The local government prong of this section primarily focusses on issues of governance, powers, and standards in public life – at their most extreme, matters involving proposed mergers of local authorities. This section also includes rating law – the calculation of a property’s value for the purpose of business rates, a vital source of income for local authorities – for both HMRC and ratepayers. Work concerning the provision of services by local authorities such as social housing, education, Court of Protection and community care, and planning law, are covered in their own sections and this table does not seek to duplicate them. Likewise, many counsel ranked in other sections advise local authorities on matters within their areas of expertise.
Local government (including rating law) in London Bar
A 'highly-regarded set with brilliant barristers', members of 11KBW advise local government on the gamut of governance and public law issues. Peter Oldham QC advised Buckinghamshire County Council in litigation concerning the county's transition to a unitary authority, while Jen Coyne assisted two of the districts on the same matter. Andrew Sharland QC represented Leicester City Council in litigation concerning the compliance of non-binding resolution to boycott goods from Israeli settlements with its public sector equality duty. Unled, Tom Cross advised Gedling Borough Council concerning whether a Conservative councillor, who stole a European Union flag from anti-Brexit demonstrators, did so in his official capacity.
Cornerstone Barristers is 'a great set to work with and has the range of barristers to cover the whole local government spectrum', with areas of expertise including local governance, public space protection orders and matters at the intersection of local government powers and social housing. Ranjit Bhose QC and Kuljit Bhogal represented the defendant in Dulgheriu v Ealing LBC concerning the council's imposition of a public spaces protection order to mitigate an anti-abortion picket of the Marie Stopes West London Centre; Bhose QC also represented the claimants in RB Kingston upon Thames v Moss, concerning the terms on which local authorities supply water to secure tenants. Robin Green represented Britwell Parish Council in a challenge to Slough Borough Council's decision to abolish it. Matthew Lewin has a niche practice in local government standards work, and also represented the defendant in Panton v Denchworth Parish Trustees, a case over the ownership of a village hall concluded by the Chancery division issuing Extended Civil Restraint Orders against the parish's former chairman and treasurer.
In addition to a number of matters concerning the powers of local authorities (often crossing over with chambers planning expertise), Landmark Chambers is active in many of the leading cases surrounding rating law. Numerous members of chambers were involved in the Cardtronics v Sykes Supreme Court case concerning the treatment of cash points in shops: Dan Kolinsky QC and Luke Wilcox who represented the ratepayer, Timothy Mould QC and Guy Williams who appeared for Tesco and the Co-operative Group, and Richard Drabble QC for Sainsbury's were pitted against Tim Morshead QC and Galina Ward for HMRC. In addition, David Forsdick QC represented the owner of a building occupied by property guardians pending demolition, which was found to be liable for domestic council tax, not business rates, in Ludgate House v Ricketts and Southwark LBC; unled, Williams represented HMRC in an upper tribunal case concerning the Home Office building on Marsham Street.
Joint head of a set that handles a range of matters concerning local government powers and governance, 4-5 Gray's Inn Square's Timothy Straker QC conducted an investigation for Devon County Council into a former council leader who was accused of sexual assaults taking place over a decade ago. Elsewhere, Jonathan Manning advised Birmingham City Council on obtaining a Local Government Act injunction against "boy racers", resisting an attempt to set it aside on the basis that a public space protection order should have been issued instead.
Francis Taylor Building is 'great for business rates matters, with a width breadth of counsel in this area'. Richard Glover QC and Cain Ormondroyd represented the taxpayer in Supreme Court case Telereal Trillium v Hewitt, a matter concerning the valuation of properties which cannot find tenants, while Sarah Sackman represented the valuation officer in a case concerning if the rateable value of the DW Stadium declined when Wigan Athletic were relegated to League One.