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Ben Fullbrook

Call: 2016
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Practice Summary

Ben practises in public, planning and environmental law. He has appeared for clients in the Magistrates’ Court, County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and the Immigration, SEN and Social Entitlement Tribunals. He has also appeared at numerous planning inquiries and hearings. Ben is regularly called upon to give advice and draft pleadings.

In September 2020, Ben was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel. Ben’s recent clients have included individual claimants and defendants, developers, environmental groups, local authorities and government departments. Ben accepts instructions on a direct access basis. Ben also has extensive experience of public inquiries and has acted as junior counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) since 2018.

Some of Ben’s notable cases include:

  • R (Cross) v Cornwall Council [2021] EWHC 1323 (Admin).  A high profile challenge to the grant of planning permission for a large dwelling in the Cornwall AONB on the grounds of failure to give reasons.  Ben acted on behalf of the successful claimant.  The case has received extensive press coverage.
  • R (Fraser) v Shropshire Council [2021] EWHC 31 (Admin).  A challenge to a grant of planning permission for Extra Care accommodation.  The claim raised issues relating to age and disability discrimination and the application of the public sector equality duty. 
  • Finney v Welsh Ministers [2020] 1 All ER 1034 (CA). A challenge to the interpretation of s.73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and one of the most significant planning judgments of 2019.  Ben successfully represented the Appellant as sole counsel.  Ben also successfully resisted an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Dulgheriu v Ealing LBC [2020] 1 WLR 609. A challenge to an order by the local council excluding protestors from the vicinity of an abortion clinic.  Ben acts for the Claimant (led by Philip Havers QC).  The claim raises significant issues in relation to Articles 9, 10 and 11 ECHR.
  • R (Langton) v SSEFRA [2019] 4 WLR 151 (CA).   A challenge to the Secretary of State’s policy on badger culling, raising important points about the Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations (led by Richard Turney).

Prior to joining Landmark, Ben worked for five years as a civil service fast-streamer at the Ministry of Defence.  His work spanned various aspects of defence and security policy and included liaison with foreign governments, dealing with public law challenges and the application of international human rights law.  Ben was also involved with the government effort to plan for the 2012 London Olympics.

Ben is the author of An Introduction to the General Permitted Development Order published in June 2021.

Planning Law

Ben has an extensive planning practice. He regularly advises clients on a wide range of planning matters, including:

  • Permitted development rights
  • Habitats Regulations
  • EIA Regulations
  • Greenbelt issues
  • Public Sector Equality Duty
  • Heritage matters and ‘enabling development’
  • Neighbourhood plans
  • Air quality issues
  • Highways
  • Interpretation of the NPPF
  • Ports and infrastructure projects
  • Community Infrastructure Levy
  • Development Consent Orders and infrastructure
  • Section 106 agreements

Ben is the author of An Introduction to the General Permitted Development Order, published in June 2021.

Ben also frequently appears for clients at planning inquiries, hearings and in the High Court.

Notable court appearances include:

  • R (Phelan) v Ealing LBC (2022).  A claim for judicial review of the decision of the Council to grant itself planning permission to redevelop its offices at Perceval House.  Among other things the claim raises issues about the interpretation of Policy D9 of the London Plan 2021 (tall buildings), the approach to the assessment of heritage impacts and reg.64 of the EIA Regulations.  Ben represents the Claimant.
  • R (Swire) v Canterbury City Council [2022] EWHC 390 (Admin).  A judicial review of the approval of a masterplan pursuant to an outline planning permission for a large development in Canterbury.  The claim raised an important issue about the interpretation of the words “in accordance with” when linked to plans approved by an outline condition.  Ben acted for the Claimant, led by Daniel Kolinsky QC.
  • Chichester District Council v SSHCLG (2021).  A successful s.288 challenge to the decision of an inspector to allow an appeal against the Council’s refusal to grant prior approval.  Ben acted on behalf of the claimant.
  • R (Cross) v Cornwall Council [2021] EWHC 1323 (Admin).  A high profile challenge to the grant of planning permission for a large dwelling in the Cornwall AONB on the grounds of failure to give reasons.  Ben acted on behalf of the successful claimant.  The case has received extensive press coverage.
  • R (Fraser) v Shropshire Council [2021] EWHC 31 (Admin).  A challenge to a grant of planning permission for Extra Care accommodation.  The claim raised issues relating to age and disability discrimination and the application of the public sector equality duty
  • R (Collins) v Conwy Council [2021].  A successful judicial review of the variation of a condition pursuant to s.73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  The claim alleged a failure to have regard to material considerations.  Ben acted for the claimant.
  • Finney v Welsh Ministers [2020] 1 All ER 1034 (CA). A challenge to the interpretation of s.73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and one of the most significant planning judgments of 2019. Ben successfully represented the Appellant as sole counsel. Ben also successfully resisted an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • R (Newman) v Braintree District Council. Ben represents the Claimant who was recently granted permission to bring a judicial review of the grant of prior approval by Braintree District Council for development purporting to fall within Class A of Sch. 2, Pt. 6 of the GPDO (agricultural and forestry). The claim raises issues regarding the extent to which a local planning authority is now obliged (following Westminster City Council v SSHCLG [2019] EWCA Civ 2250) to consider whether development falls within the definitional scope of the particular class of permitted development relied upon before it can determine the question of prior approval.

