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Christopher Jacobs

Call: 1994
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Practice Summary

Christopher is an experienced public and property law barrister, who has acted in numerous leading cases. He advises and represents litigants at all levels from the Supreme Court to the First Tier Tribunal.

He has particular expertise in judicial review actions and public inquiries in the field of public law.

In property law, Christopher has acted in a number of cases involving water courses and riparian rights.

In planning law matters Christopher has acted in a number of significant public inquiries dealing with compulsory purchase orders and urban regeneration schemes.

More information on specific practice areas can be found under the ‘Expertise’ tab.

Property Law

Christopher is a member of the Property Bar Association.

Christopher specialises in Water Courses and Riparian rights cases.

Christopher has advised extensively in the following areas:

  • Legal duties and obligations in relation to Ports
  • Coastal erosion
  • Commercial leases
  • Boundary disputes
  • Easements
  • Adverse possession
  • Injunctions
  • Rights of light and remedies
  • Highways

Christopher’s recent cases include:

Bernel Ltd v Canal and River Trust [2021] EWHC 16 (Ch) in which the court accepted that riparian rights can derive from artificially piped water and considered whether a claimed culverted natural watercourse was a land drain or sewer. The court also considered the acquisition of prescriptive rights to drain land by way of easement.

Hounslow LBC v Devere [2018] EWHC 1447 (Ch). [2018] L.L.R. 764. The Court considered the legal character of River Works and held that Vessel owners had trespassed onto local authority land when mooring their vessels to posts holding up a riverside walkway. However, they had not interfered with the local authority’s rights when mooring their vessels to structures which were sunk into the river bed.

Port of London Authority v Mendoza [2017] UKUT 146 (TCC) – whether the act of mooring a boat was insufficient, by itself, to evidence an intention by the boat owner to take adverse possession of the river bed beneath the boat and whether it was possible to acquire title through adverse possession to the bed of a river that was subject to public navigation rights.

In 2015 he represented the successful Respondent in the Property Tribunal in a dispute with the Port of London Authority over whether PLA was entitled to register land above Mean High Water on the Thames riverbank, Morlandia v PLA.

Christopher has advised owners of beaches and sea front land and local authorities in relation to proceedings concerning coastal erosion. He also advises in cases involving boundary dispute issues in relation to riparian land.

Christopher’s reported property cases include:

Constandas v Lysandrou [2018] EWCA Civ 613. Christopher acted for the successful Respondent in the Court of Appeal, which reviewed the test for whether a judge was entitled to resort to the burden of proof when considering a disputed claim as to beneficial ownership of a property.

Ofulue v Bossert [2009] 2 WLR 749 (House of Lords, adverse possession, acknowledgment of title)

Broomleigh Housing Association Ltd v Okonkwo [2011] C.P. Rep. 4 [2010], EWCA Civ 1113 (Civil procedure – Enforcement of costs orders after possession proceedings – making of a committal order under CPR r.71.8).

Judicial Review Claims

Christopher is a judicial review specialist. He has developed an expertise in planning and property related claims.

Christopher has developed an expertise in community care law.

Christopher frequently represents local authorities in judicial claims brought against them and regularly advises local authorities on public law related matters.

In recent months Christopher has been advising a number of businesses in relation to potential challenges arising as a consequence of the arrangements put into place by the Government as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

Recent cases in which Christopher has acted include:

R (on the application of Paling v (1) Ipswich Magistrates’ Court (2) Mid-Suffolk District Council [2021]. Christopher represented a local authority in a challenge concerning the fairness of a hearing before magistrates. The application was heard on 20 July 2021 and judgment is awaited.

(on the application of Granger-Taylor) v High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd [2020] EWHC 1442 (Admin). The Court considered a challenge to the HS2 Scheme based on inherently dangerous engineering operations in the Euston area and whether the decision to proceed amounted to a justiciable breach of the rights guaranteed to a nearby home owner under Article 8 ECHR and Protocol 1. Article 1.

(on the application of Seventeen De Vere Gardens (Management) Ltd) v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2016] EWHC 2869 (Admin). Christopher acted for the successful claimant management company in a case where a Planning Applications Committee had unlawfully declined to determine a revised application for retrospective planning permission which was subject to a pre-existing enforcement notice.

R. (on the application of Watt) v Hackney LBC [2016] EWHC 1978 (Admin) [2017] J.P.L. 192 [2016] A.C.D. 115 [2017] C.L.Y. 1754. Christopher acted for the successful Claimant in a challenge to a grant of planning permission where a daylight assessment before a planning committee had contained material errors of fact.

R (Traveller Movement) v Office of Communications [2015] EWHC 406 (Admin) –  a challenge to Ofcom’s decision not to uphold a complaint that Channel 4 had breached broadcasting standards in relation to the TV programmes  My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Thelma’s Gypsy Girls.

