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39 Essex Chambers

Planning

17 ranked barristersBand 3London (Bar)UK Bar 2022 View ranking table
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Ranked Barristers
chambers review
Ranked Barristers

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39 Essex Chambers is notable for its broad geographical reach and its substantial base of both national and international clients, including individual residents, developers, private firms and government departments. The planning team's recent work has included several local plan examinations, DCO and infrastructure matters, residential development proposals and environmental concerns. Several members of chambers have been involved in the high-profile cases relating to the A303 Stonehenge Tunnel and proposed expansion at Stansted Airport.

Client service:

Alastair Davidson is the senior clerk and Andrew Poyser is the deputy senior clerk for the planning, environment and property team. Clients of 39 Essex have recently benefited from a 'Quarantine Queries' service, an opportunity to talk through questions which might previously have been discussed between colleagues in an office. "The clerks are very responsive, communicative and they turn things around quickly." "The clerks are excellent – approachable and understanding of the client's needs and can manage the expectations of solicitors." "Elliott Hurrell, practice manager, is superb. He's so responsive, always flexible, very good on fees and really a fantastic clerk." "Andy Poyser and Elliott are very friendly. Andy is one of those people you can call up and he will always try to make things work for you."

Strengths:

Andrew Tabachnik QC
Andrew Tabachnik QC has expertise in residential promotion, regeneration and retail development, among other areas. A seasoned advocate in inquiry and High Court scenarios that may involve additional considerations, such as Green Belt impact, compensation or listed buildings, he frequently appears for big-name developers, as well as local authorities and other interested parties.
"His advice is practical and always sound, and his manner with the clients is exceptional." "Andrew's knowledge of the technical detail is combined with a strong commercial acumen and a pragmatic approach."
Recent work: Acted for Galliard Homes in the promotion of a new policy through the Oxford Local Plan with a view to securing the release of the Oxford Greyhound Stadium site for 200 to 250 new homes.

Strengths:

Celina Colquhoun
Celina Colquhoun has a practice with infrastructure cases at its core, and has handled a number of matters concerning major projects in the transport sector in particular. She undertakes CPO, waste management and local impact matters, among others. She has been instructed in relation to energy projects of national significance.
"Celina really doesn’t waver and is really quick to think on her feet."
Recent work: Acted for Canterbury City Council in a challenge to the adoption of a local plan on the basis that the plan failed to accord with the Air Quality Directive and UK Air Quality Regulations.

Strengths:

Christiaan Zwart
Christian Zwart has ability and experience in niche areas, including development finance, DCO infrastructure cases and Community Infrastructure Levy matters, in the last of which he has particular expertise. His client base extends internationally and he is a regular advocate in High Court cases, as well as the Lands and Tax Chambers. He fields additional expertise in regeneration, housing and matters pertaining to air quality.
"His understanding and navigation of the regulations is phenomenal and is accompanied by excellent response times and an approachable manner." "Christiaan is vastly experienced in DCO procedures and advocacy."
Recent work: Acted for Spirit Energy, the principal objector to the offshore wind farm development at Hornsea Three in the North Sea.

Strengths:

James Burton
James Burton is recognised for his expertise in compulsory purchase matters and continues to appear in high-profile cases in both the High Court and Court of Appeal. His expertise in environmental law proves useful in a number of the matters he handles.
"James is very precise and thorough. He is extremely user-friendly and always enthusiastic."
Recent work: Defended Tower Hamlets London Borough Council's refusal of planning permission for the demolition of the LEB Building in Bethnal Green, for a housing-led mixed-use scheme.

Strengths:

James Strachan QC
James Strachan QC is a tactically and technically-minded QC who has won a strong reputation both at the Bar and among his clients for his work on major developments. His infrastructure résumé includes a substantial appointment promoting the HS2 rail project for the government. He is also well versed in the housing, retail, highways and urban design fields. Other notable work relates to the development of prominent heritage sites.
"James is very forensic and has an excellent eye for detail. He is a robust advocate who will thoroughly test the key parts of the case." "He has a fierce intellect combined with a strong attention to detail." "He has an excellent style, he's tenacious and he's very easy to deal with."
Recent work: Acted for Samuel Smith Old Brewery in the Supreme Court in a challenge to the interpretation of Green Belt policy.

Strengths:

John Pugh-Smith
John Pugh-Smith focuses his practice on town and country planning law and environmental law, and is also an accomplished mediator. He most frequently represents local or central government authorities, and interested parties such as objectors or claimants, in a variety of planning cases. He has experience of representing clients in various public inquiries and complex Section 106 matters.
"He is a seasoned professional who is particularly good with clients." "John is particularly experienced in weighing up the merits of a case quickly and providing clients with a realistic prospect on their chances of success."
Recent work: Secured planning application for a new national landmark monument, named the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, and associated facilities within the Green Belt near Birmingham.

Strengths:

John Steel QC
John Steel QC acts in major infrastructure cases, especially those regarding airports. He is also well versed in all aspects of leisure, retail and residential development matters. He has undertaken work relating to local plans.
"John's attention to detail and his ability to distil that into actions and focus is very impressive." "He is incredibly hard-working and tenacious."
Recent work: Advised Jockey Club Racecourses on the £120 million redevelopment and major upgrading of Sandown Park Racecourse.