Notable inquiry appearances include

  • Land at Market Square, Basildon.  An 8 day inquiry relating to a proposal for a mixed use development in Basildon town centre, comprising 492 apartments in three blocks of up to 17 storeys.  Ben acted for the successful appellant, led by Scott Lyness QC.
  • Cattle Market, Honiton: a 6 day inquiry relating to the construction of 57 dwellings for older peoples’ accommodation in the setting of a listed building.  Ben appears as a junior to Sasha White QC.
  • Land North East of Eagles Farm, Sevenoaks: a four-day planning inquiry which considered an application to construct a gypsy/traveller site in the greenbelt. Ben acted as sole counsel for the Rule 6 party.
  • St Peters’ Church, Norwich: a planning hearing into a proposed housing development in Norwich City Centre. Ben appeared on behalf of interested parties to make submissions in respect of viability and the application of NPPF2.
  • 21 Buckle Street: Ben appeared as a junior to Christopher Katkowski QC (on behalf the appellant) at a planning inquiry relating to the construction of a multi-storey apart-hotel in Tower Hamlets.
  • 80 Dunsmure Road: Ben appeared as sole counsel for the appellants in a successful planning appeal against an enforcement notice.
  • 1 Sydenham Park: Ben appeared as sole counsel on behalf of a local planning authority at a planning hearing relating to a large urban development.

Ben is also instructed by an objector to the East Anglia ONE and East Anglia TWO Offshore DCO applications.

Public Law

Ben has a broad public law practice, which includes the following areas.

Education

Ben accepts instructions in all areas of education law and regularly appears on behalf of appellants and local authorities in EHCP appeals in the First-tier Tribunal. Ben has also acted in several High Court challenges which touch upon education matters.  He was recently instructed to represent the Secretary of State (led by Galina Ward) in response to an unsuccessful challenge by a local academy against a decision by a nearby school to open a sixth form centre: R (John Kyrle High School) v Secretary of State for Education [2019], Unreported.  He also was also granted permission to bring a claim on behalf of a large academy trust against Ofsted (although the matter has subsequently settled).

Ben is a governor at a local state primary school.

Immigration

Ben has appeared in both the High Court and Upper Tribunal in immigration judicial review proceedings.  Ben also regularly appears before the First-tier and Upper Tribunals (Immigration) for bail applications and for appeals covering all areas of immigration law.

Ben appeared for the successful appellant in MY (Suicide risk after Paposhvili) [2021] UKUT 232 (IAC) which established the test to be applied to Article 3 claims made by individuals who are at risk of suicide if returned to their home country.

Ben is currently instructed as part of a team of counsel to represent the Home Office in respect of a number of Afghan interpreters who have been refused leave to enter the UK on national security grounds.

Ben acted as sole counsel for the claimant in R (Hussein) v SSHD [2018] EWHC 2320 (Admin) – an unlawful detention claim which explored the application of the SSHD’s Adults at Risk Policy and the Hardial Singh principles.

Free Speech and Protest

Ben appeared on behalf of the claimants (led by Philip Havers QC) in Dulgheriu v Ealing LBC [2020] 1 WLR 609.  This concerned the implementation by Ealing Council of a Public Spaces Protection Order (“buffer zone”) under s.59 of the Crime Policing and Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014.  The Order prevents people from expressing views relating to abortion in the vicinity of an abortion clinic in Ealing.  The case raises important issues relating to the use of these controversial anti-social behaviour measures and articles 8 (right to private and family life),  9 (freedom of religion), 10 (freedom of expression) and 11 (freedom of assembly) of the ECHR. This case was recently considered by the Court of Appeal.  For press coverage, see here and here.  This is now proceeding to the European Court of Human Rights.

Ben is also instructed on behalf of an individual seeking to challenge a similar order which was recently imposed by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.  For press coverage, see here.

Ben was also asked to speak to members of the Irish Parliament in relation to the human rights implications of proposals to introduce nation-wide “buffer zones” outside abortion clinics in the wake of the referendum.

Equality Act

Ben has recently been instructed by several direct and indirect discrimination claims raising issues under the Equality Act, including claims touching on complex but current issues relating to transgender rights.

