Katherine Olley

Call: 1999
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Practice Summary

Kate is an established and highly experienced practitioner dealing with most of the areas of work for which Chambers is recognised. She is valued for her judgement, good legal sense, the clarity of her advocacy and written advice, and for her approachability and excellent client care.

Kate’s practice is heavily focused on planning & environmental law at Inquiry level and in the higher courts. She has a particular interest in planning inquiries (especially housing schemes and tall buildings) and appeared at the Swiss Cottage tall building inquiry (100 Avenue Road). She is currently instructed by Wirral Council in connection with preparation of its Local Plan.

Kate is currently acting on behalf of the developer (Nam Sang Wai Development Company Limited) in a complex and lengthy planning appeal due to be heard in May 2019. The case concerns the development of part of the site (2,531 residential units) in order to facilitate the long-term conservation and management of an internationally important wetland near the border between Hong Kong and the PRC and raises many ecological issues.

Kate appeared on her own in the Supreme Court in C v Secretary of State for Justice [2016] UKSC 2 (concerning the principle of open justice and cases brought by mental health patients) and in the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal in Designing Hong Kong Ltd [2018] HKCFA 16 (which made the law on protective costs orders/cost capping orders for Hong Kong). She also acted for the successful claimant in R (Roszkowski) v SSHD [2017] EWCA Civ 1893 (concerning the ability of the Secretary of State to intervene in certain circumstances in grants of bail made by Immigration Judges and raising constitutional law issues).

Kate practises both in the UK and internationally. In February 2015 she was called to the Hong Kong Bar and is one of a very small group of barristers who are dual-qualified in both England & Wales and Hong Kong and hence able to accept instructions in Hong Kong cases without the need to seek ad hoc admission from the Hong Kong Bar Association.

A keen Mandarin speaker, Kate welcomes instructions from overseas clients with business interests in London, Birmingham and the rest of the UK.

Kate is also becoming involved in planning and urban design projects in the Middle East.

View Katherine’s profile on our International site

Planning and Environment

Kate has appeared at many planning inquiries on behalf of developers, local authorities and third parties and also has extensive experience of high court work in the planning & environmental context dating back to the very beginning of her practice. She has regularly advised the Environment Agency and also Defra and she co-writes the judicial review chapter of Garner’s Environmental Law.

She has a particular interest in planning inquiries (housing schemes and tall buildings) and Local Plan Examinations, and has expertise in enforcement appeal inquiries and related matters (see for example Alderson v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017] EWHC 1415). In July 2015 she represented most of the Rule 6 parties at the Swiss Cottage tall building Inquiry (the 100 Avenue Road site). She is currently instructed by Wirral Council in connection with the preparation of its Local Plan.

Recent work includes bringing a successful judicial review on behalf of individuals who sought to challenge a grant of outline planning permission, which achieved the result of the local planning authority agreeing to revoke the planning permission before the challenge was considered by the court on the papers. Kate successfully acted for the claimant in David Pearl v Maldon District Council [2018] EWHC 212, in which the court found that the local authority’s chief executive had failed to exercise the discretion entrusted to her (endorsing a recommendation given for reasons that were not disclosed to her) and the decision was quashed for lack of adequate reasoning.

Kate recently acted for the claimant Able UK Ltd in a successfully compromised judicial review claim surrounding the validity of a planning permission. She acted for the local authority in Cheshire East Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2018] EWHC 1524, concerning paragraph 198 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Kate regularly advises in relation to a very wide range of issues, for example the Use Classes Order, obtaining Lawful Development Certificates, Permission in Principle, permitted development rights, Tree Preservation Orders and the lawfulness of local authority and planning inspector’s decisions. She has advised in relation to basement development applications in Kensington & Chelsea and matters raising issues of daylight and overshadowing.

She has advised in relation to Neighbourhood Development Plans and conducted a mediation between a local authority and a would-be Neighbourhood Forum, successfully avoiding a judicial review.

