued contrary to authority or delegation it was not lawful.
A final thought in these days of decision notices being generated by database how could this happen?