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Alex Shattock

Call: 2018
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Practice Summary

Alex’s practice focuses on public, planning and environmental law. His recent instructions include matters in the Court of Appeal, High Court, County Court, Magistrates’ Court and various tribunals. He has a particular interest in human rights, education, EU law, the environment, immigration and public international law. He has been involved in a number of widely reported judicial review challenges with a public interest element.

He has a doctorate (PhD) in public international law from Cambridge University.

Recent work includes:

  • Leadbetter v Secretary of State: Acting for the claimant in an equality challenge on behalf of a blind lady to the provision of inaccessible Covid-19 shielding information. Settled with all the claimant’s costs paid, after the government agreed to reconsider its approach and pay for detailed research into accessible shielding communications. Led by Tim Buley QC. Reported on the BBC.
  • Acting for the claimant in an environmental challenge to a segregated asylum camp built at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre. Success at the pre-action stage: the Home Office agreed to dismantle the camp having recently finished building it. Led by Alex Goodman. Reported on the BBC, Independent and Guardian.
  • Haytop Country Park: Sole counsel for Rule 6 objectors in a 7 day planning inquiry. The developer had been criminally convicted for felling 100+ protected trees in order to expand a caravan site. Cross-examination on landscape, heritage, arboriculture and planning. Opening submissions quoted in local media.
  • Acting for the claimant in various urgent judicial review and interim relief applications for failed asylum seekers requiring s.4 accommodation support.
  • Acting for the claimant in various urgent judicial review and interim relief applications in s.117 Mental Health Act cases.
  • Acting for the defendant in a challenge to a UK resettlement scheme for refugees fleeing Syria, alleging the scheme unlawfully took in too many Muslim applicants and breached public international law. Led by David Blundell QC.
  • Various age assessment challenges in the High Court and Upper Tribunal, including a systemic challenge to the procedures in place at a major age assessment centre.

Alex accepts direct access and pro bono instructions where appropriate. He is a legal reviewer for the charity Freedom From Torture and has done a lot of work with the Environmental Law Foundation.

During his doctorate he researched the legality of military intervention in civil wars. He also has law degrees from Oxford and LSE. His previously work experience includes teaching economics, working in a secure prison, and working at the Law Commission on its driverless cars project. In his spare time he enjoys films, video games, and Scandinavian heavy metal music.

Human rights and civil liberties

Alex has a keen interest in human rights, civil liberties and Equality Act issues. A lot of his work in this area is done on Legal Aid. Notable work includes:

  • Sole counsel for the claimant in numerous urgent claimant reviews of the Home Office’s failure to provide adequate accommodation to vulnerable destitute asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers. His clients in this area have included a large number of disabled and/or stateless asylum seekers with infant children. See e.g. TG v SSHD [2021] 1 WLUK 253 and K v SSHD [2020] EWHC 3639 (Admin).
  • Leadbetter v Secretary of State: Acting for the claimant in an equality challenge on behalf of a blind lady to the provision of inaccessible Covid-19 shielding information. Settled with all the claimant’s costs paid, after the government agreed to reconsider its approach and pay for detailed research into accessible shielding communications. Led by Tim Buley QC. Reported on the BBC.
  • Instructed for the claimant in an urgent Article 3 challenge to a Council’s decision to remove a homeless man on daily dialysis from a hospital without an adequate accommodation and transport package in place.
  • Instructed for the claimant in an urgent High Court challenge to a local authority and CCG’s failure to carry out an assessment under s.117 of the Mental Health Act.
  • DMA v SSHD [2020] EWHC 3416 (Admin) (interim hearing only): A successful High Court disclosure application to require the Secretary of State to release sensitive KPI data relating to its private accommodation providers for failed asylum seekers. The disclosed information was relied on heavily by the judge in the final hearing.
  • Instructed for the claimant with Justin Bates in an Equality Act challenge to a local council’s social housing allocation scheme.
  • Claimant judicial review of a trafficking ‘reasonable grounds’ decision.
  • Instructed in a claim against the Information Commissioner concerning information rights, anonymity orders, reasonable adjustments and freedom of expression. Led by Samantha Broadfoot QC and Julia Smyth.
  • Numerous unlawful detention/false imprisonment judicial reviews and damages claims.

Planning and environmental law

Alex practices in all aspects of planning and environmental law. He is particularly interested in climate change and the overlap between equality law and planning.