Kate has expanded her planning practice to Hong Kong. She was instructed by the Hong Kong Government in Jonnex v Town Planning Board [2018] HKCFI 62 (in relation to a challenge to the refusal to re-zone a site on   an Outline Zoning Plan on Hong Kong island), and is instructed by the Hong Kong Government in the forthcoming judicial review in Royal Billion Investment v Town Planning Board.

Kate is currently acting for the developer, Nam Sang Wai Development Company Limited, in a lengthy planning appeal (equivalent to a Planning Inquiry procedure) due to be heard for 4 weeks in May 2019. The appeal concerns the proposed development of a part of the Nam Sang Wai site in order to facilitate the long-term conservation and management of an internationally important wetland (part of which is a Ramsar site). The case raises many important ecological issues.

Kate also acted for Designing Hong Kong Ltd, a Hong Kong planning & environmental NGO, in a judicial review in which the applicant applied for a Protective Costs Order. The matter was heard by the Court of Final Appeal (Hong Kong’s Supreme Court equivalent) in April 2018 and made the law on protective costs orders/cost capping orders for Hong Kong: Designing Hong Kong Ltd v Town Planning Board and Secretary for Justice [2018] HKCFA 16.

Public

Kate is a judicial review specialist, with extensive experience covering the fields of planning& environmental, mental health, prisons, education (including special educational needs), asylum & immigration (including cases involving national security), social security, community care, prisons and general local government including the political balance of committees and issues of local government finance.

Kate successfully appeared as sole Counsel in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Ministry of Justice in C v Secretary of State for Justice [2016] UKSC 2, in which it was established that there is no presumption of anonymity in civil proceedings in the High Court relating to patients detained in psychiatric hospitals or otherwise subject to compulsory powers under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Before deciding to focus on expanding her international practice in Hong Kong she served on the Attorney-General’s Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown, acting for a wide range of Central Government departments and agencies (including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Home Office, Environment Agency, Defra, Department of Transport, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Treasury, Department of Education and the Ministry of Justice). She has been ‘DV’ cleared since 2007 and has conducted extensive exculpatory reviews in the context of appeals to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Kate was heavily involved in the challenge brought by Bank Mellat against the 2011 and 2012 Financial Restrictions Orders imposed by HM Treasury restricting all Iranian financial institutions from accessing financial markets in the UK and also the US$4bn damages claim brought as a result of the Supreme Court decision in relation to the 2009 Financial Restriction Order affecting Bank Mellat.

Kate has also regularly acted for individual claimants, instructed amongst others by the Public Law Project, Birnberg Peirce, Leigh Day and Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd. She has represented appellants in the Immigration & Asylum Chamber and Upper Tribunal and also has very extensive experience in unlawful detention claims. She is a former Chair of the Free Representation Unit and represented FRU on the then Attorney-General’s Pro Bono Co-ordinating Committee.

Kate has substantial knowledge of the law of cost capping orders. In Hong Kong she acted for Designing Hong Kong Ltd, a Hong Kong planning & environmental NGO, in a judicial review in which the applicant applied for a Protective Costs Order. The matter was heard by the Court of Final Appeal (Hong Kong’s Supreme Court equivalent) in April 2018 and made the law on protective costs orders/cost capping orders for Hong Kong: Designing Hong Kong Ltd v Town Planning Board and Secretary for Justice [2018] HKCFA 16. The arguments and judgements drew heavily on the English (and Australian) jurisprudence from Corner House onwards.

She also has substantial experience in safeguarding matters and appeared many times in the Upper and First-tier Tribunals dealing with these issues and conducting appeals brought against placement on the Children’s and/or Adults’ Barred Lists under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (and its predecessor legislation providing for the PoVA, PoCA and List 99 schemes).

Property

Kate has experience in all areas of property-related work including easements, restrictive covenants, general landlord & tenant (residential and commercial) and adverse possession (in which she has a special interest). She also has experience in nuisance claims. She has acted for the landlord in several  successfully compromised ground (f) renewal cases. She is regularly instructed to advise on the construction of various lease clauses.

She has regularly advised in cases where expertise in the areas of crossover between property law and planning/public law is important, or where knowledge of all these areas is required.

