John's highly regarded domestic practice is complemented by a successful international practice encompassing planning and commercial work. He also practices in a broad range of civil and commercial litigation matters including complex rating cases.
John was called to the Bar in 1989 and was appointed to the Attorney General’s A Panel of Treasury Counsel for seven years before taking Silk in 2010.
John regularly appears at public inquiries. In addition to this, John frequently appears in the higher courts in England & Wales (including the Upper Tribunal), Northern Ireland, Hong Kong (including the Lands Tribunal and Town Planning Appeal Board), the Cayman Islands and the BVI. He is called to the Bar in Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean (British Virgin Islands) and appears by ad hoc admission in the Grand Court and Court of Appeal in the Cayman Islands.
He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and an Associate Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators.
Advisory and other
Advisory work includes advising Government RE: the review of National Policy Statements on Energy and National Networks, challenges to NPSs, interpretation of Building Regulations, interpretation of s.106 agreements and claims made under such agreements, planning enforcement, s.215 notices under the TCPA 1990, challenge to neighbourhood plan, on-shore wind development, challenges to DCOs, co-living development, strategic planning, interpretation of commercial contracts, rating, planning appeals in the Cayman Islands, foreign law expert, expert determination under a s.106 agreement.
In addition to his core areas, John has acted for local authorities in relation to negligence claims, including Wooldridge v Torridge District Council. He has advised on nuisance claims relating to Japanese Knotweed. John also advises on planning related property issues including restrictive covenants and easements and has considerable experience in mass trespass litigation.
John’s work in Hong Kong, Cayman Islands and the BVI encompasses a broad range of civil matters including commercial litigation, judicial review, town planning and rating.
Recent Cases in Hong Kong
- Join Smart v Director of Environment – Representing Director of Environment in Hong Kong Court of Appeal in challenge to grant of environmental permit. Now on appeal to Hong Kong Court of Appeal (November 2021).
- Join Smart Ltd v Town Planning Board – Representing Town Planning Board in Hong Kong Court of First Instance in a challenge to refuse amendment to Outline Zoning Plan. Now on appeal to Hong Kong Court of Appeal (June 2021).
- Mayer v AFI Limited – application for permission to appeal to Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (March 2020).
- HCA 3014 of 2016 – strike out application in Hong Kong Court of First Instance.
- CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd v Commissioner of Rating and Valuation – John represented CLP in the Court of Final Appeal (and earlier in the Lands Tribunal and Court of Appeal) in relation to its rating appeal including the construction of s.8 & 8A Rating Ordinance (February 2017).
- Town Planning Board v Town Planning Appeal Board – John acted for the TPB in the Court of Final Appeal on the construction of s.16 of the Town Planning Ordinance and jurisdiction of the Town Planning Board to review its decision under s. 17 in relation to an application to fulfil planning conditions (January 2017).
- Mayer Corporation Development Limited v Alliance Financial Intelligence Limited (HCCL 2/2016) – John acted for the applicant in the Court of First Instance on an application to strike out an action seeking to set aside judgments allegedly obtained by fraud (November 2016).
- Jonnex International Ltd. v Town Planning Board (HCAL 130/2015) – John acted for the TPB in the Court of First Instance on an application for judicial review seeking to challenge a decision refusing to modify the Sai Ying Pun & Sheung Wan Outline Zoning Plan (September 2016).
- Song Lian Zhong v Chan Sze Wai HCA 277/2013 – John acted for the plaintiffs in the Court of First Instance in a 3 week trail for fraudulent misrepresentation (July/August 2016).
Recent Cases in the Cayman Islands and BVI
- King Bun v Lau – 5 week trial in Commercial Court in British Virgin Islands representing a former director in a derivative action brought by minority shareholder for breach of directors’ duties relating to sale of a subsidiary company at an undervalue. (November/December 2019, July 2020 and February 2021).