Notable instructions include:

  • Bioabundance v South Oxfordshire District Council: a section 113 Local Plan challenge brought on, inter alia, climate change grounds. Reported on the BBC, the Guardian and the Planner.
  • Rights: Community: Action v SSHCLG: Acting for the claimant in an environmental and equality challenge to the recent permitted development and use class changes. Led by Paul Brown QC.
  • Acting for the claimant in an environmental challenge to a segregated asylum camp built at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre. Success at the pre-action stage. Led by Alex Goodman. Reported on the BBC, Independent and Guardian.
  • Haytop Country Park: Sole counsel for a Rule 6 Party in a seven day planning inquiry in which the developer had expanded a caravan site after unlawfully felling 100+ protected trees. Cross-examination on landscape, heritage, arboriculture, and planning. Opening submissions quoted in local media.
  • Advising clients on a proposed judicial review relating to endemic river pollution.
  • Advising on the lawfulness of digital sealing of deeds for the purposes of s.106 agreements, led by Matthew Reed QC.
  • Junior on a four-day public inquiry in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire (Land south of Peafield Lane), considering issues such as highways, 5 year housing land supply, landscape and out-of-date development plan policies. Led by Heather Sargent.
  • Appearing on behalf of objectors at a public hearing at City Hall in front of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, opposing a large development of several residential tower blocks (up to 16 storeys high) along the M1 motorway.
  • Bringing a private prosecution for highway obstruction on behalf of TfL in the magistrates’ court.

Education law

Alex has a strong education law practice and been instructed on a variety of education matters. He advises individuals, schools, local authorities and the DfE. He is regularly instructed in SEN appeals and discrimination challenges in the First-tier Tribunal, involving issues such as whether an EHC plan should be made, choice of placement, overprovision, unreasonable public expenditure, and whether non-NHS approved treatments can be included in an EHC plan.

He often advises schools and local authorities on discrimination and equality issues.

He was instructed by Ofsted in a significant judicial review of a report brought by the educational establishment in question.

Immigration law

Alex regularly appears in immigration and asylum hearings, in the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and High Court. He has appeared in the Upper Tribunal in several deportation cases and has a particular expertise in cases involving the EEA Regulations.

He also regularly advises on unlawful detention and false imprisonment cases, including merits and quantum issues.

General public law

Alex has a broad public law practice and is regularly instructed in judicial review matters. Recently he has been instructed on public law cases involving elections, special educational needs assessments in schools, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, asylum and immigration, age assessments and the vires of public authority actions. Recent instructions include:

  • Advising claimants and local authorities on various data law matters,
  • A claimant judicial review challenge to a local council’s complaints handling policy,
  • Advising schools and local authorities on various public law and equality matters,
  • Several claims relating to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

He has advised on various Parish Council issues including a potential High Court application to declare that various elected officeholders acted while disqualified.

At the Law Commission, Alex was employed in the Public Law group and worked on several reform projects dealing with complex public law and regulatory problems. He is also familiar with public law issues relating to prisons, having worked for a year at HMP Hewell in Worcestershire, a Category B secure prison.

International law

Alex has an in-depth knowledge of international law. During his PhD he taught students on the undergraduate international law module. His doctoral research considered issues such as terrorism, military intervention, self-determination, neutrality and the UN Charter. He has presented his research at several academic conferences and at the UK Law Commission. His research on civil wars was cited in Professor Gray’s International Law and the Use of Force (4th ed), the leading academic textbook on military intervention.

Alex has been instructed on cases involving international human rights obligations, the extra-territoriality of UK discrimination legislation and the UNHCR. He recently acted for the defendant in a challenge to a UK resettlement scheme for refugees fleeing Syria, in which the claimant argued too many Muslim were being admitted onto the scheme in breach of equality law and public international law (Led by David Blundell QC).

He has also provided advice on a variety of public international law matters, including:

  • Advising on the application of international treaty law in the context of Brexit.
  • Advising on the scope of certain international immunities.
  • the UK treaty ratification process.
  • issues relating to the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

During pupillage Alex assisted David Blundell QC with a case concerning Palestinian refugees and the overlapping mandates of two UN organisations. He worked on cases involving passport revocations and the Royal Prerogative. He also researched the protection of children’s rights and religious freedom at a regional and international treaty level, and a variety of procedural and substantive issues in EU law, such as the use of precedent in the CJEU and the drafting history of the SEA Directive.

He is currently advising the Department for Education in relation to a number of public international law issues arising from Brexit.

Property law

Alex has worked on a variety of property cases involving issues such as historic rights of light, electricity wayleaves, conveyancers’ professional negligence, dilapidations and the new Electronic Communications Code. Recently he has been instructed in several cases involving doctors’ partnerships and NHS funding-linked rent clauses. He has also successfully resisted forfeiture on behalf of a tenant.

He has a particular interest in publicly funded housing work.

Qualifications

PhD in public international law, University of Cambridge. Supervised by Professor Christine Gray. Thesis title: The legal limits of intervention by invitation of government in civil wars. Funded by a full scholarship and maintenance grant.

BPTC, University of Law. Inns of Court Major Scholarship.

LLM in public international law, London School of Economics. 1st in year.

BA in jurisprudence, University of Oxford. New College Scholar.

Alex attended state comprehensive schools and was the first in his family to go to university.

Alex is an alumnus of the Hague Academy of International Law, a centre for advanced international legal studies based in the Peace Palace at the Hague, Netherlands. He was the only British scholar to obtain a place on the 2014 Hague Academy public international law programme.

Scholarships and prizes

Scholarships

WM Tapp Studentship in Law, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Full tuition and living costs paid for a 3-year PhD.

Lord Denning Scholarship (major Inns of Court BPTC award), Lincoln’s Inn.

Hardwicke Entrance Award, Lincoln’s Inn.

New College Scholar, New College, Oxford. For distinction in law exams.

Prizes

Opinion writing subject prize, University of Law. For the highest mark in the opinion writing exam.

Best Journal Entry prize, Legal Cheek. For an essay on sovereign immunity from domestic criminal prosecution. Presented at the ‘Legal Cheek Awards’.

Shortlisted for the Harry Porter Prize (top 3 entries), Cambridge Footlights. The Footlights’ annual prize for an original comedy play script.

Georg Schwarzenberger Prize in Public International Law, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London. For highest overall achievement in public international law across the University of London law schools in a given year.

First Prize, New Statesman/Beatrice Webb Memorial Trust Essay Competition. For an essay on post-war economic policy. £1,000 award presented in Parliament. Essay published in the New Statesman magazine.

Lawyers’ Alumni Prize, LSE. For ranking 1st out of 251 graduate law students.

Blackstone Prize, LSE. For best overall LLM results in public international law subjects.

LSE/African Prisons Project Human Rights Moot prize, LSE. Full funding for an internship in Uganda, for winning the Human Rights Moot.

Publications

The A Word: Academic Appeals in Public Law Challenges, Judicial Review.

Dinner Party Conversation’, European Journal of International Law.

Slaying the Giants’, New Statesman essay prize winner.

What would happen if the Queen went on a crime spree?’, Legal Cheek prize winner.

Inquiries

Residential scheme dismissed on appeal on grounds including unresolved highways matters

15/11/2019

The Secretary of State has dismissed an appeal seeking outline planning permission for up to 240 dwellings in the open countryside adjacent to Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire.

His Inspector noted that whilst the local planning authority did not assert that the proposal would cause an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or that the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe, there were an “unusually high” number of unresolved matters in relation to the potential highways impact of the appeal scheme. Having regard to the recent High Court judgment in Satnam Millenium Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2631 (Admin), the Inspector was not satisfied that there would not be an unacceptable effect upon highway safety or a severe residual cumulative impact on the road network.

Whilst the Inspector found that the local planning authority could demonstrate a five year housing land supply, she concluded that the ‘tilted balance’ in para. 11 of the NPPF nevertheless applied because the most important policies for determining the appeal were, taken as a whole, out-of-date. However, the Inspector’s conclusion was that the highways harm (to which she attached extremely substantial weight) together with the other harms that she had identified would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the appeal scheme.

The appeal decision can be found here.

Heather Sargent and Alex Shattock appeared for the local planning authority, Mansfield District Council.

:

Inquiries

Residential scheme dismissed on appeal on grounds including unresolved highways matters

15/11/2019

The Secretary of State has dismissed an appeal seeking outline planning permission for up to 240 dwellings in the open countryside adjacent to Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire.

His Inspector noted that whilst the local planning authority did not assert that the proposal would cause an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or that the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe, there were an “unusually high” number of unresolved matters in relation to the potential highways impact of the appeal scheme. Having regard to the recent High Court judgment in Satnam Millenium Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2631 (Admin), the Inspector was not satisfied that there would not be an unacceptable effect upon highway safety or a severe residual cumulative impact on the road network.

Whilst the Inspector found that the local planning authority could demonstrate a five year housing land supply, she concluded that the ‘tilted balance’ in para. 11 of the NPPF nevertheless applied because the most important policies for determining the appeal were, taken as a whole, out-of-date. However, the Inspector’s conclusion was that the highways harm (to which she attached extremely substantial weight) together with the other harms that she had identified would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the appeal scheme.

The appeal decision can be found here.

Heather Sargent and Alex Shattock appeared for the local planning authority, Mansfield District Council.

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