Environment in London Bar
39 Essex Chambers is 'completely dominant in this area of work', according to one client. Another remarks that it is 'consistently brilliant and probably has more strength and depth in the environmental field than any of its competitors'. Members of the set's planning, environment and property group frequently appear in leading cases in the highest courts, both domestically and internationally. Stephen Tromans QC is acting for BP in a challenge by Greenpeace to consents for the Vorlich Field project on climate change grounds, which raises issues of environmental assessment. New silk Richard Wald QC acted for Trinidad’s leading environmental NGO in its challenge to a decision to grant consent for a major highway scheme passing close to a protected savannah. Clients report that the clerks are 'a real strength for the set – proactive, well organised and prompt'.
Francis Taylor Building is 'a planning and environment set with a strong emphasis on planning but also adept in air quality, nuisance and EU law matters'. Its members frequently handle environmental challenges to planning applications and their work covers all aspects of environmental regulation and the crossover between environmental law and land use planning, together with common law and criminal environmental liability. Members are called upon for a broad range of standalone environmental matters, as well as those overlapping with planning and infrastructure matters. Robert Mccracken QC has brought several challenges to grants of planning permission and adoption of air quality policies based on European air quality directives. Increasingly prominent silk James Pereira QC handled high-profile challenges to planning decisions on European environmental grounds concerning the habitats directive. Clients remark that the clerks are 'all excellent and really good to deal with'.
Landmark Chambers has 'great breadth and depth of experience in planning and environmental law'. One client remarks that it is 'rightly one of the top public law sets in the UK, the strength of counsel across the board is impressive and it never fails to deliver a high-quality service'. Members frequently act for government and industry bodies, regulators, corporate clients and private individuals and groups in matters concerning issues as diverse as air quality, access to environmental justice, waste, contaminated land, pollution, climate change, habitats and species protection, nuisance and village greens. David Elvin QC acted for the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in high-profile cases concerning air quality. New silk Tim Buley QC is one to watch. 'The clerks are brilliant to deal with', remarks one client, adding that 'they always have an option should the first choice not be available'.
Blackstone Chambers is 'a leading public law set which is increasingly present in environmental cases', according to one client. Members handle the full range of environmental work, drawing on their skills in public, regulatory, local government, competition, energy, EU, procurement, planning and civil liberties law. A key strand of work has come from the representation of ClientEarth in high-profile matters, including a Supreme Court and European Court of Justice matter concerning air pollution, in which a team including Emma Dixon successfully argued for a declaration that the UK is in breach of EU air quality limits. Juniors Ravi Mehta, who has also represented ClientEarth, and Hanif Mussa, who has represented the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, are also recommended. Clients note that 'the clerks always seem to be on hand to assist and they are very efficient and personable'.
Henderson Chambers has 'a first-rate regulatory offering and exceptional, experienced advocates including a strong group of juniors'. Members are known for their work in health and safety, product liability and environmental matters, including those concerning flooding, noise nuisance and pollution. In the last five years, the set has built an impressive reputation for its work in large-scale environmental group actions, though its members have also played a role in other high-profile regulatory environmental proceedings and in civil claims arising from pollution, particularly in the rail, waste and mining industries. Several members, including Charles Gibson QC, Geraint Webb QC, Prashant Popat QC and Kathleen Donnelly, are defending VW and various group companies against claims arising from the recent emissions scandal. Clients are full of praise for the clerks' room, which is 'always accessible, friendly and willing to accommodate'.
Six Pump Court is 'one of the leading specialist environmental sets in the country for criminal work' and one clients remarks that it is 'an approachable and practical set, whose members will go the extra mile for their clients'. Members handle a broad range of environmental matters, handling cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court, while also representing industry and regulators at public inquiries and statutory appeals. In civil proceedings, members have particular expertise in statutory nuisance and environmental torts. Stephen Hockman QC pursued an application for judicial review of a decision restricting the right to fish for salmon in the River Severn. Specialist environmental regulatory junior Christopher Badger frequently handles high-profile cases on behalf of the Environment Agency. The set is 'excellently organised and very pleasant to deal with and the clerks are efficient and always very helpful'.
Cornerstone Barristers has 'particular expertise in prosecutions for local authorities of environmental offences and planning prosecutions', and clients remark that it is 'an excellent set with strong and well-established teams in planning and environmental law'. Members have significant expertise in environmental matters, particularly those concerning renewable energy development, strategic environmental assessments, environmental impact assessments, and habitats regulations. Its junior ranks are particularly strong and Estelle Dehon is well known for judicial reviews and inquiries challenging fracking, coal mining, oil drilling and gas acidisation projects. Her recent work includes a challenge to the controversial development of four poultry buildings to house more than 1.5 million chickens per year. Clients also remark on the set's 'helpful and responsive set of clerks'.
Matrix Chambers is 'a class act with a vast array of superb barristers who are all at top of their field', according to one client. Another remarks that 'Matrix has always been proud to do things differently, whilst always maintaining quality and professionalism'. A small but highly skilled nucleus of members are specialists in environmental matters, be they domestic, European or international. Some have conducted environmental litigation in international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In recent work of note, the 'superb' David Wolfe QC acted for Friends of the Earth in its successful Court of Appeal challenge to the construction of a third runway at Heathrow airport on climate change grounds. 'Exceptional advocate' Richard Hermer QC has led on many of the large environmental group action claims in recent years; 'solid practitioner' Edward Craven is also noted for his broad international work. Also at the junior end, Kate Cook's previous experience as a lawyer in the former Department of the Environment 'enables her to provide clear and consistently incisive advice'; Zoë Leventhal is described as 'one of the best of her generation'.