Lawful Development Certificates provide the possibility of obtaining a statutory document confirming that a use, operation or activity named in it is lawful for planning control purposes on the dates specified in the document.

The issue of a certificate depends entirely on factual evidence about the history and planning status of a building or land and the interpretation of any relevant planning law or judicial authority. The grant of a certificate applies only to the lawfulness of development carried out, or proposed, in accordance with planning legislation.