39 Essex Chambers

Environment Department

London (Bar)
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39 Essex Chambers is a leading set with a deep bench of eminent environmental practitioners. Members are frequently instructed to act in public inquiries and judicial reviews, as well as all manner of environmental court cases, such as nuisance and contamination disputes. The set counts a number of well-known environmental and conservation charities among its clients, as well as government bodies and the developers of energy and waste projects. Barristers at the set are equipped to appear before courts at all levels of the justice system, including the Supreme Court and ECJ. One impressed solicitor says that "the set is one of a handful of top sets for environment law," while another goes so far as to say: "39 Essex is the king of everything!"

Client service: "The clerking service is consistent and responsive. You can be confident with what you're going to get." Andrew Poyser is responsible for the planning, environment and property team. One interviewee says: "Andy is my go-to man, even when I don't quite know what it is that I'm asking."

Catherine Dobson
Manages a dynamic environmental practice and has recently advised on matters ranging from noise nuisance to waste disposal. She has accrued impressive expertise pertaining to the nuclear sector.
Strengths: "The level of technical detail that she can absorb, digest and quickly turn around advice on is phenomenal. Whatever the subject and whatever the issue, she just gets it instantly." "Very quick to grasp often very scientific and technical details and to give well-crafted technical advice to tight deadlines."
Recent work: Acted for Southern Water in an inquiry into its water abstraction licence for a chalk stream in Hampshire.  The matter required an examination of European environmental legislation and how it interacts with statutory water supply duties.

James Burton
Has a broad environmental law remit and is particularly active representing individual and group claimants in actions relating to noise nuisance, flooding and other alleged violations. He has recently handled a number of disputes relating to airspace and other aviation matters.
Strengths: "He is extremely capable, very pragmatic and his written work is compelling, detailed and well reasoned." "He is bright and hard-working."
Recent work: Acted for the Civil Aviation Authority in a challenge to its decision to approve an airspace change at Farnborough Airport.

James Strachan QC
Acts for airports, oil terminals, waste operations, environmental crime, and wind farms faced with environmental litigation. He is also consulted for advice on environmental concerns surrounding large development projects.
Strengths: "Amazing in the way he calmly absorbs huge amounts of evidence and information and then presents a case that is both compelling and coherent."
Recent work: Continued to act for HS2 and the government in the promotion of the Phase 2A link between Fradley and Crewe.

Nigel Pleming QC
Known for his public law work, such as his part in the challenge to the third runway at Heathrow Airport. He advises clients on a variety of environmental matters, including marine issues.
Strengths: "Insightful and straight to the point. He adds real strategic value with his advice."

Richard Harwood QC
Advises on nuisance and criminal regulatory matters in environmental law, and is an expert on Environmental Impact Assessments. He is also highly regarded for his work in planning law.
Strengths: "His arguments are super solid and he is very clear, calm and methodical." "Richard is thorough, knowledgeable and a solid advocate."
Recent work: Acted for Covanta to resist a judicial review of a grant of an environmental permit for an energy-from-waste unit.

Richard Wald QC
An excellent choice for claims of environmental damage, acting for both claimants and defendants. He is particularly in demand for his advice relating to waste management and air quality.
Strengths: "Extremely committed to a case." "Richard is just brilliant. He is the most user-friendly junior barrister at the Bar."
Recent work: Acted for Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, an environmental NGO in Trinidad, in a challenge to a decision to grant consent for a highway scheme.

Rose Grogan
Up-and-coming junior who has an expanding environmental practice. She is noted for her representation of NGOs and government clients and has tackled a raft of pertinent matters including air quality, contamination and noise violations.
Strengths: "Absolutely fantastic." "Consistently impressive."
Recent work: Acted for the Mayor of London in a challenge brought by ClientEarth against the National Air Quality Plan.

Stephen Tromans QC
Outstanding barrister in the fields of environmental, energy, natural resources and planning law. He is highly esteemed for his work on air pollution and waste issues.
Strengths: "Very knowledgeable and useful for innovative and ground-breaking advice." "One of the top environmental lawyers practising in the UK. He is very good for knotty legal questions."
Recent work: Acted for a claimant in a dispute with Network Rail concerning the liability of landowners for Japanese knotweed on their land.

Victoria Hutton
Increasingly well regarded for her planning and environmental expertise. She has advised on an array of matters, including the impact of soil contaminants, road developments and complex renewable energy projects. She acts for individuals, local authorities and developers.
Strengths: "Good attention to detail and experienced in planning and environmental matters." "Very client-friendly."
Recent work: Acted for Severnside Distribution in relation to a challenge of a grant of hazardous substances consent for the storage of gas in South Gloucestershire.