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David took silk in 2014 having been on the A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown since 2005. He specialises in environmental, planning, local authority and public law. In 2016 his primarily Court based practice featured a number of leading cases in the Court of Appeal and he was shortlisted for the 2016 Chambers UK Environment and Planning Silk of the Year.

David’s clients include major players in his areas of expertise:

  • Central Government (including DEFRA, DCLG, HMRC, the HSE, the Environment Agency and Natural England);
  • Local Government (including Westminster, Tower Hamlets, the City of London, the GLA, Islington, Trafford, Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire, Bristol and BANES);
  • Major landowners and developers; and
  • NGOs (including the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts).

Environmental Law

David’s practice covers the full range of environmental law issues, often raising novel and important legal points and requiring detailed consideration of complex scientific material. 

Recommendations: C&P 2016 – “hugely impressive… presented the case really forcefully and clearly to the Court. He really focused on the key issues”; C&P 2015 - “thorough, detailed, bright and pleasant to deal with”; C&P 2014 – “he as a strong reputation amongst his peers at the Bar who note his abilities as a cross-examiner and his excellent command of detail.” Who’s Who 2016: “a definite inclusion in any list”. Who’s Who 2015 “a fantastic talent”.

Recent important cases include:  R (Holiday Extra) v Crawley BC [2016] EWHC 3247 (Admin) (SEA of airport parking at Gatwick); R (Birchall Gardens) v. Hertfordshire County Council [2016] EWHC 2794 (Admin) (EIA screening opinions and reasons for major waste facility); R (Seoint Anglers) v. Natural Resources Wales [2017] Env LR 2 (concerning meaning of “environmental damage” under Environmental Damage Regulations); Re: Envirogreen [2016] NICA 32 (Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland on environmental permitting and relevance of previous conduct of licence holder); and R (RSPB) v. SoS [2015] Env LR 24 (for RSPB in challenge to legality of a cull of a protected species). He acted for a consortium of local authorities and NGOs in the last challenge to a third runway at Heathrow - Hillingdon v. Secretary of State [2010] JPL 976 on air quality, noise and climate change grounds. 


David regularly appears in planning related challenges in the Courts, and has a wide-ranging planning practice covering infrastructure and housing.  

Recommendations: C&P 2017 – “has taken on a number of eye-catching planning cases in recent years, engaging with both housing and infrastructure matters of national importance”; “really frighteningly astute barrister” “Absolutely first rate from a legal analysis point of view”; C&P 2016 – “produces fantastic written work and is really focussed”; C&P 2014 – “he is very quick wading through a mountain of material and then presenting it in written form succinctly. He is so focussed, intelligent, sharp and responsive and is very practical”

Recent important cases include West Berkshire v. Secretary of State [2016] 1 WLR 3923 (affordable housing policy consistency with statutory scheme); Smech v. Runneymede Borough Council [2016] JPL 677 (housing requirements and discretion); Gerber v. Wiltshire [2016] 1 WLR 2593 (leading case on delay in JR and discretion) St Albans City v. SoS [2015] EWHC 655 (Admin) - challenge to a grant of consent for a strategic rail freight interchange and R(Smith) v. Warwickshire County Council  [2016]  - policy for location of emergency stopping places for gyspies and travellers.

David acted for Bath and North East Somerset in its Core Strategy examination (housing land supply) and the subsequent PMP. He acted for the RSPB in the Able Humber Port DCO and in all the earlier port inquiries.

David is advising a number of authorities and developers in respect of major urban extensions and in particular CIL and S.106 requirements/conditions. He acted for Milton Keynes in respect of an attempt to challenge permission for a major urban extension raising equalisation issues and is currently acting for Trafford in respect of the conditions on a 3000 house scheme at Trafford Water and for a landowner in respect of a £multi-million disputed s.106 obligation.

Local Authority

David acts for many of the major local authorities (City Councils, County Council and London authorities). His practice involves advising on, and appearing in cases concerning, local government powers, decision making, landholdings, revenue maximisation and reorganisation. For his Local Government CV please click here.

Recommendations: C&P 2017  “renowned local government silk with extensive expertise across a plethora of public and environmental law issues…. routinely acts as lead counsel for public authorities in high stakes vires disputes”; C&P 2016 – “really good at seeing the bigger picture”; C&P 2015 – “he does very high quality cases and he does them well.” “He turns work round quickly and is very reliable”

Recent Work:  in addition to the local government- related cases listed above, David’s recent work  includes: R(Morell) v Taunton Dean Borough Council [2016] – pending JR of proposals to merge the Council with adjoining council; R(Lancshire CC) v DEFRA  pending JR of withdrawal of £multi-million waste infrastructure credit from major PFI project; advising a London Borough on the legality of  call ins of major planning application by the Mayor of London;  legality of article 4 direction by a city council restricting PD rights; and the correct approach to appropriation of land and rights to light.   He acted for claimants in the challenge to the Garden Bridge. 

Other Public Law including human rights

David’s public law practice is focussed on environmental, planning and local government challenges. In addition to those core areas:

  • He has appeared regularly in cases concerning the right to protest: for the City of London in City of London v. Samede – the St Paul’s occupy protest; and Mayor of London v Hall   - the Parliament Square protest camp and most recently Orchard  - protest camp at Magna Carta.
  • He has acted in several cases concerning the compatibility of legislation with the Human Rights Act  - including Newhaven  and Leeds  on A1P1 and commons registration; and
  • He is currently acting for the claimant in the first challenge to retrospective taxation using the state error principle;
  • He acted for the Government in R (Harrow Community Support) v. Ministry of Defence [2012] EWHC 1921 (Admin) (Olympic security – “missiles on the roof” – article 8); and
  • Has acted for claimants in various art 14 discrimination relating to benefit entitlements.

Recommendations: C&P 2015  – “He is very good…. Very tenacious”; C&P 2014 “He is excellent”, “he’s thorough clear and helpful” He "did extremely well in the High Court looking at the occupation by the camp outside St Paul's," and is also "very good at handling clients and meeting their expectations." C&P 2012  “wins acclaim for his work in the successful challenge to the government's decision to support a third runway at Heathrow. He remains a favourite pick as counsel for judicial reviews concerning planning, the environment and local authorities”.

CPO, Compensation and Valuation

David regularly advises and acts in relation to CPOs and has a particular specialism in substantial compensation claims and valuation issues having acted in a number of £multi-million claims in the last three years.

He is acting for landowners in respect of the proposed CPO in relation to the Newport M4 Corridor; and a City Council in respect of implementation of a CPO. He recently advised objectors to the Ponders End and Brent X CPOs and appeared for Sainsbury’s in the Croydon CPO. He acted for the landowner in the challenge to the Swindon CPO and for the SoS in the defence of the Margate regeneration CPO: Margate Town Centre Regeneration Ltd v. Secretary of State [2013] EWCA Civ 1178. 


In recent years, David has acted acts for the HMRC and ratepayers on a number of high value and significant rating cases. He was advocate to the Supreme Court in the leading case of the identification of the hereditament (Woolway v. Mazars  [2015]) and is acting for a wide range of affected ratepayers in addressing the consequences of that decision. In 2016, he acted for the HMRC in two cases challenging the use of the contractor’s basis in the oil industry (Mainline and Total); is currently advising various farmers on agricultural exemptions and the owners of a large building in London on applicable exemptions. He is advising several authorities on maximising income from rates and acted for a ratepayer in liability order proceedings arising from empty property provisions.  

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