Public Inquiries

Ben has extensive experience of public inquiries and was first instructed as junior counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in 2018.  Since that time he has acted as junior counsel to the investigation into the Anglican Church (led by Fiona Scolding QC).  For press coverage, see here and here   He is currently instructed as junior counsel to the Inquiry’s investigations into Effective Leadership in Child Protection and Child Sexual Abuse by Organised Networks.

GDPR and Privacy

Ben has advised clients in response to claims under the GPDR and claims for breach of confidence/misuse of private information.  He is currently instructed for the claimant in R (Child B) v College of Policing, which is a claim seeking to quash the College of Policing’s guidance on the recording of “non-crime hate incidents”, particularly relating to children.  The case has received significant media coverage herehere and here (£).

Healthcare and Court of Protection

Ben is the co-author of the chapter on GP law in Lock & Gibbs, NHS Law and Practice (LAG, 2018). He regularly advises clients on matters of healthcare law, particularly ordinary residence. Ben also accepts instructions in the Court of Protection. Ben has also been appointed by the British Medical Association to independently review complaints about its service provision.

Pensions

Ben has been instructed as junior counsel by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in an ongoing judicial review relating to the Pension Protection Fund following the CJEU’s judgment in Case C-17/17 Hampshire v Board of the Pension Protection Fund.  The claim relates to the obligation on members states to provide citizens with a minimum level of pension protection, pursuant to Art. 8 of Directive 2008/94/EC.

Ben has also advised individuals and appeared in tribunal hearings in relation to Police Injury Pensions.

Environmental Law

Ben has experience in a wide range of environmental law matters.  He regularly advises clients on the application of the Habitats and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.  Ben has also represented clients in the Magistrates Court in claims brought under the Environmental Protection Act.

Notable court appearances include:

  • R (Langton) v SSEFRA [2019] EWCA Civ 1562– a claim which raised a number of important matters relating to the application of the Habitats Regulations.  This was the first case to consider the effect of the CJEU judgment in People Over Wind.  This case is pending an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • R (Langton) v Natural England [2019] EWHC 597 (Admin) – the first case which discussed how to interpret SSSI citations and the extent of statutory undertakers’ duties under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • R (Client Earth) v Environment Agency [2019] unreported – a claim relating to the application of the Industrial Emissions Directive and Best Available Techniques at the Humber Refinery. Ben was instructed on behalf of the Environment Agency and led by Tim Buley QC.  They were successful in getting permission to bring a judicial review refused.

Ben is a contributor to Garner’s Environmental Law, for which he writes the chapter on the management and shipment of waste.

Qualifications

  • BPP University, Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding) (2016)
  • BPP University, Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction) (2015)
  • University of Oxford (Hertford College), M.St in History (Distinction) (2010)
  • Durham University (St Aidan’s College), BA History (First Class) (2009)

Prizes

  • Inns of Court Debating Competition 2016 (Finalist)
  • Advocacy Scholarship (BPP University)
  • Prince of Wales Scholarship (Gray’s Inn)
  • Bar Council Law Reform Essay Competition 2014 (Winner, best GDL entry)
  • David Karmel Scholarship (Gray’s Inn)

Recommendations

“During the case, he came up against a developer on the other side who was all QC’d up. He was sole counsel and unled, and he was fantastic. I think he is very much a planning lawyer with a public law element. I was incredibly impressed with Ben.” (Research for Chambers UK Bar 2022)

“An absolute star, he is very young but brilliant, and I would sing his praises. His written work goes the extra mile. We go to him for various issues, and he always comes back intelligently and efficiently. I don’t know about his advocacy, but others speak positively of him.” (Research for Chambers UK Bar 2022)

“Both Ben Fullbrook and [a solicitor] were very well versed in the technicalities of the issues involved. I was particularly impressed with their abilities to advise a non-expert like myself on the issues involved, and their willingness to work with me out of hours to meet tight deadlines when both were also at times under severe work pressure. Moreover, the advice I was given was measured and realistic, and it was made quite clear that if I proceeded, the chance of success was no better than 50:50. As it should be, the decision was left for me to make on the basis of the evidence presented to me. At no point did I feel they were pushing me to go ahead just so they would get the business. I felt they were considering me as a person and not as a potential paying client. I was fully informed beforehand of the likely costs that would be involved in the event of my losing the case. I was also advised well with respect to Aarhus protection. I did not detect any weaknesses.” (Research for Chambers UK Bar 2022)

Publications

Books 

  • An Introduction to the General Permitted Development Order, Law Brief Publishing (June 2021).  The book is available here and here.
  • ‘GP Practice Management’ Lock and Gibbs, NHS Law and Practice (LAG, 2018), co-authored with Hannah Gibbs

Published Articles

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