- China Energy Development Holdings Ltd v Totalbuild Investments Holdings Group Ltd (Cause No. G0094/2015) and Energy International Investments Holdings Ltd v China International Energy Investments (Hong Kong) Ltd (Cause No. G0112/2015) (2014 – 2016) – John acts for the plaintiffs in two claims relating to breaches of warranty and misrepresentation arising out of cooperation agreements entered into with China National Petroleum Company for the exploitation of mineral resources in China. There have been a number of interlocutory proceedings and hearings for injunctions, service out of the jurisdiction, substituted service and discovery of documents. Trials likely in 2017/2018 (Cayman Islands).
- Lai Yueh-Hsing v Mayer Holdings Limited (FSD86/2014) (2013 – 2014) – creditors winding up petition. The proceedings include an application for appointment of interim receivers, the hearing of the petition and an appeal to the Cayman Court of Appeal (Cayman Islands).
- Li En Qiang v Nova Direct Investment Ltd (2016) – claim for the recovery of proceeds of redemption and remaining shares in an investment fund against a BVI company. Application challenging to Court’s jurisdiction (BVI).
- China NTG Investments Ltd v Great River Corporation (2014) – proceedings for the appointment of an interim receiver and an application for a stay of proceedings (BVI).
John's planning work also includes promoting infrastructure development such as strategic rail freight interchanges, renewable energy projects, guided busways, new roads and major highway improvement schemes. He advises on Development Consent Orders, development plans (including neighbourhood plans) and has recently appeared at numerous examinations in public. He has considerable experience across all aspects of planning enforcement.
John is an assistant editor of the Encyclopaedia of Planning Law and served for six years between 2000 and 2006 as the Treasurer of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association.
John's recent commercial work includes:
- Green v South Downs National Park  EWHC 604 (Admin) – represented interested party (PIG Hotels) in challenge to grant of planning permission for conversion of Grade II listed building from private dwelling to hotel in the South Downs National Park.
- Motorway Service Area on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire – 3 month public inquiry acting for a promoter of a competing schemes for a new Motorway Service Area on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire (2009/2010).
- Kent International Gateway, Kent – 1 month public inquiry for AXA REIM for a strategic rail freight interchange and national distribution centre (B8) (2008)
- Hartland Park, Hampshire – 1 week public inquiry for Prudential Property Investment Managers for large distribution warehousing (B8) in Surrey (2007).
- Greenham Common, Berkshire – 1 week public inquiry for Prologis for large distribution warehousing (B8) (2007).
- Howbury Park, Dartford – 2 month public inquiry for Prologis for a strategic rail freight interchange and large distribution warehousing (October 2007).
- Southend United Football Club, Essex – 2 week public inquiry for Southend Football Club for a new football stadium and enabling retail development.
John's recent retail work includes:
- Highams Park, Waltham Forest – 1 week public inquiry for food retail led mixed use scheme for Tesco Stores Ltd. (2007).
- Dartford, Kent – 2 week public inquiry Tesco Stores Ltd. for retail and mixed use town centre re-development (2006).
- Middlesbrough, Yorkshire – 1 week public inquiry for Tesco Stores Ltd. for an out of centre food superstore.
- Newry Chamber of Commerce’s application for judicial review  NIQB 65 – represented the landowner in a challenge to a planning permission for a large-scale retail-led in Newry, Northern Ireland.
Compulsory Purchase and Compensation
John advises on all matters relating to compulsory purchase and compensation including the Critchel Down rules. He promotes compulsory purchase orders through public inquires, including orders for mixed town centre developments, housing market renewal schemes and highway schemes. He appears in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in relation to compensation issues arising out of the compulsory acquisition of land.
His compulsory purchase and compensation work includes appearing at CPO inquiries on behalf of promoters and objectors. He represented the local authority and Tesco to acquire land for development including a superstore and on behalf of Liverpool City Council acquiring land as part of the Government’s housing market renewal programme. He has also advised in relation to compensation claims arising out of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1) and the acquisition of wharf facilities in Medway.
John's recent work includes:
- Advising a landowner affected by the proposed Northern Line Extension from Kennington to Battersea.
