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Paul Brown

Paul Brown QC

YEAR OF CALL 1991PBrown@landmarkchambers.co.uk

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Paul’s practice covers planning and environmental, public and local government law. He has extensive experience in the High Court and Court of Appeal, as well as at Public Inquiries. 

Paul was called to the Bar in 1991. Before taking silk in 2009, he was a member of the Treasury "A" Panel, where he acted for a wide range of government departments including CLG, DEFRA, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Education. In 2014 he was the legal adviser to Committee on the Review of Planning Guidance, led by Lord Taylor. 

Paul joined Landmark in 2012, having previously practised from 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square. 

Planning and Environment

As a specialist in town and country planning, Paul acts for developers, local planning authorities and third party interest groups at all stages of the planning process.  His experience covers most areas of planning law, including residential and retail development, minerals and waste, airports, windfarms, highways, compulsory purchase and enforcement.  Paul’s wider public law practice has given him a particular expertise in statutory challenges and applications for judicial review, where he has acted for claimants, defendants and interested parties. 

In 2017, Paul has:

  • been extensively involved in the London "basement wars" saga (in which, amongst others, he has acted for the owner of the notorious "stripey house" in Kensington and Chelsea)
  • represented Friends of the Earth at a 3-week inquiry into proposals for open-cast coal extraction in Northumberland
  • advised the Mayor of London on the latest revision of the London Plan
  • help the London Russian School of Ballet obtain permission and listed building consent for a major extension to its premises
  • acted for housing developers on schemes ranging from individual houses to proposals for new garden villages
  • advised Nottingham County Council on its Minerals Local Plan
  • advised landowners in compensation claims associated with the compulsory purchase orders for Crossrail.

Examples of Paul’s recent work in the High Court and Court of Appeal include:

  • Lisle-Mainwaring v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (concerning the scope of section 215 notices)
  • Lisle-Mainwaring v Carroll (application of the Mt Cook principles on the relevance of alternative proposals for a site)
  • Government of France v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (challenge to lawful development certificates for basement development in London)
  • Timmins v Gedling Borough Council (whether cemeteries are “appropriate” development in the Green Belt)
  • Turner v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (challenge to the grant of permission for redevelopment of the Shell Centre at Waterloo, in which the test for bias and the need to disclose viability assessments were in issue)
  • Jackson v Secretary of State for Communities and local Government (whether the Welwyn principle survives the introduction of Planning Enforcement Orders under the Localism Act 2011).

Other significant examples of Paul’s work can be found on the link to Paul’s cases and inquiries, above.  

Public Law

Recent examples of Paul’s work include: representing the Appellant in the Supreme Court in Hotak v London Borough of Southwark (concerning the definition of vulnerability in the context of a local authorities housing duties under s. 189 Housing Act 1996);  acting for the operator of an anaerobic digestion facility in proceedings for the judicial review of the amendments to the Renewable Heat Incentive Regulations; advising Medical Justice and successfully representing victims of torture who have been detained in breach of the Secretary of State’s own guidelines in their claims for false imprisonment; and advising the Department for Education on its Free Schools Programme. 

Before life as a barrister, Paul completed his PhD in Administrative Law at Cambridge in 1989, and lectured in Public Law at King’s College, London (1989-1991) and at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (1985). 

Paul is particularly interested in human rights, and has lectured and written widely on Article 6. 

Local Government

Paul has wide experience of Local Government.  Recent examples include: acting for the Appellant in the Supreme Court in  Hotak v London Borough of Southwark (concerning the definition of vulnerability in the context of a local authorities housing duties under s. 189 Housing Act 1996);  advising a major harbour authority on the interaction between its functions and an application for modification of the Definitive Map; advising the London Mayor on revisions to the London Plan and the creation of the Old Oak and Park Royal MDC; representing the affected landowner in a dispute with Hertfordshire County Council over the extent of the highway; and representing the Appellant in the Court of Appeal in R (CJ) v Cardiff City Council (concerning the burden of proof in proof of age cases).

Directory Entries

Chambers & Partners

Recommended in:  

Planning Law"has an amazing eye for detail, making him a perfect choice for judicial reviews” (2016); fits very well with clients' aspirations" and "…slices through the other side's arguments, it is excellent” (2015); “communicates really well, knows what he wants out of cases, and knows how to both direct people and listen to them" (2014); a "preferred counsel for planning inquiries" who is "lovely to work with, exceptionally bright and such a pleasure to be around. He is also brilliant with complex paperwork." (2013); "an impressive court performer who is always thoroughly prepared and does a great job for his clients.” (2012); "good at inquiry work and very down to earth" (2011); "a barrister of enormous intellect" (2010); "earns widespread recognition for his impressive advocacy skills and brilliant rapport with the High Court judges" (2009); “…high-quality all-rounder..." (2007). 

Administrative & Public Law"straight-talking, cuts straight to the point, and presents his case extremely clearly” (2014); "a thoroughly impressive, all-round public law barrister. His recent highlight matters have raised important points in the context of information, environment, planning and immigration law” (2013);  "ability to get straight to the heart of a matter" (and is a) "a formidable opponent who'll keep on striving until he gets what he wants" (2012); "extremely civilised and a phenomenally good advocate" (2011); "no-nonsense approach and penetrating arguments"(2010); "a strong advocate and a pleasant person to deal with he is applauded for offering clear, solid advice" (2009); “confident and adaptable, (he) is recommended for being able to master the papers quickly, speak with authority and take the judge through his argument clearly” (2008).  

Local Government Law“a good all-rounder who is particularly strong on environment, immigration and community care cases”, “judges love him." (2014); "excellent lawyer," "good judgement and sound grasp of the detail in a matter." (2012);  "extremely easy to work with and a man who inspires confidence" (2011); "always sensible in his approach [he] never fails to get the job done" (2010); "ever dependable and completely rock-solid" (2009); "(he) sits right at the top of the tree” (2008).  

Environment: “able to grasp quickly the ins and outs of a case” and “possesses powerful skills of analysis” and “straightforward, helpful advice" (2009)