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David Elvin QC was called to the Bar in 1983 and took silk in 2000 and is called to the Bar of Northern Ireland. He is a bencher and member of the Middle Temple and a member of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. He was awarded the Bar Prize for Finance, Commerce & Industry in 1982. He was named as the Silk of the Year 2008 in Environment and Planning at the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards and has been nominated on several other occasions.

He specialises in planning, environmental and public law (including most aspects of local government, highways, compulsory purchase & compensation) as well as property related matters and the human rights and European Union law aspects of those areas of practice.

David appears frequently in court and at inquiries at all levels and before many different tribunals. During his time as Treasury counsel, he appeared in many planning and public law cases and acted for a wide range of government departments and bodies. Since taking silk he has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice. He has also appeared on judicial reviews in the High Court and Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland and is acting in the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong.

He is regularly listed as a leading specialist in a number of fields in the main directories including the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners Directory (where he is named as a leader in 6 practice areas and in 2016 as a star individual in Planning). Recent comments from Chambers & Partners Directory and The Legal 500 include:

"He is first-rate when it comes to inquiry work and High Court and Court of Appeal litigation. He is a very good advocate who is very articulate and has a very incisive mind. He can cut through legislation and provide a sensible answer." [2016]

“A true environmental law specialist, who has a varied, top end practice in this area. He is trusted by large corporate clients and the government to lead on high stakes judicial reviews and litigation. Waste cases prove a particular specialism for him… “He is a giant of the Environmental Bar." "He's good to use when you have a heavyweight issue and need to get something resolved quickly.” [2016]

"Has a nice court style and produces clear submissions with humour mixed in. The court listens to him and he can turn a case around.” [2016]

“”He's incredibly bright and there's no one better than him in understanding complex points”. "He's incredibly clever and incredibly hard-working. We call him two brains because he can do two things at once.” [2016]

 “Said to "ooze brain power," David Elvin QC is feared by his opponents in any contentious planning matter. A real client favourite, he is "great in front of judges" and a man who gets results. Also a member of the Northern Ireland Bar and someone with experience of the European courts, he is a well-travelled barrister whose excellent reputation is well known far and wide.” [2012]

“…widely acclaimed by market sources is leading light David Elvin QC, "someone to go to if you want the very best advice." A "veritable force of nature," he brings great skill and drive to a practice heavy on planning and environmental law cases.” [2012]

“David Elvin QC is widely regarded as a true asset to the set. “He's compelling, persuasive and brilliant at strategy - I always come away feeling that I've learnt something very useful," declares one client. His expertise in environmental and public law serves him extremely well here.” [2010]

"The focused and fearsomely intelligent David Elvin QC, a figure tremendously respected by the market." [2009]

"The phenomenally hard-working David Elvin QC has an excellent head on his shoulders. One client reported: Whenever we need a heavyweight opinion we go to him – he’s just supreme." [2008]

“Elvin’s colourful, enormous character, formidable intellect and combative style combine to make him one of the finest parliamentary and planning lawyers of his generation someone you definitely want on your side. He has risen to the very top in other chosen areas such as environmental, local government and contentious property law. Solicitors revealed that they instruct Elvin for his killer instinct, wonderful courtroom manner and ability to understand and evaluate complex and technical information the winning formula for success in these highly specialised areas of practice..." [2007] 

Recent work has including a wide variety of significant planning, environmental and compulsory purchase cases. Recent CPO work has included town centre regeneration schemes most recently promoting the Croydon Whitgift Centre CPO (confirmed in September 2015) and the Mayor of London’s first CPO at Ealing Southall (to facilitate a large housing development). His work in that context includes issues concerning best value, EU state aid and procurement: see R. (Gottlieb) v Winchester City Council [2015] EWHC 231 (Admin).

Earlier regeneration work has included promoting the Liverpool One Scheme and the Winchester Silver Hill CPO Scheme 2012 as well as successfully opposing Manchester’s CPO of the former London Road Fire Station. Major infrastructure work has included promoting the Crossrail Bill in Parliament for DfT as well as opposing the HS2 scheme (both in the Courts and in Select Committee), acting and advising on DCO matters (including Covanta’s Brig y Cwm scheme, Hinckley Point C, the Thames Tideway Tunnel, the M4), advising on the Mayor’s proposed Thames Estuary Airport, Gatwick and at the recent George Best Belfast City Airport inquiry into noise restrictions. He is also experienced in waste issues having acted in a number of waste and energy from waste projects including the successful defence of the Calvert EfW plant for Bucks County Council in 2013 (Prideaux [2013] Env. L.R. 32) and of the South London facility at Beddington (R. (Khan) v Sutton LBC [2014] EWHC 3663 (Admin)). In addition to CPO and regeneration work, David also undertakes compensation work including in respect of electricity wayleaves: see Arnold White Estates Ltd v National Grid Electricity Transmission Plc [2014] Ch. 385 and Stynes v. Western Power [2014] R.V.R. 15. He is due to appear in the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong in CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd. v. Commissioner of Rating and Valuation in January 2016.

David has also continued to advise and act frequently on other environmental issues including EIA, SEA and habitats in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: For example, in 2013 he acted for the NI DOE in relation to proposals near the Giant’s Causeway (JR by the National Trust) and for the NI Department of Regional Development in the Alternative A5 Action Alliance’s Application for Judicial Review [2013] NIQB 30 and, most recently, in successfully defending DOE’s decision on habitats and EIA grounds in Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade's Application for Judicial Review [2015] NIQB 65. He is currently advising on the enforcement action and judicial review concerning habitats issues arising from sand dredging at Lough Neagh. He continues to act for the horse racing industry in opposing housing development in Newmarket (most recent inquiry in 2015) following the quashing of the local housing policies in Save Historic Newmarket [2011] J.P.L. 1233. In the Court of Appeal David has recently appeared in Ashdown Forest Economic Development LLP [2015] EWCA Civ 681 where be obtained the quashing of part of the authority’s core strategy for breach of SEA requirements and in R. (Larkfleet Homes Ltd) v Rutland CC [2015] EWCA Civ 597 where the Court considered the relationship of neighbourhood plans to the general development plan statutory framework and SEA. In Savage v. Mansfield DC [2015] EWCA Civ 4 David successfully defended on appeal the dismissal of a judicial review relating the effect of a draft proposal to extend the Sherwood Forest SPA. He is also advising on the interaction of CIL, habitats issues and biodiversity offsetting.

David’s current work also includes acting for the City of London Corporation and LB of Southwark with regard to their disputes with TfL over the transfer of London highways at arbitration and at an appeal hearing in the Chancery Division (October 2015), for the City of London concerning the proposals to undertake safety works to the ponds on Hampstead Heath (R. (Heath & Hampstead Society) v City of London [2015] P.T.S.R. 987) and for TfL on Crichel Down issues.

David is also Chairman of the St Paul's Covent Garden Millennium Trust.

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