She has acted (with another member of Chambers) in relation to an issue of potential airport expansion, advising on both the property and public law issues.

Freedom of Information/Data Protection

Kate is very familiar with information law and acted for the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Cabinet Office in DECC v Information Commissioner, calling the former Head of the Home Civil Service as a witness.

She was also junior counsel for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (led by Daniel Alexander QC), seeking to uphold the earlier decision of the Information Tribunal in the Court of Appeal.

She has advised on the issue of CCTV camera surveillance in the context of the data protection principles.

Kate recently acted for NHS England in an appeal brought against a decision made in reliance on s12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

International

Kate is a member of Parkside Chambers in Hong Kong where she is developing a wide-ranging civil practice. She is the co-author of ‘Planning Law in Hong Kong’, Lexis Nexis April 2018 and co-updated the new edition of ‘Judicial Review in Hong Kong’, Lexis Nexis June 2014. She is also the author of LexisNexis’ online Practical Guidance: Judicial Review.

As part of the process of admission to the Hong Kong Bar, Kate studied many areas of Hong Kong law (including property, equity and trusts, constitutional and administrative and company law) and is well placed to advise on the interface between UK and Hong Kong law. She can accept instructions from both UK-based and HK-based clients. She speaks Mandarin and basic Cantonese.

Kate has appeared in Hong Kong in judicial review matters (in planning and other fields) in the Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal. She acts for the developer (Nam Sang Wai Development Company Limited) in a lengthy planning appeal to be heard before the Town Planning Appeal Board in May 2019.

Kate conducted many training sessions on the European Convention on Human Rights for local lawyers, judges and NGO representatives in various countries including Albania, Turkey, Ukraine, Kosovo, the Caucasus and the Russian Federation, invited by the Council of Europe’s Directorate General of Human Rights.

In 2002 Kate was the Pegasus Scholar to Hong Kong where she worked as a judicial assistant to Frank Stock VP (as he then was) in the Court of Appeal.

Mediation

Kate has been a CEDR-accredited mediator since 2005 and was a delegate to the South Asia Regional ADR conference. She also organised mediation training in Pakistan including for an NGO (the Aurat Foundation) based in Peshawar in North-West Frontier Province. Her experience of mediation has largely focused on planning and property-related matters but she does not limit her interest to the resolution of cases in any particular area of law. Indeed her expertise in the area of public and administrative law gives her special insight into the context underlying matters in that area. She has mediated disputes between a local authority and a neighbourhood development forum, successfully avoiding a judicial review, and other disputes between local authorities and various groups. She also has experience of mediation in Hong Kong.

Qualifications

Kate graduated with First Class Honours from St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University (Chinese Studies).

She completed her CPE/Diploma in Law at City University and was called to the Bar (England & Wales) by Middle Temple in 1999.

In 2014 she passed the Hong Kong Bar Examinations for Overseas Practitioners and in 2015 she was called to the Hong Kong Bar. She is a member of Parkside Chambers in Hong Kong.

In 2005 she became a CEDR-accredited mediator.

Recommendations

Kate has been recognised in the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 directories since 2005 as a leading junior in the fields of administrative and public law, local government and education:

“she can win very difficult and complex cases with her brilliant advocacy”

“a persuasive advocate whose skeleton arguments and written advice are of a very high standard” 

“has excellent communication skills and deals with very difficult clients with ease”

 “knowledgeable, committed and well-prepared”

 “highly impressive” 

“a rising star”  

“gives clear and precise advice”  

“is admired for the breadth of her practice”  

“popular among sources for being unflappable: ‘She is not fazed by someone throwing a spanner in the works halfway through a case and can immediately see a simple solution to any obstructions in the road- she has total mastery of her brief’.”

Inquiries

Swiss Cottage tall building Inquiry

14/07/2015

Kate Olley represented most of the Rule 6 parties at the Swiss Cottage tall building Inquiry (the 100 Avenue Road site).

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Inquiries

Swiss Cottage tall building Inquiry

14/07/2015

Kate Olley represented most of the Rule 6 parties at the Swiss Cottage tall building Inquiry (the 100 Avenue Road site).

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