David Elvin KC > Chambers of David Holland KC and Reuben Taylor KC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of David Holland KC and Reuben Taylor KC
Landmark Chambers


David Elvin QC was called to the Bar in 1983 and took silk in 2000 and is called to the Bar of Northern Ireland. He is a bencher and member of the Middle Temple and a member of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. He was awarded the Bar Prize for Finance, Commerce & Industry in 1982. He was named as the Silk of the Year 2008 in Environment and Planning at the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards and has been nominated on several other occasions.

He specialises in planning, environmental and public law (including most aspects of local government, highways, compulsory purchase & compensation) as well as property related matters and the human rights and European Union law aspects of those areas of practice.

David appears frequently in court and at inquiries at all levels and before many different tribunals. During his time as Treasury counsel, he appeared in many planning and public law cases and acted for a wide range of government departments and bodies. Since taking silk he has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice. He has also appeared on judicial reviews in the High Court and Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland and is acting in the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong.

He is regularly listed as a leading specialist in a number of fields in the main directories including the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners (where he is named as a leader in 6 practice areas and in 2016 as a star individual in Planning).

Recent work has including a wide variety of significant planning, environmental and compulsory purchase cases. Recent CPO work has included town centre regeneration schemes most recently promoting the Croydon Whitgift Centre CPO (confirmed in September 2015) and the Mayor of London’s first CPO at Ealing Southall (to facilitate a large housing development). His work in that context includes issues concerning best value, EU state aid and procurement: see R. (Gottlieb) v Winchester City Council [2015] EWHC 231 (Admin).

Earlier regeneration work has included promoting the Liverpool One Scheme and the Winchester Silver Hill CPO Scheme 2012 as well as successfully opposing Manchester’s CPO of the former London Road Fire Station. Major infrastructure work has included promoting the Crossrail Bill in Parliament for DfT as well as opposing the HS2 scheme (both in the Courts and in Select Committee), acting and advising on DCO matters (including Covanta’s Brig y Cwm scheme, Hinckley Point C, the Thames Tideway Tunnel, the M4), advising on the Mayor’s proposed Thames Estuary Airport, Gatwick and at the recent George Best Belfast City Airport inquiry into noise restrictions. He is also experienced in waste issues having acted in a number of waste and energy from waste projects including the successful defence of the Calvert EfW plant for Bucks County Council in 2013 (Prideaux [2013] Env. L.R. 32) and of the South London facility at Beddington (R. (Khan) v Sutton LBC[2014] EWHC 3663 (Admin)). In addition to CPO and regeneration work, David also undertakes compensation work including in respect of electricity wayleaves: see Arnold White Estates Ltd v National Grid Electricity Transmission Plc [2014] Ch. 385 and Stynes v. Western Power [2014] R.V.R. 15. He is due to appear in the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong in CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd. v. Commissioner of Rating and Valuation in January 2016.

David has also continued to advise and act frequently on other environmental issues including EIA, SEA and habitats in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: For example, in 2013 he acted for the NI DOE in relation to proposals near the Giant’s Causeway (JR by the National Trust) and for the NI Department of Regional Development in the Alternative A5 Action Alliance’s Application for Judicial Review [2013] NIQB 30 and, most recently, in successfully defending DOE’s decision on habitats and EIA grounds in Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade’s Application for Judicial Review [2015] NIQB 65. He is currently advising on the enforcement action and judicial review concerning habitats issues arising from sand dredging at Lough Neagh. He continues to act for the horse racing industry in opposing housing development in Newmarket (most recent inquiry in 2015) following the quashing of the local housing policies in Save Historic Newmarket [2011] J.P.L. 1233. In the Court of Appeal David has recently appeared in Ashdown Forest Economic Development LLP [2015] EWCA Civ 681 where be obtained the quashing of part of the authority’s core strategy for breach of SEA requirements and in R. (Larkfleet Homes Ltd) v Rutland CC [2015] EWCA Civ 597 where the Court considered the relationship of neighbourhood plans to the general development plan statutory framework and SEA. In Savage v. Mansfield DC [2015] EWCA Civ 4 David successfully defended on appeal the dismissal of a judicial review relating the effect of a draft proposal to extend the Sherwood Forest SPA. He is also advising on the interaction of CIL, habitats issues and biodiversity offsetting.

David’s current work also includes acting for the City of London Corporation and LB of Southwark with regard to their disputes with TfL over the transfer of London highways at arbitration and at an appeal hearing in the Chancery Division (October 2015), for the City of London concerning the proposals to undertake safety works to the ponds on Hampstead Heath (R. (Heath & Hampstead Society) v City of London [2015] P.T.S.R. 987) and for TfL on Crichel Down issues.

David is also Chairman of the St Paul’s Covent Garden Millennium Trust.


From 1991 to 2000, David was one of the Treasury counsel having served as a member of what is now the “A” Panel of Treasury Counsel from 1995 until taking silk in 2000.

Appointed a recorder in 2001, in May 2008 he was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division including the Administrative Court. December 2008 saw David appointed as a member of the Boundary Commission for England with effect from 12 January 2009. In 2000 he was appointed as an Assistant Boundary Commissioner in 2000 and had conducted an inquiry into, and reported on, the East London Parliamentary constituencies in 2001-2. He also sits as an arbitrator and is a qualified ADR Group Accredited Mediator.


David Elvin received a BA (First Class) in Jurisprudence (1981) and a BCL (1982) from Hertford College, Oxford.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Planning

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

David Elvin KC – Landmark Chambers  ‘David’s particular strengths are his advocacy skills. One knows when instructing him that one has an excellent advocate on their team who can be relied on to deliver a first rate service for the client. He delivers incredibly clear, concise and commercial; advice. He is incredibly bright but also down to earth and a joy to work with.’

Pre-eminent planning setLandmark Chambers is home to an ‘unrivalled breadth of talent’ as exhibited by its ‘highly impressive’ clerks, ‘heavyweight silks with outstanding capabilities’, and skilled junior barristers. The members display ‘great strength in depth’ across all areas of planning law, featuring heavily in significant inquiries, and promoting new towns and urban extensions in addition to mixed-use developments across the country. In the past year, Dan Kolinsky KC represented LB Southwark in R (Flynn) v LB Southwark, successfully defending the challenge against a major regeneration project to replace the Elephant & Castle shopping centre at first instance and in the Court of Appeal. David Elvin KC represented Raycliff Whitechapel in the Whitechapel Bell Foundry call-in inquiry, which involved consideration of heritage benefits contrasted with harms regarding the restoration and refurbishment proposals for the former bell foundry. Anjoli Foster  successfully represented Brighton and Hove CC in the Brighton Marina inquiry which concerned the opposition to a major redevelopment, whilst Matthew Fraser represented the Whitstable Oyster Company in their appeal against an enforcement notice requiring the removal of metal trestles for oyster cultivation.

London Bar > Environment

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

David Elvin KCLandmark Chambers ‘An excellent advocate and extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of local government law and powers.’

Probably the best set in this area in terms of breadth and depth’, Landmark Chambers has ‘a large range of top planning, public and environmental lawyers providing solid service’. Its members are ‘very good for environmental law with a lot of very able and experienced practitioners, and the set deserves its reputation as a top-tier chambers’. Members frequently act for government entities, regulators, industry, corporates, private individuals and groups on matters concerning air quality, access to environmental justice, waste, contaminated land, pollution, climate change, emissions trading, environmental permitting and regulation and a host of other issues. David Elvin KC is among the most prominent and experienced silks in this field of law, and James Maurici KC, who is currently handling a group litigation case concerning claims for a terrorist-caused oil spill in Colombia, is also a standout silk. Prominent junior Richard Moules successfully represented the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in a case concerning the scope of environmental impact assessment of fossil fuel extraction projects.