Morag Ellis > Francis Taylor Building > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Francis Taylor Building
Francis Taylor Building
Morag Ellis photo


Morag Ellis QC is widely recognised as a leading expert in planning and local government law in England and Wales. Areas of practice include: Planning – Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects; urban regeneration schemes; residential, retail and employment development; waste, minerals, wind farms / renewable energy; Development Plans; Conservation Areas / Listed Buildings; Enforcement Town / Village Greens Public Rights of Way / Footpaths Compulsory Purchase / Compensation; Ecclesiastical Law

With her broadly based practice, Morag is well placed to provide strategic advice / representation on all aspects of development projects. Recent examples include:

  • Promoting a new stretch of motorway, the M4 Corridor around Newport, for the Welsh Government (new Welsh environmental legislation, SSSIs, bridging over Port of Newport)
  • Strategic advice to national housebuilders on People over Wind and the implications for NPPF
  • Appearances at Guildford and Runnymede Examinations in Public, promoting release of residential land from the Green Belt
  • Planning appeals and advisory work for Taylor Wimpey throughout England and Wales including St Albans (Oaklands College – Very Special Circumstances in Green Belt), Wokingham, the West Midlands, Peterborough and Cardiff 
  • Planning appeals and advisory work for Pegasus Life later living including sites in the New Forest, Bath and Harpenden (National Park, World Heritage Sites, heritage policy and design, C2/C3)
  • Advising and appearing for Unite in relation to student accommodation projects in major UK cities including hearing against LB Southwark (national, local and London policies for specialist C2 student accommodation) 
  • Ports related elements of promoting Lake Lothing Crossing DCO
  • Conjoined planning appeal and Commons and Public Right of Way diversion inquiry into a quarry proposal (recovery of secondary aggregate) near Pontypool, S Wales (Ancient Woodland, Welsh environmental legislation, need for minerals)
  • Appearing for LB Camden at inquiries concerning Hampstead Heath: Athlone House inquiry and subsequent High Court proceedings (MOL and inappropriate development exceptions in NPPF) and enforcement inquiries concerning North and South Fairground (travelling showpeople’s sites ) 
  • Appearing in the Court of Arches for the parish and LB Tower Hamlets in Christ Church Spitalfields (enforcement in respect of school built in breach of Disused Burial Grounds Act)  
  • Appearing at Town and Village Green inquiries for, amongst others, the Welsh Government ; and chairing such inquiries for Hampshire County Council (statutory incompatibility, disqualifying events, locality and neighbourhood)

Morag is a member of the Silks’ Panel to the Welsh Government and immediate past Chairman of the Planning and Environment Bar Association. She gave evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the National Policy Statement on Ports and the Welsh Government Senedd on the review of TAN 8 (Renewable Energy), as well as being invited to give evidence to the Independent Advisory Group advising the Welsh Government on the reform of planning law, subsequently sitting as a member of the Interim Planning Advisory Group advising the Welsh Minister on changing culture in Welsh Planning.

Morag is highly rated in published guides to the profession. 

Morag is Commissary General of the Diocese of Canterbury and Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Southwark. She is a member of the Archbishops’ Panel of Clergy Discipline Chairs, a member of the Legal Advisory Commission to General Synod, a member of the Rules Committee of General Synod and has recently been appointed as a Church Commissioner.  

Morag is a lay member of the RTPI Disciplinary Appeals Panel.


Called 1984, Gray’s Inn; RICS legal assessor; RTPI Disciplinary Panel member; publications Include Halsbury’s ‘Laws of England’ (public health; sewers and drains); ‘New Town and Village Greens: Harmless t-laypoles or Traps for the Unwary’ JPEL December 2003; and ‘Putting the Boot Into Development Control: A User’s Guide to Recent Case law’ (with Rob Thomas) JPEL June 2005.


PEBA Committee; Ecclesiastical Law Society; Compulsory Purchase Association.


Penrhos College, Colwyn Bay; St Catharine’s College, Cambridge (1983 BA Law; 1986 MA).


Bach Choir, School Governor, Church of England Reader.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Planning

Within: Leading Silks -

Morag Ellis QC

Francis Taylor Building

Her ability to see the bigger picture in among all the detail is fabulous.

With both strength and depth‘, Francis Taylor Building has ‘a comprehensive offer in the planning and infrastructure specialism’. The set includes numerous members of national and devolved government panels, and many instructions concern local plans. In infrastructure, Michael Humphries QC advises Horizon Nuclear Power on the planned construction of two new advanced boiling reactors reactors next to the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power plant at Wylfa, and Morag Ellis QC represented the Welsh Government in the inquiry concerning the proposed diversion of the M4 around Newport. Saira Kabir Sheikh QC represented Westminster City Council in its High Court case concerning New World Payphones’ proposal to install advertising hoardings with telephone facilities under the General Permitted Development Order for telephone boxes. Elsewhere, Melissa Murphy represented the London Borough of Southwark in a planning inquiry concerning a proposal to acquire the notorious Aylesbury Estate by compulsory purchase. Also of note, Michael Fry returned to to the independent Bar from DLA Piper, where he was a senior associate (including secondments to HS2 Ltd).

London Bar > Environment

Within: Leading Silks -

Morag Ellis QC

Francis Taylor Building

A recognised specialist in planning, public and administrative law.