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James Maurici was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1996. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2013. He practices in planning; environmental law; and public law. His practice regularly encompasses EU and international law. He was a member of the Attorney-General’s London Panels of Junior Counsel to the Crown from 1999-2013. He previously also served on the Welsh Assembly Government's Junior Counsel Panel from 2009 to 2013. He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2009 and practises in that jurisdiction also.

He has extensive experience of appearing in the Higher Courts as well as at inquiries and in front of other tribunals. For more detail of recent work in each of these categories see cases and inquiries. James has appeared in numerous cases before the European Court of Justice and the General Court (formerly the Court of First Instance) and has appeared a number of times before the UNECE Aarhus Compliance Committee in Geneva. James works for a wide range of public sector clients, private clients and public interest groups. In 2010 James was awarded Junior of the Year in the Planning & Environment category of the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards.

Planning

James' planning practice encompasses all aspects of planning both at inquiries and hearings and in the Higher Courts. His practice also encompasses compulsory purchase and compensation, harbours, highways, rights of way, commons registration and village greens (both inquiries and in the Higher Courts). James regularly advises on the EU public procurement and state aid issues arising in the planning and compulsory purchase context. 

Planning Inquiries: James’ planning inquiry experience is wide ranging with a particular recent focus on large housing schemes (including recently having successfully acted on recovered appeals in respect of a 1000 home sustainable urban extension in Northampton and a 500 plus home scheme in Ribble Valley); student accommodation schemes; and a number of solar developments including the called-in application in respect of Wroughton Airfield. He also has recent experience of complex enforcement appeals. James recently acted for Wisley Properties Investments Limited, instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills, on a recovered appeal for a sustainable new settlements of up to 2068 homes on the  former Wisley Airfield in Guildford. The inquiry lasted 5 weeks.

Examinations: James has appeared at several Core Strategy examination hearings for developers. 

High Court planning work: His recent high-profile planning cases include acting for the Government in R. (Shirley) v SSCLG [2017] EWHC 2306 (Admin) on the interpretation of the air quality directive; R (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] 5 Costs L.O. 691 on the challenge to the revised Aarhus costs rules and the airports strike out case Hillingdon LBC v Secretary of State for Transport [2017] EWHC 121 (Admin); Redhill v SSCLG [2015] P.T.S.R. 274 on the meaning of “any other harm” in Green Belt policy. He also acted for the Government on challenges to High Speed 2 (Buckinghamshire & Others v Secretary of State for Transport [2014] 1 W.L.R. 324); the revocation of Regional Strategies R (Cala Homes) v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government) Nos.1 and 2 [2011] 2 E.G.L.R. 75); and the proposed Heathrow Runway 3 R (Hillingdon) v Secretary of State for Transport [2010] J.P.L. 976).

See also: Wealden DC v SSCLG [2017] J.P.L. 625; R. (Skelmersdale Ltd Partnership) v West Lancashire BC [2016] EWCA Civ 1260; R. (Smech Properties Ltd) v Runnymede BC [2016] EWCA Civ 42; R. (Birchall Gardens LLP) v Hertfordshire CC [2017] Env. L.R. 17; R. (Nicholson) v Allerdale BC [2015] EWHC 2510 (Admin); R. (Midcounties Co-operative Ltd) v Forest of Dean DC [2015] B.L.G.R. 829Jaytee (Rainton) LLP v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWHC 2835 (Admin); R. (Prideaux) v Buckinghamshire CC [2013] Env. L.R. 32; William Davis Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWHC 3058 (Admin);  Stratford on Avon DC v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] J.P.L. 104; and Tewkesbury BC v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] B.L.G.R. 399.

Planning Act 2008: James acted for FCC Environment in their legal challenge under the Planning Act 2008 to the Rookery South (Resource Recovery Facility) Order 2011. He acted for the Secretary of State in a challenge to the Able Marine DCO. He is acting for the Department of Transport in relation to the response to the Airports Commission final report.

