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AREAS OF PRACTICE 

(1) PROPERTY

Riparian Law. Watercourses

Christopher specialises in Water Courses and Riparian rights cases. He acted for the Respondent in Port of London Authority v Mendoza [2017] UKUT 146 (TCC), in which it was held that whilst an act of mooring a boat was insufficient, by itself, to evidence an intention by the boat owner to take adverse possession of the river bed beneath the boat, it was possible to acquire title through adverse possession to the bed of a river that was subject to public navigation rights. The case has a pending application in the Court of Appeal.  

In 2015 he represented the successful Respondent in the Property Tribunal in a dispute with the Port of London Authority over whether PLA was entitled to register land above Mean High Water on the Thames riverbank, Morlandia v PLA.

Christopher has recently advised Canal Trusts, owners of beaches and sea front land and local authorities in relation to proceedings concerning property rights. He is concerned in cases involving boundary dispute issues in relation to riparian land.

Disputes relating to Trusts

Christopher is instructed as counsel for the Respondent in Constandas v Lysandrou, which concerns the scope of Stack v Dowden in a case concerning a resulting trust in a property ownership dispute, where a trial judge determined the issue with reference to the burden of proof. The appeal is listed to be heard in the Court of Appeal in the new year. 

Other Areas

Christopher has recently advised and acted in cases in the following areas of property law:

  •          Rights to light and reservations of a right to build.
  •          Mortgage repossession
  •          Forfeiture of Leases
  •          Boundary disputes

Christopher’s reported property cases include Ofulue v Bossert [2009] 2 WLR 749 (House of Lords, adverse possession, acknowledgment of title) and Broomleigh Housing Association Ltd v Okonkwo [2011] C.P. Rep. 4 [2010], EWCA Civ 1113 (Civil procedure - Enforcement of costs orders after possession proceedings - making of a committal order under CPR r.71.8).

(2) PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT

Christopher is a member of PEBA. His planning practice includes representation of Claimants in applications for judicial review against grants of planning permission and section 288 challenges against decisions of Inspectors.

Compulsory Purchase

Christopher has advised widely on matters relating to compulsory purchase and compensation.

Urban Regeneration

Christopher has appeared in a number of inquiries, most notably acting for the successful objectors in the Aylesbury Estate CPO public inquiry. Following a judicial review by Southwark Council against the Secretary of State’s refusal to confirm the CPO, a second inquiry is listed for January 2018.  

Judicial Review

Christopher acted for the successful Claimant in R. (on the application of Seventeen De Vere Gardens (Management) Ltd) v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2016] EWHC 2869 (Admin) in which a Local Planning Authority decision to decline to determine a planning application under section 70C Town and Country Planning Act 1990 quashed.   

Christopher acted for the successful claimant in a judicial review of LB Hackney's decision to grant planning permission in relation to a development which concerned the application of BRE guidelines to a children's playground, R (on the application of Watt) v Hackney LBC [2016] ACD 115.

Christopher represented the successful claimant in Venn v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWHC 3546 (Admin); [2014] J.P.L. 447; in which the court exercised its inherent jurisdiction and granted a protective costs order to the claimant on her application to quash a grant of planning permission to build a new house in the garden of a property. Such a claim raised "environmental matters" within the scope of the Aarhus Convention 2001.

Christopher subsequently acted as junior counsel in the Secretary of State’s appeal against that decision  (with Richard Drabble QC) -  SSCLG v Venn [2015] 1 W.L.R. 2328 [2015] C.P. Rep. 12  [2015] 1 C.M.L.R. 52  [2015] Env. L.R. 14  [2015] J.P.L. 573  [2014] EWCA Civ 1539, in which the Court of Appeal recognised that the costs regime under 45.41 was “systematically flawed in terms of Aarhus compliance”. 

Enforcement

Christopher has acted in a number of appeals and inquiries relating to enforcement of planning control. 

