Jonathan Clay > Cornerstone Barristers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Cornerstone Barristers

Work Department

Planning; environment; judicial review.


Jonathan’s practice covers all aspects of planning and environmental control, housing, renewable energy, large-scale infrastructure projects and village greens, as well as housing, commercial and retail development schemes.

His practice involves appearances in the High Court and Court of Appeal and at major public inquiries. Recent cases include Suffolk Coastal v Hopkins Homes [2017] (SC) on the meaning of the NPPF, NHS Properties v Surrey CC [2018] (CA) on village greens and statutory incompatibility (awaiting permission to appeal to the SC).

Major development projects include Amex Stadium, Brighton, where he represented Brighton and Hove Albion F.C. at inquiry and in the courts and, more recently, a scheme for the major regeneration of Bognor Regis where he acted for the successful appellant. His recent success in appeals at Eden Park housing development secured two planning permissions for major housing development on open land in Bromley. He works for both appellants and authorities in housing, commercial and industrial development appeals and has advised on content and soundness of local plans and on housing land supply issues and appeared at several local plan EIPs.


Called 1990, Lincoln’s Inn. Taught physics in a London comprehensive school for four years before working in local government. His law degree was achieved working part time in the evenings and weekend while working full time. He decided to read for the Bar and practised in common law and crime initially; turning to planning and environmental work as his career progressed.




Planning and Environmental Bar Association(PEBA); Pro Bono Unit; UK Environmental Lawyers Association (UKELA); National Infrastructure Planning Association NIPA).


University College Bangor, Wales (1978 BSc); Bath University (1980 PGCE); Polytechnic of Central London (1989 LLB Hons).


Music; walking; good food; good company.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Planning

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 2

Jonathan Clay  – Cornerstone Barristers ‘Jonathan has a great strength in being able to look past the details at the overall goal and then to re-examine those minutiae to achieve the desired result. He also has an exceptional ability to lead a team from within, with his friendly and approachable manner.’

London Bar > Environment

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 4

Jonathan ClayCornerstone Barristers ‘He has an excellent manner with clients, his advice is clear concise and explained in a direct way which is understood by lay clients.’

Cornerstone Barristers is ‘a good planning set, one of the strongest in this area and is particularly well-known for doing local authority work’. One client remarks that ‘there is strength and depth in the environmental team; with good experience across a range of high-profile and leading High Court claimant cases’. Members frequently handle matters involving green belt and countryside issues, the historic environment, fracking, energy and renewables, habitats and species protection, and waste. New silk Estelle Dehon KC is ‘well-known to be one of the leading counsel on climate cases, with an an astounding breadth of knowledge and handle of the detail’. In R (Finch & Weald Action Group) v Surrey County Council & Horse Hill Developments Ltd, she is handling the first climate-based judicial review challenge to a grant of permission for commercial oil production. Experienced junior Jonathan Clay is adept in town and country planning matters.