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Alistair’s areas of practice are planning and environmental law, and public law.  In 2017 he was appointed to the Attorney General’s Civil Panel of Counsel: C Panel.  

Planning and Environmental Law 

Alistair represents clients in planning matters, both in court and before inspectors.  He provides a broad range of advice.  He is instructed by private developers, objectors, central and local government.

Alistair has appeared un-led in the Court of Appeal, for the successful developer in Jones v Mordue [2016] 1 WLR 2682.  The Secretary of State having dropped out, Alistair’s client appealed to the Court of Appeal against the quashing of planning permission granted for a wind turbine.  The case raises important issues regarding s.66(1) of the Listed Buildings Act 1990, and the Barnwell Manor judgment.  

Alistair has substantial experience of High Court planning challenges:

  • R (West Berks DC and Reading BC) v SSCLG [2015] EWHC 2222 (Admin), a highly significant decision in which Holgate J found national planning policy in relation to affordable housing contributions to be unlawful, led by David Forsdick QC. The claim was successful on four grounds. The Secretary of State appeal has been heard by the Court of Appeal (Lord Dyson MR, Laws and Treacy LJJ); judgment is awaited.
  • Redhill Aerodrome Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment [2015] PTSR 274, a major decision concerning the interpretation of one of the paragraphs of the NPPF. Alistair was led by Christopher Katkowski QC in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
  • R (Smech Properties Ltd) v Runnymede Borough Council [2016] EWCA Civ 42), another planning challenge in the context of the Green Belt. Alistair was led in the Court of Appeal by James Maurici QC and in the High Court ([2015] EWHC 823 (Admin)) led by Christopher Katkowski QC.
  • R (Dunnett Investments Ltd) v SSCLG [2017] EWCA Civ 192, concerning the interpretation of conditions and exclusion of the GPDO by condition, led by Christopher Katkowski QC.

Alistair has experience of the NSIP regime, having been instructed by a local authority objecting to the Navitus Bay offshore windfarm proposal. He appeared at an issue-specific hearing (led by Reuben Taylor QC).  The Secretary of State rejected the application for a DCO.

Alistair has experience of appeals to the Secretary of State:

  • Instructed by the local planning authority in a three-day inquiry in relation to proposed residential development in proximity to a pig farm, raising issues of potential odour.
  • Instructed by the local planning authority at very short notice in a two-day inquiry in relation to proposed residential development, which raised transport and planning matters.
  • Instructed by the local planning authority in a call-in application concerning a major redevelopment at the heart of Central Milton Keynes, which raised issues concerning heritage harm and neighbourhood planning (led by David Elvin QC).
  • A hearing seeking demolition of a dilapidated listed glasshouse, raising heritage issues.
  • Appealing a refusal of planning permission by a local authority for an agricultural worker’s dwelling.
  • Representing an appellant at an enforcement hearing concerning change of use to residential use.

Alistair has also represented a local authority in relation to an inquiry concerning the conversion of a footpath to a cycle track under the Cycle Tracks Act 1984.

Alistair is the editor of a Digest of Decisions on the NPPF, available online here.

He is also an Assistant Editor of the Planning Encyclopedia. 

Public Law 

In the field of public law, Alistair has a broad range of experience:

  • He appeared for one of the successful challengers to decisions refusing exceptional case funding under s.10 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012: R (Gudanaviciene and others) v Director of Legal Aid Casework [2014] EWHC 1840 (Admin), led by Tim Buley, and in the Court of Appeal (led by Richard Drabble QC and Tim Buley), [2015] 1 WLR 2247.
  • Alistair appeared in IG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKUT 176 (AAC), a case concerning the competent state for the payment of benefits and EU Regulation 883/2004.
  • He has appeared successfully in the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) led by Zoe Leventhal in ST, GF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (ESA) [2014] UKUT 547 (AAC).
  • Zoe also led Alistair in a successful intervention on behalf of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust in C v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] EWHC 1607 (Admin), a high-profile challenge concerning delays in the assessment of claimants’ entitlement to Personal Independence Payment.
  • Alistair appeared for the local authority in Ogunseye v LB Newham [2015] RVR 58, an assessment of disturbance payment due under the Land Compensation Act 1973, s. 38(1)(a).
  • Appearing unled for the appellant HR in the Iranian country guidance case SSH and HR v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKUT 308 IAC.

He has appeared in the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and the Upper Tribunal, and has experience of a wide range of immigration matters. He is frequently instructed by the Home Office in resisting oral permission hearings in immigration judicial reviews in the Upper Tribunal.

Alistair is an External College Lecturer in Law at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and has taught Administrative Law since 2010. 

Alistair is the Assistant Editor of the journal Judicial Review.

He was awarded Oxford University’s prestigious Eldon Law Scholarship in 2011.