Other notable Cases

Christopher acted for a developer in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the meaning of reserved matters in outline applications for planning permission, Crystal Property Limited v SSCLG  [2016] EWCA Civ 1265.

In October 2011 Christopher represented the travellers at the Dale Farm site in Basildon in proceedings in the Administrative Court and in the Court of Appeal - R (on the application of Sheridan & others) v Basildon District Council [2011] EWHC 2938 (Admin) in relation to a judicial review of enforcement action and rights of children.

(3) PUBLIC LAW

Immigration

Supreme Court, House of Lords and Court of Appeal cases

Christopher is currently instructed as leading counsel in Roszkowski v SSHD, in which the Court of Appeal is to examine the lawful scope of statutory provisions enabling the Secretary of State for the Home Department to withhold consent to release immigration detainees after a grant of bail by the First Tier Tribunal. The appeal is listed for hearing in October 2017.

Christopher acted as leading counsel for the successful respondent in the Court of Appeal in MSM (Somalia) v SSHD[2016] EWCA Civ 715, which concerned whether the principle in HJ (Iran) applies in cases where a fear of persecution arises from imputed political opinion.

Recent cases include R. (on the application of BB (Algeria)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 25 ( effect of qualifying for leave under old immigration rules in non transitional cases after new rules came into effect) and R. (on the application of Zermani) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWHC 1226 (Admin) (effect of UE (Nigeria) principle on Art 8 cases outside the rules).

Christopher was counsel for one of the Appellants in the Court of Appeal in Gurung & others v SSHD [2013] 1 W.L.R. 2546,  [2013] I.N.L.R. 634, [2013] EWCA Civ 8, in which a number of dependent children of members of Her Majesty’s Brigade of Gurkhas were successful in appealing against decisions to refuse them entry to the United Kingdom in line with their parents. Christopher acted for the same Appellant, who succeeded in his remitted appeal in the Upper Tribunal, Ghising and others (Ghurkhas/BOCs: historic wrong; weight) [2013] UKUT 00567 (IAC).

Christopher has appeared as junior counsel in the House of Lords and Supreme Court on eight occasions including DD v SSHD [2012] UKSC 54; [2012] 3 W.L.R. 1263; in relation to Article 1F(C) of the Refugee Convention and international armed conflicts and Quila and others v SSHD [2011] UKSC 45, [2011] 3 WLR 836 (raising age limit for sponsoring spouse visa applications from 18 to 21).

Unlawful Detention

Christopher has acted in a number of unlawful detention cases in the Administrative Court and Queen’s Bench Division. In 2012 Christopher acted in R (Lamari) v SSHD [2012] EWHC 1895 (Admin), in which the Secretary of State for the Home Department was held to have acted in contempt of court in refusing to release an immigration detainee, after having given an undertaking to do so. Christopher acted in for the same Claimant in the Queen’s Bench Division, [2013] EWHC 3130 (QB), and obtained an award of exemplary damages against the Secretary of State. 

Country Guidance

Christopher has acted in a number of Country Guidance cases, including : PM and Others (Kabul – Hizb-i-Islami) Afghanistan CG [2007] UKAIT 00089; NM (Christian Converts) Afghanistan CG [2009] UKAIT 00045; BK (Failed asylum seekers) Democratic Republic of Congo CG [2007] UKAIT00098; IN (Draft evaders – evidence of risk) Eritrea CG [2005]UKIAT 00106; FD (Protection – UNMIK – Arif – IFA – Art1D) Kosovo CG * [2000] UKIAT 00001; HGMO (Relocation to Khartoum) Sudan CG [2006] UKAIT 00062 and MM (Darfuris) Sudan CG [2015] UKUT 00010.

Regulatory Judicial Review

Christopher acted for the Traveller Movement in a judicial review action against Ofcom which was heard in the Administrative Court in November 2014, Traveller Movement v Ofcom [2015] EWHC (Admin).

Christopher has acted for doctors in complaints against the General Medical Council concerning registration and in judicial review proceedings and NHSLA damages claims concerning termination of PMS contracts.