Matthew Reed KC

Call: 1995

Silk: 2017

Matthew practices in planning, environmental, local government and property law.

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Practice summary





Practice Summary

Matthew appears in all the courts of record including the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, Divisional Courts and the High Court as well as the criminal courts, Parliament and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). He acts for developers, local authorities and NGOs. He has appeared in over 50 reported Court cases and 100 significant inquiries and hearings.

Matthew's practice ranges from planning, to environmental law, property and local government.

In the planning sphere, Matthew has since 2008 been consistently ranked as a leading barrister in the planning sections of Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. He is also ranked as a leading silk for planning work and as a top silk for residential work (along with only 25 other barristers) in the Planning Magazine’s 2023 Legal Survey. Matthew is the consultant editor of the compulsory purchase volume of Halsbury’s Laws.

Matthew’s recent 2022/23 work has comprised:

  • A housing development project involving 3000 houses in the north of England
  • An appeal relating to a major minerals site in Essex
  • A new road compulsory purchase project in the Midlands
  • Energy from waste power stations in Essex and north London
  • A transport and works act order in southern England
  • Development agreement arbitrations relating to schemes in London
  • Developments affecting grade 1 listed buildings
  • Habitat regulations cases
  • Local plan promotion for a London Borough
  • Local plan objections in the Midlands.

In the field of environmental law, Matthew is ranked in Chambers and Partners as a leading silk. During 2022/3, he has been dealing with many of the issues arising from nutrient loading in the river system, whether from point source or diffuse pollution, advising local authorities, NGOs and private organisations on the issue.

In 2023, Matthew’s property practice has generally related to the cross-over between planning and property, having been involved in litigation on a number of development agreements and options. He has also advised on cases addressing the enforceability of restrictive covenants and easements.


Within the planning field, Matthew acts for both private clients and local authorities. He has wide experience in a number of forums, including:

  • Appeals
  • Called-in applications
  • High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court challenges
  • Development plan examinations
  • Enforcement matters including representation in the Magistrate, Crown and High Courts.

He has both promoted and objected to large scale housing and retail schemes, industrial developments and infrastructure projects; projects have included a large number of windfarm and renewable energy schemes as well as stadia and port developments. He has promoted waste transfer facilities through appeals and represented authorities objecting to them.  The list of his inquiries and hearings can be found here [hyperlink to cases]

Matthew has played a significant role in the development of planning law over the course of his practice.   He successfully challenged the East of England and South East England Regional Spatial Strategies on the basis of environmental impact assessment principles  He appeared in St Albans District Council v Hunston Properties [2013] EWCA 1610, the landmark decision on the interpretation of NPPF housing policy, which formulated the approach towards policy-off and policy-on housing need and requirement.   He appeared in the Supreme Court case addressing the giving of reasons in planning decisions, Dover District Council v CPRE [2017] UKSC 79. He represented the Appellant in the Supreme Court case in Lambeth Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government [2019] UKSC 33 when he acted for the Appellant in the leading decision concerned with the interpretation of planning permissions. He represented the Respondent in the Court of Appeal on the interpretation of local plan policies addressing the impact of arboriculture in development management decisions in R (Plant) v Lambeth Borough Council [2023] EWCA 809.

Matthew deals with all areas of compulsory purchase.  Particular examples are: 

  • The promotion of a compulsory purchase of land for the redevelopment proposals of a London football club
  • Objecting to a proposed compulsory purchase of a highway in the north of England
  • Litigating the compensation due for injurious affection arising from coastal erosion.

He also represents local authorities and defendants in criminal planning cases both in the Magistrates and Crown Courts and has done a large number of cases arising under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 including in the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division.

Matthew is ranked as a leading silk in the 2023 Planning Magazine Law Survey and is ranked in the specific list for residential work which contains only 25 barristers. He is a member of the Bar’s parliamentary practitioner association, the Parliamentary Bar Mess and a member of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association.


In the environmental field, Matthew has particular expertise in contaminated land matters, appearing at the first special site contaminated land case in the country, representing major corporations in contaminated land appeals and remediation notice cases and appearing in the High Court on contaminated land issues.

He was the environmental permitting (pollution) section contributor of the Oxford University Press Environmental Law and authored waste chapter of Garner’s Environmental Law.

He is listed in Chambers and Partners as a leading silk in environmental law.

He has acted on cases concerned with the permitting process in the heavy industry sector (pottery works, oil and petrochemicals).

He has dealt with major infrastructure projects in the environmental field (oil, mining, housing and rail) and has represented local authorities in a draft water resources management plan inquiry for the Thames Water area.

He has promoted a major enabling development project for a substantial contaminated land site.

He is currently advising a number of bodies on diffuse and point-source nutrient pollution.

In Matthew’s highways law practice, he has represented clients on rights of way and highway (including major road) inquiries and has appeared in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal on traffic regulation and New Roads and Street Works cases.

He was a contributor to Environmental Law (OUP, 2008) and Garner’s Environmental Law until 2016.  He is a member of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association. 


Matthew has advised on development agreements for major corporations and their interrelationship with the planning system. He has, for example, been involved in a significant arbitration concerning planning exclusions in a conditional contract.

He is regularly involved in cases involving the crossover between property law (covenants, easements and other rights) and the planning system including the following:

  • Effect of a development agreement on subsidy control legislation and governance legislation
  • The uplift payable on an option agreement
  • the need for covenants to capture development profits.

Matthew is a true cross-practice barrister, able to deal with the property, planning and environmental aspects of a project. 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.

Local Government

Matthew's local government work include compulsory purchase and compensation cases in which he has appeared at inquiries and in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). He has promoted CPOs on housing, highway and regeneration projects and acted for claimants and objectors to numerous compulsory purchase schemes. Matthew’s compensation practice has dealt with a wide-range of matters, including mining and railway projects. In Parliament, Matthew has represented local authorities objecting to Crossrail and promoting private bills in the Lords.


ADR Group Accredited Mediator


Local Government


An authoritative presence."

Chambers and Partners

Chambers Top Ranked UK Bar 2024 Uk leading silk 2024

Qualifications and achievements


  • History at King’s College, Cambridge
  • MA in Law at City University 
  • Middle Temple Jules Thorn Scholar


  • Planning and Environment Bar Association
  • United Kingdom Environmental Law Association
  • Compulsory Purchase Association
  • Parliamentary Bar Mess


Practice Managers

Contact our friendly and helpful Practice Managers for more information about our barristers and services or to make an enquiry.

Kevin Squires New background

Kevin Squires

Senior Practice Manager

020 7421 1351

Jason Allen new

Jason Allen

Senior Practice Manager

020 7421 1306

Noel Pudney new

Noel Pudney

Assistant Practice Manager

020 7421 1398

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