- Northern Line Extension – acted for Banham Patent Locks Ltd. objecting to the Northern Line Extension Transport and Works Act Order at the Public Inquiry and subsequent compensation claim resulting in a multi-million pound settlement (2013 – 2018).
- Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1) compensation claims.
- Liverpool Housing Market Renewal CPO Inquiries (2006 & 2008).
Development Consent Orders
John's recent work includes:
- R (oao Williams) v Secretary of State  EWHC 1202 (Admin) – represented RWE Innogy in a challenge to the Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm DCO.
- Advising Highways England at the pre-submission stage of the A303 Amesbury – Berwick Down DCO.
John's recent work includes:
- Coedbach Action Team Ltd v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change  EWCA Civ 1494 – represented Helius Energy in a challenge to a consent for the construction/operation of a biomass power station.
- R (RWE Innogy UK Ltd.) v Secretary of State – represented RWE Innogy challenging the refusal of consent for a wind farm at the Carnedd Wen, Powys, Wales (2015).
- R (Peter Higham) v Cornwall Council  EWHC 2191 – represented Clean Earth Energy Wind Investments (Admin) in a challenge to the grant of planning permission for a wind farm (2015).
- Aylesbury Vale – public inquiry (call-in) into onshore wind turbine development (2015).
- Shepton Mallet – public inquiry (call-in) into onshore wind turbine development (2015).
- North/South Interconnector – represented the Department of Infrastructure at the public inquiries into the 400Kv overhead electricity line connecting the electricity grids of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (2012, 2017)
- Barlow v Secretary of State  EWHC 146 QB – represented INEOS in a challenge to the grant of planning permission for a fracking test well.
Highways, Footpaths and Rights of Way
John’s work includes acting for developers at long public inquiries including large distribution warehouses and strategic rail freight interchanges. He has also promoted a number of major road improvement schemes for the Highways England (formerly Highways Agency) including the M4, A2, A21 and A14. He advised on the environmental appraisal aspects of the nuclear National Policy Statement. He recently advised Highways England in relation to proposals to upgrade the A303. He has advised in relation to the registration of village greens and appeared at non-statutory village green inquiries. He advises on and appears at footpath diversion inquiries. Much of his current planning work relates to housing development.
John's recent work includes:
- Windrush, Oxfordshire – public footpath diversion order public inquiry (2015).
- Pewsey, Wiltshire – public footpath diversion order public inquiry (2014).
- Public Inquiries for the Highways Agency in relation to J.13 of the M4/A34, the A2, the A21 and the A14 (2000 – 2010).
John's recent work includes:
- Wealden Local Plan – Examination in Public of the Local Plan representing South Downs National Park and 3 other objecting local authorities.
- Cappagh Public Works Limted v London Borough of Sutton (2018) (unreported) – represented Prologis as the interested party in a challenge to the Sutton Local Plan.
- Forest Heath Single Issue Review and Site allocation Local Plan – Examination in Public representing the Newbury Horseman’s Group in relation to the allocation of Hatchfield Farm for housing development (2018).
- Wycombe District Local Plan – Examination in Public representing Catesby Estates plc in relation to the allocation of Hollands Farm for housing development (2018).
- Winslow, Buckinghamshire – Neighbourhood Plan Examination hearing (2015).
Planning Enforcement and Injunctions
John's recent work includes:
- Tower Bridge Hotel, London – 1 week public inquiry for Grange Hotels appealing against an enforcement notice (2012).
- Advice on a range of enforcement matters including enforcement notices, stop notices (including temporary stop notices) and injunctions.
John's recent work includes:
- Land at Downend Road, Fareham – 1 week public inquiry into outline planning application for residential development, demolition of existing agricultural buildings and the construction of new buildings providing up to 350 dwellings; the creation of new vehicular access with footways and cycleways; provision of landscaped communal amenity space, including children’s play space; creation of public open space; together with associated highways, landscaping, drainage and utilities (September 2019).