Venn v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] EWCA Civ 1539 | [2015] 1 W.L.R. 2328  | [2014] 11 WLUK 778 | [2015] C.P. Rep. 12 | [2015] 1 C.M.L.R. 52  | [2015] Env. L.R. 14  | [2015] J.P.L. 573 . Christopher was led by Richard Drabble QC in an important appeal (having acted for the Claimant at first instance) in relation to the scope under CPR r.45.41 of the availability of protective costs orders for environmental cases falling within the Aarhus Convention 2001

Approximately 40% of cases in which Christopher has drafted letters before claim or grounds for judicial review have resulted in Respondents conceding at the pre-action, pre-permission of post permission stages of the claim.

Public Inquiries

Christopher’s Public Inquiry work includes:

  • The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) –  Between 2018 and 2020 Christopher represented over 60 core participants in IICSA, which was the largest ever Public Inquiry in England and Wales.

Christopher represented core participants (victims and survivors, whistleblowers and senior members of staff within local authorities) in the following strands of the IICSA Inquiry.

Nottinghamshire Councils Investigation

Roman Catholic Church – Archdiocese of Birmingham Investigation

Accountability and Reparations Investigation phase 1

Roman Catholic Church. English Benedictine Congregation and Ealing Abbey

Residential Schools Investigation

Accountability and Reparations Investigation phase 2.

Roman Catholic Church – Wider Investigation

Lambeth Council Investigation

Organised Networks Investigation.

Allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone

  • Post Office Horizon IT Public Inquiry  

Since March 2021 Christopher has advised members of Justice for Sub-postmasters Alliance in relation to judicial review action concerning a March 2021 refusal by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to reconstitute the non-statutory Horizon IT inquiry into a full statutory inquiry. Following the decision of the Government to place the Inquiry on a statutory basis, Christopher has been instructed as counsel for over 130 sub-postmasters and affected core participants.

Christopher has conducted seminars and advised institutions on the criteria for Core Participant status in the forthcoming Covid-19 Public Inquiry.

Immigration

Christopher is an experienced leading junior in immigration and asylum cases. He has particular expertise in judicial review and has acted in a number of leading cases:

Binbuga v SSHD [2019] EWCA Civ 551.  Christopher acted for the appellant in a case in which the Court of Appeal considered the impact of social environment and upbringing on the ‘social and cultural integration’ test in deportation cases.   

Roszkowski v SSHD [2017] EWCA Civ 1893; [2018] 1 W.L.R. 2848; [2018] 2 All E.R. 878; [2018]. Christopher represented, as leading counsel, the successful appellant in the Court of Appeal where the Court reviewed the lawfulness of the detention of an EU national deportee following the Secretary of State’s refusal to release after a grant of bail.

(on the application of BS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 454 (Admin). Christopher acted for the successful Claimant in an unlawful detention judicial review claim where the continued detention for two months of an Indian national identified as a victim of torture, while waiting for verification of an emergency travel document application had been unlawful, in particular because SSHD had failed to act with reasonable diligence.

MSM (Somalia) v SSHD (UNHCR intervening) [2016] EWCA Civ 715.  Christopher represented, as leading counsel, the successful appellant asylum seeker in the Court of Appeal, which ruled that the principle in HJ (Iran) applies in cases where a fear of persecution arises from imputed political opinion.

Gurung & others v SSHD [2013] 1 W.L.R. 2546, [2013] I.N.L.R. 634, [2013] EWCA Civ 8, in which Christopher represented one of a number of successful dependent children of members of Her Majesty’s Brigade of Gurkhas in the Court of Appeal. The appellants were successful on an historic injustice Article 8 ECHR argument when appealing against decisions to refuse them entry to the United Kingdom in line with their parents.

Christopher has appeared as junior counsel in the House of Lords and Supreme Court on eight occasions including DD v SSHD [2012] UKSC 54; [2012] 3 W.L.R. 1263; in relation to Article 1F(C) of the Refugee Convention and international armed conflicts and Quila and others v SSHD [2011] UKSC 45, [2011] 3 WLR 836 (raising age limit for sponsoring spouse visa applications from 18 to 21). Christopher has also acted as sole counsel in a number of Country Guidance cases, in particular in relation to Sudan.

Planning Law

Christopher is a member of PEBA

Christopher specialises in Compulsory Purchase Public Inquiry work.

Christopher undertakes written work and advocacy in the following areas:

Compensation in compulsory purchase cases

Statutory Review applications under Section 288 TCPA 1990

Judicial reviews of grants of planning permission

Public Inquiries and appeals against planning decisions

Enforcement appeals and Inquiries.