Village greens and commons: James has appeared at a number of village green inquiries for both applicants and objectors. His High Court cases in this area include R. (Laing Homes Ltd) v Buckinghamshire CC [2004] 1 P. & C.R. 36; Oxfordshire CC v Oxford City Council [2006] 2 A.C. 674 and R. (SDR) v Bristol City Council [2012] EWHC 859 (Admin). He also regularly acts in commons related work. He acted for a Estate in Lancashire, one of the pilot areas, in respect of a commons registration application under the Commons Act 2006. He also regularly advises on commons consent and related issues.

CPO: James has defended a number of High Court challenges to CPO orders including: the Olympic CPO challenges (Sole v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2007] EWHC 1527 (Admin); R. (Neptune Wharf Ltd) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2007] 3 All E.R. 676 and Smith v Secretary of State for Trade and [2008] 1 W.L.R. 394) and a number of challenges to Pathfinder CPOs (Pascoe v First Secretary of State (No. 1) [2007] 1 W.L.R. 885 and  (No. 2) [2009] EWHC 881 (Admin); McCabe v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2007] EWHC 959 (Admin))). He also acts in compensation matters (see e.g. Kingsley v Highways Agency [2012] R.V.R. 12).

He has promoted a number of CPOs. He was part of the legal team acting on the Tottenham Hotspur stadium CPO. He acted for Hounslow Borough Council proposed Brentford Football CPO.

Rights of way and highways: James has acted in a number of rights of way inquiries.

Harbours: James successfully defended the first judicial review brought of the Marine Management Organisation: see R. (Humber Oil Terminals Trustee Ltd) v Marine Management Organisation [2012] EWHC 3058 (QB). He has acted in a number of Harbours Act 1964 cases, see e.g. R. (Great Yarmouth Port Co Ltd) v Marine Management Organisation (No. 1) [2013] EWHC 3052 (Admin) and R (Great Yarmouth Port Co Ltd) v Marine Management Organisation (No. 2) [2014] EWHC 833 (Admin). He regularly advises on harbour related issues. And also has particular experience of nature conservation issues in a ports context: see e.g. R (Lymington River Association) v Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government [2013] EWHC 2810 (Admin) and Humber Sea Terminal Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport [2006] Env. L.R. 4. He is acted for the Folkestone Harbour Company in promoting the Draft Folkestone Harbour Revision Order 2016. He acted for the Secretary of State in a challenge to the Able Marine DCO.

Environmental Law

James' environmental law practice is wide-ranging, covering matters such as habitats and species protection, contaminated land, air quality, waste, access to environmental information, statutory and common law nuisance and all aspects of environment impact assessment, strategic environmental assessment and environmental permitting. He has particular expertise on climate change issues, and especially emissions trading. He has also been involved in a number of cases concerning marine environmental issues. He regularly advises and is involved in cases concerning access to environmental information.

He regularly appears in the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the General Court of the European Union (formerly the European Court of First Instance) on environmental matters. Recent cases include: Case C-71-14 East Sussex County Council v Information Commissioner [2016] P.T.S.R. 179 (property searches and the Environmental Information Directive); Case C 279/12 Fish Legal & Emily Shirley v The Information Commissioner, United Utilities, Yorkshire Water and Southern Water [2014] 2 W.L.R. 568 (the meaning of public authority under the Environmental Information Directive); Case C-43/12 Commission v European Parliament and Council (cross-border exchange of on road safety related traffic offences); Case C 530/11 Commission v United Kingdom and Case C-260/11 Edwards v Environment Agency (costs and environmental judicial reviews); Case C-567/10 Inter-Environnement Bruxelles ASBL, (strategic environmental assessment) 22/3/2012; C-504/09 P Commission v Poland (EU Emissions Trading) 29/03/2012; Case C-474/10 Seaport (NI) Ltd, Magherafelt District Council and Others v Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland (strategic environmental assessment) 20/10/2011 and Case T-369/07 Latvia v Commission  (EU Emissions Trading) 22/03/2011.

