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Cornerstone Barristers

Living Wage Living Wage
Work 020 7242 4986
Fax 020 7405 1166
Birmingham, Cardiff, London

James Findlay QC

Work 020 7242 4986
Cornerstone Barristers (Cornerstone Barristers)

Work Department

Planning and environment; licensing; local government law.


Specialist in planning and environment, compulsory purchase, licensing and local government law in both England & Wales and Scotland.  Also undertakes a wide range of contract/commercial work.

In last 10 years Supreme Court cases include Multilink Leisure Developments v North Lanarkshire Council (lease interpretation), Morge v Hampshire (resisting interim relief application), Welwyn Hatfield v SOSCLG (deceit and planning), Tesco Stores Ltd v Dundee City Council (interpretation of policy and sequential test), Uprichard v Scottish Ministers (local plan challenge) and Trump v Scottish Ministers (implied conditions). Numerous other related Court cases in both jurisdictions.

Likewise numerous planning inquiries, including recent significant experience in windfarms, waste to energy facilities and acted for Guildford Borough Council promoting its local plan.

Licensing work at all levels in both jurisdictions.

James advises on all aspects of local authority law, including governance, elections, highways and procurement.


Called England and Wales 1984; Queen’s Council (England and Wales) 2008; admitted Scotland 2008; Joint Head of Chambers (Cornerstone Barristers) 2011-14; Standing Junior to Scottish Ministers (2013); Chair of Scottish Planning Local Government and Environmental Bar Group 2015.


Planning and Environment Bar Association (PEBA); Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA); National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA); UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA).


Magdalene College, Cambridge.

London Bar

Administrative and public law (including local government)

Within: Leading Silks

James Findlay QC - Cornerstone Barristers ‘ A go-to silk for the public law issues that require that extra bit of thought. ’

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Within: Leading Silks

James Findlay QC - Cornerstone Barristers ‘ A recognised expert in matters involving the development of windfarms. ’

Within: Environment

Cornerstone Barristers is 'excellent on enforcement issues and has a wide variety of knowledgeable barristers suitable for a range of circumstances', notes one client. Another remarks that the set 'always provides exceptional service and appropriate levels of expertise'. Chambers is also noted for its 'friendly and approachable clerks who are always willing to assist'. Members have significant expertise in environmental law, particularly in the area of renewable energy development and related High Court challenges, often in tandem with their planning and public law practices. James Findlay QC handled a full day objection before the House of Commons Select Committee on behalf of the NFU on compensation and compulsory purchase issues along the line of the HS2a development. Estelle Dehon acted for the applicant in the leading case on the application of environmental impact assessment to fracking, Frackman v SSCLG and Cuadrilla, in the Court of Appeal.

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Within: Leading Silks

James Findlay QC - Cornerstone Barristers ‘ Highly rated. ’

Within: Licensing

Cornerstone Barristers is considered to be 'home to the leading licensing silk' – head of chambers Philip Kolvin QC whose work includes a range of cases for Uber. He also acted for Haringey LB in R (Friends of Finsbury Park) v London Borough of Haringey in a case before the Court of Appeal over a challenge to councils allowing major festivals in parks. The set's members act for licensing authorities, national regulators, the police, industry operators, and community groups. James Findlay QC advises on areas including gambling (casinos and betting), taxi and private hire licensing as part of his broad public law practice and has advised a private hire company on a potential judicial review of a decision to refuse to license a base outside of London. Meanwhile, Ranjit Bhose QC is advising the dance music festival, We Are Festvl, on obtaining the grant of a long-term licence to operate an annual event.

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Within: Leading Silks

James Findlay QC - Cornerstone Barristers ‘ Exceptionally intelligent and logical, but at the same time excellent with clients. ’

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