Strengths:

Jonathan Darby
Jonathan Darby acts in all aspects of planning processes for domestic and international clients, including landowners, developers, third parties and local authorities. He is also well versed in environmental law, and his practice takes in criminal proceedings related to planning and the Environmental Protection Act 1990. He works in cases involving CPO and regeneration issues.
"He is really hard-working and dedicated. He has excellent written skills and a pleasant demeanour." "Jonathan really understands the CPO area of law and has a really lovely way with the client. He's very commercial, pragmatic and very easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for Cornwall County Council in relation to the promotion of a major link road and side roads scheme, including elements of compulsory purchase.

Strengths:

Katherine Barnes
Katherine Barnes is recognised as a growing presence at the London Planning Bar and has demonstrated skill in representing local authorities and developers in a range of planning-related challenges.
"She gives strategic advice, is very pleasant to work with and is very helpful with the client." "Katherine is a brilliant advocate; she is responsive and hands-on."
Recent work: Acted for a claimant in a judicial review of East Hertfordshire District Council's decision to grant permission for a multi-storey car park in a conservation area.

Recent work:

Paul Stinchcombe QC
Paul Stinchcombe QC handles matters ranging from compensation cases and inquiries to judicial reviews. He has extensive experience of both promoting and opposing large-scale development projects. He advises a range of clients, including developers, local authorities and local objectors. He has notable experience in major appellate cases relating to the application of planning legislation.
Acted against the Secretary of State for Transport in relation to a Development Consent Order made for the reopening of Manston Airport as a dedicated freight hub.

Strengths:

Peter Village QC
Peter Village QC handles large-scale residential and retail development matters or other cases of substantial size and profile. He has acted successfully for objectors, developers and landowners in examinations, inquiries and appeals. His considerable experience includes numerous matters significant enough to be called in by the Secretary of State.
"He is a robust advocate and prepared to jump into matters at short notice."
Recent work: Represented crematorium developer and operator Dignity Funerals in relation to a long-running dispute over planning in the South Staffordshire Green Belt.

Strengths:

Philippa Jackson
Philippa Jackson is recognised for her diverse practice which covers a broad range of planning and environmental matters. She has demonstrated particular prowess in handling high-profile judicial reviews and challenges to planning permissions.
"Her advice is excellent and she is very thorough."
Recent work: Acted for Manchester Airport Group in the appeal against Uttlesford District Council's refusal of planning permission for expansion proposals at Stansted Airport.

Strengths:

Richard Harwood QC
Richard Harwood QC is a silk whose reputation and profile are fast on the rise. He acts for developers and landowners, as well as government authorities. He has also authored a number of standard texts on planning and environmental law. His practice takes in proposals ranging from energy and infrastructure to high-profile residential and commercial developments.
"He is extremely knowledgeable and swift to provide assistance and advice." "Richard is an outstanding advocate and knows the planning system like the back of his hand." "He always gives excellent and clear advice."
Recent work: Acted for Historic England in a four-week inquiry leading to the Secretary of State refusing planning permission for the Chiswick Curve.

Strengths:

Richard Wald QC
Richard Wald QC has written extensively on his specialisms of planning, environmental, energy and administrative law. He acts for both public and private clients. He is noted for his contributions to legal periodicals on a range of subjects including environmental matters, nuclear energy and highways law. He acts in cases involving infrastructure and energy projects as well as those relating to residential development.
"Richard provides excellent support across a range of complicated issues." "He provides clear-cut advice, grasps complex matters quickly and is easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for Oxton Farm, owned by Samuel Smith Breweries, in a challenge to the grant of permission for a housing estate on the basis of a failure to take account of the best and most up-to-date demographic data in determining housing land supply.

Strengths:

Stephen Tromans QC
Stephen Tromans QC is a specialist in energy, environment and planning law. He frequently acts in nuisance claim cases, judicial reviews, appeals and other instances where his specialisms converge. He is also well versed in international cases, particularly those under EU law. He acts for both local government and developers, with recent work including cases relating to habitats regulation.
"He provides technically first-class and commercial advice."
Recent work: Advised Clearstone Energy on an appeal against the refusal of permission for a new gas fire power station in Hayes, London.

Strengths:

Thomas Hill QC
Thomas Hill QC concentrates his practice on major infrastructure work over a range of sectors. He has expertise in airports, ports and energy projects, including renewables. He is regularly called upon to promote urban regeneration schemes and strategic land developments. His practice takes in sensitive Green Belt proposals.
"He is highly experienced, thorough and personable." "Thomas is able to provide a commanding view on both tactics and technical detail. He is an effective advocate who always provides a thorough exposition of the issues."
Recent work: Acted for The Gascoyne Cecil Estate in Hertfordshire to promote substantial tracts of its Green Belt for the development of over 3,000 houses through the process of the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan examination.

Strengths:

Victoria Hutton
Victoria Hutton is a junior noted for her representation of developers, individual objectors and local authorities in varied planning law cases. She appears at inquiries and planning appeals in the High Court, and has led cases as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal. Her experience includes advising on Green Belt development matters and planning policy challenges.
"Victoria is well liked by clients for her commercial advice and technical knowledge." "She delivers clear advice punctually and pragmatically."
Recent work: Acted for a consortium of archaeologists opposing the tunnelling of the A303 within and under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

Planning

39 Essex Chambers

firm
Location

81 Chancery Lane

London

Greater London

UK

WC2A 1DD

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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

London (Bar)

Planning


Andrew Tabachnik QC
Band 5
James Strachan QC
Band 1
John Steel QC
Band 5
Paul Stinchcombe QC
Band 5
Peter Village QC
Band 3
Richard Harwood QC
Band 2

6 of 17 results