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Matthew Fraser

Matthew Fraser

YEAR OF CALL 2013

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Matthew has a broad practice of planning & environmental law, public law and property law.

Planning & Environmental Law

After only 18 months in practice, Matthew is already ranked among the top barristers in planning law under the age of 35 in the Planning Magazine’s 2017 Legal Survey. His practice extends to all areas of planning and environmental law.

He recently acted for Cheshire East Council (led by Christopher Katkowski QC) in the examination hearings for their Local Plan. 

His inquiry work includes:

  • Junior to Christopher Katkowski QC, acting for a housebuilder in a successful appeal concerning a large residential scheme in Redcar.
  • Junior to Christopher Katkowski QC, acting for Cheshire East Council resisting an appeal concerning a major housing development proposal to the south of Crewe.
  • Junior to James Maurici QC for Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council in a public inquiry to determine a contaminated land appeal under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the second ever inquiry in the history of the regime).
  • Junior to Christopher Katkowski QC, acting for the developer in an inquiry concerning a called-in application for a housing and employment scheme in West Sussex, raising issues of conflict with made and emerging neighbourhood plans.
  • Acting for both local authorities and appellants in enforcement inquiries, with particular experience in dealing with issues of concealment.
  • He successfully represented a rugby club in a public inquiry to determine the existence of a right of way over the club’s land.

In the High Court, Matthew has recently:

  • Appeared for the successful claimant (with Gwion Lewis and Martin Westgate QC) in Eatherley v Camden Council, concerning the scope of permitted development rights for basements.
  • Acted as junior to Tim Buley for the successful Interested Party in R (Dillner) v Sheffield City Council, a judicial review of the Council’s tree-felling operations as part of public highway maintenance.
  • Brought a s.288 challenge against an Inspector’s decision concerning the failure to have regard to a neighbouring listed building. The Secretary of State consented to an order quashing the decision.
  • Acted in a judicial review claim on behalf of local residents against a certificate of lawful use issued to the UK’s largest insect and reptile breeding farm. Permission was granted on the papers but the case subsequently settled out of court. 

Matthew also has experience prosecuting and defending in criminal planning enforcement proceedings, as well as acting in appeals against section 215 notices, in the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court. 

His recent advisory work has concerned:

  • The validation and legal implications of prior approval applications.
  • Reviewing reasons for refusal for a major residential scheme (with James Maurici QC).
  • The scope of planning permission for a waste treatment facility (with David Elvin QC).
  • Legal implications of the Written Ministerial Statement on wind energy (with David Elvin QC).
  • Prospects of obtaining a certificate of lawful use for helicopter landings (with Robert Walton).
  • Challenging a licence granted under the Petroleum Act 1998.
  • A number of challenges to approved residential development schemes. 

As Matthew Reed QC’s pupil, Matthew drafted judicial review, statutory review and appeal pleadings concerning a range of matters, including grants and refusals of planning permission, environmental permits, and conservation area designation. He also gained experience advising on planning obligations and conditions, change of use, lawful development certificates, road traffic regulation, compulsory purchase, affordable housing, and Environmental Impact Assessment.

Matthew has recently given talks on topics ranging from the Environmental Liability Directive to the interpretation of planning conditions. He also recently wrote an article on the new Aarhus costs rules for the Landmark Environmental Blog.

Property Law  

Matthew’s County Court practice includes:

  • Residential and commercial possession proceedings against tenants, trespassers, mortgagors and service occupants.
  • Relief from forfeiture proceedings on behalf of landlords and tenants.
  • Private nuisance action concerning demolition works.
  • Costs and case management hearings for a variety of property disputes. 

In the First-Tier Tribunal:

  • He is currently representing a group of around 30 'right to buy' leaseholders in a major service charge dispute with their social landlord.
  • He recently represented the landlord of a large block of flats in s.168 proceedings, seeking a determination of multiple nuisance covenant breaches.
  • He acted for a group of tenants in a successful Right to Manage application.

He regularly advises and drafts documents for a wide range of leasehold enfranchisement matters, forfeiture proceedings, easement disputes, renewal of business tenancies and dilapidations.

As a pupil to Tom Jefferies, Matthew undertook a variety of drafting and advisory work on lease extensions and enfranchisement, service charge disputes, renewal and termination of business tenancies, private sector residential tenancies, validity of notices, covenants, easements, commercial arbitration and mediation. He also gained experience of forfeiture actions, boundary disputes and costs management. 

He has given talks on retaliatory eviction following the Deregulation Act 2015, recent leasehold enfranchisement cases, and determining the participants in a collective enfranchisement claim. 

Public Law 

Matthew accepts instructions in all areas of public law. He is particularly experienced in immigration law. He regularly acts for appellants in the First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and applicants in judicial review proceedings. He also does a significant amount of work as a “Junior Junior” drafting summary grounds of defence for the Home Office.

Matthew also has a particular interest in social security law. He recently successfully represented the National Deaf Children’s Society before a three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal in an important case concerning the interpretation of the meaning of “safely” of the Personal Independence Payment Regulations 2013: RJ, GMcL and CS v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v RJ (PIP) [2017] UKUT 105 (AAC). He also gave a talk on PIP at a recent seminar. He regularly acts pro bono in benefit cases through charities including the Free Representation Unit.

Alongside his domestic public law practice, he is currently acting for the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus in a judicial review brought by several hundred local employees concerning pay reductions (led by Samantha Broadfoot QC).

He also has experience in community care, animal welfare and parole law.

As a pupil, Matthew assisted other members of chambers with a successful challenge to the fast track procedure rules for asylum appellants, drafting submissions to the Court of Justice of the European Union on the EU law right to reside for third country nationals who have been victims of domestic abuse by their EU-citizen former spouse, and judicial review of the legal aid regulations for domestic violence victims in family law proceedings. 

Prior to joining Landmark Chambers, Matthew was a Legal Assistant at the European Council of Refugees and Exiles in Brussels, Belgium. He has also volunteered for a number of legal charities in London, including the Free Representation Unit, the Afghan and Central Asia Association, the National Centre for Domestic Violence, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, Southwark Law Centre and the Refugee Children’s Rights Project.