He has also appeared a number of times before the UNECE Aarhus Compliance Committee in Geneva: cases include: ACCC/C/2010/45; ACCC/C/2010/53 (Edinburgh Tram) ACCC/C/2011/60; ACCC/C/2011/61 (Crossrail); ACCC/C/2012/77 (Nuclear NPS); and ACCC/C/2014/100 and 101 (High Speed 2).

Recent high profile domestic environmental cases include: R. (Shirley) v SSCLG [2017] EWHC 2306 (Admin) (interpretation of the air quality directive); R (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] 5 Costs L.O. 691 (challenge to the revised Aarhus costs rules) Wealden DC v SSCLG [2017] EWCA Civ 39 (habitats and air quality); Hillingdon LBC v Secretary of State for Transport [2017] EWHC 121 (Admin) (airport expansion judicial review strike out); R (McMorn) v Natural England [2016] Env. L.R. 14; R. (Edwards) v Environment Agency (No.2) [2011] 1 Costs L.R. 70 and [2013] UKSC 78 (cost and environmental law); R. (Padden) v Maidstone BC [2014] EWHC 51 (Admin) (EIA and retrospective consent); R. (Prideaux) v Buckinghamshire CC [2013] Env. L.R. 32; R. (Loader) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2012] 3 C.M.L.R. 29 (EIA); R. (Berky) v Newport City Council [2012] 2 C.M.L.R. 44 (delay and EU law); Save Britain's Heritage v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2011] 2 C.M.L.R. 48 (demolition and EIA); R. (Edwards) v Environment Agency [2011] 1 W.L.R. 79; and R. (Hillingdon LBC) v Secretary of State for Transport [2010] J.P.L. 976 (Heathrow expansion).

He has been involved in litigation and advisory work involving fracking: see R. (Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association) v West Sussex CC [2014] EWHC 4108 (Admin) and  R. (Dean) v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [2017] 4 W.L.R. 158

He has acted in a number of cases concerning the contaminated land regime in the Environmental Protection Act 1990. He acted for the Secretary of State in challenges to the first ever remediation notice appeal (see R. (Redland Minerals Ltd) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2011] Env. L.R. 2 and R. (Crest Nicholson Residential Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2011] Env. L.R. 1). He also appeared for Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council on the second ever appeal against a remediation notice in respect of the former Willenhall Gas Works. 

James has particular expertise in air quality issues (affecting both human and ecological receptors). He has appeared for developers in a number of inquiries raising these issues and also acted in High Court cases such as Shirley, Wealden and Hillingdon (see above).

He is on the LexisPSL Environment Consulting Editorial Board and on the editorial board of Garner's Environmental Law.

Public Law

His public law practice includes housing (see e.g. Yemshaw v Hounslow LBC [2011] 1 W.L.R. 433), social security (including national insurance) (see e.g. Zalewska v Department for Social Development [2008] UKHL 67), education (James was a governor at two state primary schools for 13 years in total and a Chair of Governors for 5 years), regulatory, local government including local government finance (see e.g. R (Cheshire East BC) v Secretary of State for the Environment Queen's Bench [2011] EWHC 1975 (Admin)); EU law and all aspects of human rights law. He has appeared in a number of high profile public law cases including: R (Sharon Shoesmith) v Ofsted and Others [2011] P.T.S.R. 1459; R (Bradley and others) v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2009] Q.B. 114; Ken Livingstone v Adjudication Panel for England [2006] H.R.L.R. 45; R v. Bow Street Magistrate, ex p. Pinochet Ugarte (No. 2)  [2000] 1 A.C. 119 and the Alconbury litigation [2003] 2 A.C. 295. He was also part of the counsel team, acting for 169 Iraqi claimants alleging systemic abuse by the Armed forces in Iraq R (Ali Zaki Moussa) v the Secretary of State for Defence (No. 2) [2013] H.R.L.R. 32.

James has particular experience in cases involving the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman the Local Government Ombudsman and the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales. He has been involved in a number of cases concerning public law challenges in the health context: see e.g. Miller v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [2015] EWHC 2981 (Admin); R. (Jeremiah) v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [2013] EWHC 1085 (Admin); R. (Mencap) v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [2012] P.T.S.R. D17; Flasz v Havering Primary Care Trust [2011] EWHC 1487 (Admin) and R (Primary Health Investment Properties Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health [2009] P.T.S.R. 1563.