Criminal proceedings in enforcement related matters.

He has represented objectors to large developments in the following inquiries:

Aylesbury Estate CPO  2016 – 2018

Harrow Manorway CPO  2018

Woodberry Down CPO  2018

Christopher is currently instructed by a freeholder in relation to the proposed demolition and redevelopment of the Cressingham Gardens Estate in Lambeth.

Christopher acted for a developer in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the meaning of reserved matters in outline applications for planning permission, Crystal Property Limited v SSCLG [2016] EWCA Civ 1265.

Christopher acted for the successful Claimant in R. (on the application of Seventeen De Vere Gardens (Management) Ltd) v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2016] EWHC 2869 (Admin) in which a Local Planning Authority decision to decline to determine a planning application under section 70C Town and Country Planning Act 1990 quashed.

Christopher acted for the successful claimant in a judicial review of LB Hackney’s decision to grant planning permission in relation to a development which concerned the application of BRE guidelines to a children’s playground, R (on the application of Watt) v Hackney LBC [2016] ACD 115.

Christopher represented the successful claimant in Venn v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWHC 3546 (Admin); [2014] J.P.L. 447 and appeared with Richard Drabble QC in the Secretary of State’s appeal in the same case – SSCLG v Venn [2015] 1 W.L.R. 2328 [2015] C.P. Rep. 12  [2015] 1 C.M.L.R. 52  [2015] Env. L.R. 14  [2015] J.P.L. 573  [2014] EWCA Civ 1539. The case concerned the scope under CPR r.45.41 of the availability of protective costs orders for environmental cases falling within the Aarhus Convention 2001

In October 2011 Christopher represented the travellers at the Dale Farm site in Basildon in proceedings in the Administrative Court and in the Court of Appeal – R (on the application of Sheridan & others) v Basildon District Council [2011] EWHC 2938 (Admin) in relation to a judicial review of enforcement action and rights of children.

Inquiries

Aylesbury Estate CPO Public Inquiry – Order not confirmed

21/09/2016

Six day public local inquiry. The Order, if confirmed, would have authorised the compulsory purchase of an area of land known in the Development Partnership Agreement as the First Development Site on the Aylesbury Estate in South East London. The Order was for the purpose of facilitating the carrying out of development, redevelopment and improvement on or in relation to the land, in particular, for the purpose of securing the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate in accordance with the provisions of the Aylesbury Area Action Plan, including the demolition of the existing residential units and the provision of a mixed tenure residential development and associated landscaping.

The Inspector recommended that the Order should not be confirmed and the Secretary of State agreed with that recommendation. The Inspector held inter alia that the acquiring authority had not taken reasonable steps to acquire land interests by agreement; that the interference with the rights of leaseholders under Article 8 and Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights was not justified and not proportionate and therefore the purposes for which the CPO was made did not sufficiently justify interfering with the human rights of lessees under section 12(2)A of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981.

The Inspector concluded that the CPO would have significant negative impacts on protected groups were it to be confirmed, thus breaching the Public Sector Equality Duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that a compelling case in the public interest for confirming the order had not been made

Christopher Jacobs acted for the successful objectors.

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Inquiries

Aylesbury Estate inquiry

13/10/2015

Christopher acted for the Aylesbury Leaseholders in the Aylesbury Estate Inquiry – decision awaited.

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Inquiries

Aylesbury Estate CPO Public Inquiry – Order not confirmed

21/09/2016

Six day public local inquiry. The Order, if confirmed, would have authorised the compulsory purchase of an area of land known in the Development Partnership Agreement as the First Development Site on the Aylesbury Estate in South East London. The Order was for the purpose of facilitating the carrying out of development, redevelopment and improvement on or in relation to the land, in particular, for the purpose of securing the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate in accordance with the provisions of the Aylesbury Area Action Plan, including the demolition of the existing residential units and the provision of a mixed tenure residential development and associated landscaping.

The Inspector recommended that the Order should not be confirmed and the Secretary of State agreed with that recommendation. The Inspector held inter alia that the acquiring authority had not taken reasonable steps to acquire land interests by agreement; that the interference with the rights of leaseholders under Article 8 and Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights was not justified and not proportionate and therefore the purposes for which the CPO was made did not sufficiently justify interfering with the human rights of lessees under section 12(2)A of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981.

The Inspector concluded that the CPO would have significant negative impacts on protected groups were it to be confirmed, thus breaching the Public Sector Equality Duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that a compelling case in the public interest for confirming the order had not been made

Christopher Jacobs acted for the successful objectors.

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Inquiries

Aylesbury Estate inquiry

13/10/2015

Christopher acted for the Aylesbury Leaseholders in the Aylesbury Estate Inquiry – decision awaited.

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