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Richard Drabble QC was called to the Bar in 1975 and took silk in 1995. He practices in public law, planning and other local government matters. He has appeared frequently as an advocate at all levels of domestic courts, particularly the Administrative Court as well as the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. His practice also has a European dimension, with many appearances (in planning, environmental and social security matters) before the ECJ and the European Court of Human Rights and the former Commission. He has appeared for both developers and local authorities in major planning inquiries. He is a former Chairman of the Administrative Law Bar Association and a member of the Planning and Environment Bar Association.

He is recognised as a leader in the fields of administrative & public law, civil liberties & human rights, environment, EU & competition, immigration, local government, planning and social housing. The latest editions state -

Chambers UK, administrative & public law - "A barrister with formidable intellect, who has great expertise across a wide range of subject areas and vast experience to draw from. He is a persuasive advocate with an absolute command of his subject matter." "Good at finding innovative points even in unpromising cases."

Chambers UK, civil liberties & human rights - "He will find a way to make something complex easy to understand." "A very effective advocate who chooses points carefully."

Chambers UK, environment - "He's got a very gentle manner, is incredibly humble and there's not a lot he doesn't know about planning."

Chambers UK, local government - "He is a very good technician on statutory interpretation and deals with planning, marine planning and bespoke private legislation. He is absolutely superb." "Richard has formidable intellect and is extremely highly regarded for his expertise across a wide range of subject areas. He has vast experience to draw from and is a persuasive advocate with an absolute command of the subject matter."

Chambers UK, planning - "Intellectually ahead of the pack."

Chambers UK, social housing - "Commands authority and has prodigious mental agility and ability." "He has an all-round ability to see the law from a much wider perspective."

Legal 500, administrative & public law - "Highly experienced and good to work with".

Legal 500, EU & competition -  "A fantastic advocate, highly regarded for the most complex cases".

Legal 500, environment - "Rated very highly".

Legal 500, immigration - "He is making waves in the immigration arena".

Legal 500, planning - "Thoughtful and helpful".

Legal 500, social housing - "A well-respected public law silk with a multi-disciplinary practice".

Richard Drabble has acted for a wide range of clients, examples being the Secretary of State in challenges to the Terminal Five planning permission, the Airports and Energy White Papers; and the Olympics CPO; Natural England in the Thames Basin Heath SPA litigation; Associated British Ports in connection with a proposed Harbour Revision Order at Immingham; Amnesty International in the Pinochet medical reports case; the developer in R (Lewis) v Redcar BC and Persimmon and in R (Kides) v South Cambridgeshire DC; JCWI and the AIRE Centre in the litigation concerning alleged marriages of convenience; Quinn Glass in the Court of Appeal hearing about an IPCC permit; 3C Limited in a Commercial Court case about the Landfill Directive; and Mrs Stec; Ms Tsfayo; Mrs Chapman and Mrs Kehoe in their various cases in the European Court of Human Rights. He appeared for the local authorities in the Dibden Bay Inquiry.

Recent cases cover a wide spectrum of issues and clients. They include R (West Berkshire DC) v Secretary of State 2016 1 WLR 3923 (Court of Appeal on affordable housing policy); R(Carmichael) v SSWP 2016 1 WLR 455  (Supreme Court: bedroom tax); Sainsbury’s Supermarket Ltd v Sykes 2017 UKUT 138 (LC) ; rating of supermarket ATM sites; Kiarie v Home Secretary 2017 1 WLR 2380 (Supreme Court: deport first appeal later). He has contributed a chapter on GCHQ in the Lords to “Landmark Cases in Public Law”, published June 2017.

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