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Northern Ireland

Charles was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2010 and regularly provides advice and representation on matters within or relating to Northern Ireland, particularly in his specialist fields of planning law, environmental law, administrative & public lawpublic procurement law and commercial dispute resolution.

His High Court cases in Northern Ireland (all of which have been against QCs) include:

  • Safe Electricity Armagh and Tyrone Ltd’s application for Judicial Review [2018] NIQB: challenge to the Department for Infrastructure’s grant of planning permission for the Northern Ireland element of the North-South Ireland Electricity Interconnector, the most substantial energy infrastructure project in Northern Ireland in the modern era. The grounds include alleged breaches of EU environmental law and that the Department’s Permanent Secretary did not have vires to issue the decision whilst there remained no ministers in Northern Ireland due to the collapse of the power sharing government. The latter point is of profound constitutional and practical importance in Northern Ireland. (With John Litton QC).
  • Buttercrane Centre Limited’s Application for Judicial Review [2017] NIQB: challenge to planning permission for the extension of The Quays retail centre in Newry, concerning the compatibility with Article 6 ECHR of the ‘promptness’ requirement for JR.

  • Kelvin Properties Limited’s Application for Judicial Review [2016] NIQB: challenge to the Planning Appeal Commission’s refusal of planning permission for a retail development in Coleraine (settled following leave hearing).

  • Darren Crowe’s Application for Judicial Review [2016] NIQB: challenge to the Planning Appeal Commission’s refusal of planning permission for an onshore wind turbine development on the grounds of potential impact on species protected under the EU Habitats Directive (settled following leave hearing).

  • Newry Chamber of Commerce’s Application for Judicial Review [2015] NIQB 65: challenge to planning permission for a large scale retail-led redevelopment, raising issues under the Habitats Directive, EIA Directive and the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (with John Litton QC).

  • Doyle’s Application for Judicial Review [2014] NIQB 82: challenge to the Planning Appeal Commission’s grant of permission for a key element of the University of Ulster’s £300m regeneration scheme in North Belfast, concerning standing for JR in the planning context.

  • Department of Environment’s Application for Judicial Review [2014] NIQB 4: challenge to Planning Appeal Commission’s grant of permission for a large-scale airport car-park in the countryside, concerning the relationship between the different applicable Planning Policy Statements.

Planning inquiries and planning appeal hearings in Northern Ireland (also all against QCs) include:

  • Appearing for the Department for Infrastructure at the two-stage public inquiry into the Northern Ireland element of the proposed North-South Ireland Interconnector, Northern Ireland’s largest infrastructure project in recent years (with John Litton QC).

  • Acting for Derry and Strabane District Council at an inquiry into a proposed 1400 dwelling urban extension on the edge of Derry City.

  • Several planning appeal hearings concerning appeals against enforcement notices served on operators of unauthorised airport car parks in the open countryside near Belfast International airport.

Significant advisory work relating to Northern Ireland includes:

  • Advising the UK Government on the EU law and international trade law implications of Brexit for the all-Ireland Single Electricity Market.

  • Advising the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure on proposed restrictions to salmon fishing in the River Foyle on EU habitats grounds.

  • Advising local planning authorities on planning applications for onshore wind turbine developments.