He is regularly involved in advising in cases involving freedom of information and in particular the Environmental Information Regulations. He was previously a member of  the Treasury Solicitor’s Freedom of Information list of Panel Counsel. He has acted in a number of cases in the tribunals on these issues. He is the author of chapter on “Access under the Environmental Information Regulations” in P. Coppell Information Rights Law and Practice 4th ed (2014). He appeared for the UK in Case C-279/12 Fish Legal and another v Information Commissioner [2014] 2 W.L.R. 568 (recent decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice on the meaning of “public authority” under Directive 2003/4/EC) and also in Case C-71/14 East Sussex CC v Information Commissioner [2016] P.T.S.R. 179. He is also acting for a number of Government departments in group litigation in respect of property search charges fees said to have been levied contrary to Directive 2003/4/EC.

James was a founder of Judicial Review (Taylor & Francis) with Michael Fordham QC in 1996 and acted as assistant editor and then co-editor for over 20 years. He is now a consultant editor.

International law

In addition to his extensive European Court practice (see above) James has made several appearances before the UNECE Aarhus Compliance Committee in Geneva. He has acted in cases going to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. His international practice also includes cases in the Isle of Man (including before the Staff of Government see e.g. Penfolds v The Treasury) and public law advisory work in Gibraltar and the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has appeared in the Court of Appeal of New Zealand Mick v Removal Review Authority ([1999] NZAR 111).

Publications

James has written many articles on planning and environmental issues, as well as on judicial review more generally: see e.g. “The influence of the Aarhus Convention on EU Environmental Law Parts I and II” in the JPL and  “International law in domestic practice: advice for practitioners on how international and comparative law arises in domestic case law” in the ELM.

Professional Memberships

He is a member of the Administrative Law Bar Association, the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association ('UKELA'), the Planning and Environment Bar Association ('PEBA'), the Human Rights Lawyers Association, the United Kingdom Association for European Law, the Compulsory Purchase Association, the Bar European Group, United Kingdom Environmental Law Association (“UKELA”), the National Infrastructure Planning Association (“NIPA”) and the UK State Aid Law Association. Between June 2008 and June 2016 we was on the Council of UKELA and was also on the Executive Committee of UKELA for much of that time.

Recommendations

In Chambers & Partners 2018:

  • In Planning Law: A respected advocate well equipped to act in a broad range of planning cases for developers and public entities. The long list of areas in which he is experienced includes advising on EU matters and state aid issues related to planning or compulsory purchase. Strengths: "He is an intellectual powerhouse who brings calm reflection to complex planning matters. He is a fearsome advocate and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of green belt planning issues." "His broad range of experience is invaluable at public inquiries and he is able to combine deep knowledge, significant intellect, legal understanding and an appreciation of commercial realities. He is an excellent advocate in both oral and written situations, and becomes quickly and effortlessly immersed in the detail."”
  • In Environmental Law: “A leading figure for matters involving climate change, fracking and marine environmental issues. He also advises clients on air quality, habitat and species protection, contaminated land and common law nuisance complaints. Strengths: "Really user-friendly and very good on his feet. He is one of the top silks that I've used." "Very approachable and commercial. He's got a brain the size of Mars and a grasp on a whole variety of matters. He provides very clear, sensible and commercial advice."”
  • In Local Government Law: “Experienced public law silk with a fine track record of advising public authorities on complex matters arising within the context of housing and education. He is regularly instructed in high-stakes local government disputes and has a solid understanding of EU law, human rights and funding issues. Strengths: "His style is excellent in that he's not bombastic and he knows the power of the argument will prevail when acting as advocate."”
  • In Civil Liberties: " A highly experienced civil liberties and human rights silk who is regularly called on to appear in ground-breaking, high-profile cases. His highly active practice sees him regularly appearing before domestic, European and international courts. Strengths: "He really knows his stuff." "A very good public lawyer, he is straightforward and a good advocate."”
  • In Administrative & Public Law: "He is very impressive. His submissions are logical and structured."

In Chambers & Partners 2017:

  • In Planning Law: "He is extremely clever, incisive and gets to the point. His knowledge and understanding of planning, compulsory purchase and a range of related public law matters is unparalleled. He is also easy to work with, down-to-earth and approachable, and he is an excellent advocate both orally and in writing." "He gets thoroughly involved and immersed in the work that he does. When you instruct James, he is full-blooded and full-hearted."
  • In Environmental Law: "He's pretty persuasive and user-friendly." "He's ahead of the pack as an advocate as well as intellectually."
  • In Local Government Law: "Thorough in his evaluation of cases, and confident and inspiring in providing advice and conducting advocacy."
  • In Civil Liberties: "Given his encyclopaedic knowledge he is able to present and respond to anything thrown at him, and he's a pleasure to work with." "He is very intelligent and dedicated."
  • In Administrative & Public Law: "Combines intelligence, insight and ease of use." "Measured in his approach, incredibly meticulous and thorough. He has a mind like a razor. Can enter a situation and give you the answer immediately. Just outstanding."

In Chambers & Partners 2016:

  • In Planning Law: "He gives very good, clear, coherent and robust advice. There is no skirting around the edges with him." "I tend to go to him with technical points and when I need a real legal view on something. He is a strong lawyer, not just an advocate."
  • In Environmental Law: "He is an undoubted star at everything he does. He's very intelligent, brilliant on EU law and supreme in terms of his general legal analysis." 
  • In Local Government Law: "Really top-notch for judicial review, he is very good tactically and has a really clear insight into how judicial review cases are won and lost - I value his insight enormously." "Has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case law, and gets to grips with every fact in the case. He has such a pleasant, client-friendly manner as well."
  • In Civil Liberties: "He is absolutely first-class. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case law, he gets to grips with every fact of the case. You couldn't want a better barrister to work with. He has such a pleasant, client-friendly manner as well. The only improvement you could make is to clone him."
  • In Administrative & Public Law: "He's very good tactically and has a really clear insight into how judicial review cases are won and lost." "He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of case law and such a pleasant, client-friendly manner as well."

In the Legal 500 2016 James was rated in:

  • Administrative & Public Law: "His knowledge and expertise in public law is excellent"
  • Civil Liberties: "One of the best advocates”
  • EU & Competition: ”He has formidable intellect and is particularly strong on state aid regulation” 
  • Environmental: “He provides excellent advice”

In the Legal 500 2017 James was rated in:

  • Administrative & Public Law: “His depth of knowledge is excellent and he always delivers to deadlines.”
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “‘He provides consistently excellent verbal and written advice.”
  • EU law: “An established silk.”
  • Environmental: “He is friendly and accessible.”

In Who’sWhoLegal James is rated in the top 5 environmental law QCs “ [he has] a “well-deserved reputation” handling a broad variety of matters including habitats and species protection, air quality and contaminated land, among other matters. One instructing solicitor responded: “James has excellent legal knowledge; he is very user-friendly, completely reliable and a pleasure to work with; in addition, James has always been very clear in his advice, outstanding with clients and an excellent advocate.”

He has regularly featured in the list of top-rated planning QCs in the annual Planning Magazine Law Survey. In the 2017 survey James was rated the 4th highest rated Planning Silk (jointly with David Elvin QC) with it being said “Maurici attracts praise for his ability to get to grips with "gnarly planning law and policy matters" and his ability to "combine knowledge, intellect and understanding of the legal and policy framework with an appreciation of commercial realities". He has been lead counsel to the Department for Transport on airport expansion since 2011 and recently successfully struck out a judicial review sought by Greenpeace and several London boroughs attempting to block a third runway at Heathrow. Other victories include acting for the Homes and Communities Agency on a 1,000-home development near Northampton”. He was also rated the joint 4th top rated silk for residential development.

View James's profile on our International site