- Hazel Close – 2 week public inquiry representing developers for residential development on the edge of Crawley Down, Mid-Sussex (February 2017)
- Fant Farm, Kent – 2 week public inquiry acting for Gleeson Developments Ltd for 225 dwellings on the edge of Maidstone (January 2017).
- Crawley Down, Mid-Sussex – 2 week call-in/recovered public inquiry acting for Gleeson Developments Ltd developers for 2 alternative residential schemes (February 2017).
- Yapton, West Sussex – 1 week public inquiry acting for Gleeson Developments Ltd for 108 dwellings (May 2017).
- Keith Langmead v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 788 (Admin) – represented claimant in challenge to refusal of permission for housing development (March 2017).
- Hurstpierpoint, Mid-Sussex – 1 week public inquiry acting for Thakenham Homes for 81 dwellings (2014).
- Yapton, West Sussex – 1 week public Inquiry acting for Gleeson Developments Ltd for 173 dwellings (2011).
- Advising developers/land promoters including Gleeson Developments Ltd, Thakenham Homes, Persimmon Homes, Catesby Estates, Shanly Homes, Darcliffe Homes, Miller Homes, Welbeck Land.
- Richmond Gardens, Bournemouth – Appeal hearing into mixed-use development for purpose-built student accommodation (625 bedrooms) & Class A1/A2/A3/Coffee Shop with realignment works to existing access road, private car/cycle parking, associated refuse/recycling storage, public realm improvement works and new landscaping. Works to existing public car park, including installation of ventilation screening, with associated landscaping (January 2020).
- Leicester – 1 week public inquiry for CODE Student Accommodation for purpose built student accommodation blocks (279 flats) in Leicester (2016).
John has advised on a range of environmental issues including the revocation of greenhouse gas emissions permits, waste and pollution control. He frequently advises on the European Directives and UK Regulations relating to environmental impact assessment, strategic environmental assessment and habitats assessments.
Public and Administrative
John regularly appears at public inquiries into development including housing, distribution warehousing, retail (food and non-food), town centre mixed use schemes, healthcare facilities, private householder development, purpose-built student accommodation, hotel development (including in the countryside), hostels, immigration appeal centres, football stadia, and motorway service areas.
As a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel of Treasury Council, John appeared on behalf of the Government in numerous statutory challenges and claims for judicial review in the planning, environmental, compulsory purchase, other administrative fields and human rights in addition to acting for clients from the private sector. He has enormous experience in High Court public law litigation in these and other administrative law matters. He has been appointed as an amicus in the High Court and Court of Appeal a number of times.
Recent Administrative Law cases
- Keith Langmead v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – 2 day High Court acting for the landowner challenging the Secretary of State’s recovered decision to refuse planning permission for housing development (March 2017).
- Newry Chamber of Commerce’s application for judicial review –
Judicial review challenge to a planning permission for a large-scale retail-led redevelopment, raising issues under the Habitats Directive, the EIA Directive and the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (2015).
- R. (on the application of Williams) v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – challenge to a Development Consent Order for substantial windfarm development in North Wales (2015).
- Gleeson Developments Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Ors – Judicial review of Secretary of State’s decision to withdraw planning permission after it had been issued (2014).
Landmark's barristers often work at the intersection of our core practice areas; bringing a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience to bear on a particular dispute or issue facing a client.
Our focus is always on achieving the best possible outcome for our client. By viewing the client's objectives in a holistic way - and not purely through the lens of one rigidly-defined legal area - we deliver the best possible advice and representation in complex matters that engage multiple specialist areas of law.
Whether it's providing support as an individual cross-practice barrister or a cross-disciplinary team of Landmark counsel, we are able to draw on an outstanding array of complementary skillsets and knowledge bases. This often achieves a better result than instructing multiple barristers from different specialist sets. This also improves the quality of client care through increased levels of communication, quicker response times, and a coordinated approach to clerking and fees, made possible by our team-based cross-practice approach.
Please contact our practice management team for more information.
John is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and an Associate Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators.