Leon Glenister

Call: 2011
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Practice Summary

Leon is a public and planning law specialist. He regularly acts in high profile and complex cases in these areas, having recently acted in the Alfie Evans litigation, the challenge to the NHS Accountable Care Organisation contract, the challenge to the Yorkshire Ripper’s move from Broadmoor to prison, and the challenge to the UNITE leadership election. He has been appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel and regularly acts for central government; and is also on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel.

He has consistently been ranked in Chambers and Partners, in the most recent edition described as a “rising star” who is “clear, concise and cuts through excess details”.

Leon is a tutor in Administrative Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. He is also a contributing author to both ‘Children’s Social Care Law’ (LAG, 2018) and ‘Adult Social Care Law’ (LAG, forthcoming).

Away from law, he is a Governor of Dr Challoner’s Grammar School (SEN and Diversity Governor and Chair of the Admissions Committee).

Recent Cases

Leon’s public law cases over the past eighteen months have included:

  • Appearing in the Supreme Court in an appeal on the scope of PIP entitlement (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v MM [2019] UKSC 34).
  • Acting for Keep the Horton General campaign group in the Court of Appeal challenging proposed reconfiguration of services at Horton General Hospital, arguing a two phase consultation on the reconfiguration was unfair (Keep the Horton General v Oxfordshire CCG [2019] EWCA Civ 646), as reported on the BBC.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Health in a declaration of parentage application which raised a novel point on the interpretation of the Human Fertility and Embryology Act 2008, in relation to same sex couples using IVF where the correct consent forms were not signed (M v W [2019] EWHC 649 (Fam)).
  • Acting in the challenge to NHS England’s Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) draft contract as being contrary to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (R (999 Call for the NHS) v NHS England [2018] EWCA Civ 2849), currently under appeal to the Supreme Court, as reported in the Guardian.
  • Acting for parents in a challenge against Somerset City Council’s funding cuts for special educational need provision, as reported on the BBC.
  • Acting in a challenge to a decision by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator to refuse jurisdiction to hear a complaint. The Administrative Court’s decision, to the effect that matters of jurisdiction are for the Court rather than rationality review, has implications for other ombudsman and adjudicator schemes (R (B) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2018] EWHC 1971 (Admin)).
  • Acting in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights in the first appeal of the declaration that removal of Alfie Evans’ life support was in his best interests (E (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 550), as widely reported in the national and international press, see BBC and the Guardian.

Leon’s planning law cases over the past eighteen months have included:

  • Successfully resisting an appeal against an Inspector’s decision to uphold an enforcement notice issued by LB Hackney in respect of unlawful development of a synagogue in East London (Meisels v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1987 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a challenge to an Inspector’s decision, successfully arguing that where there is an excess of five year housing land supply, an Inspector is not required to give increased weight to countryside policies (Eastleigh BC v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1862 (Admin)).
  • Appearing for the developer in a 6 day inquiry in respect of the redevelopment of Regent’s Wharf, a canalside office space near King’s Cross, with issues including heritage and light.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State in a challenge to an Inspector’s decision in relation to five year housing land supply and what a “clear reason” is to refuse development pursuant to paragraph 11 of the NPPF (Green Lane Chertsey (Development) Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 990 (Admin)).
  • Acting for the successful Claimant in a judicial review which quashed a Council’s grant of planning permission on the basis it failed to fully consider the noise implications of the development (R (Kerswell) v LB Lewisham [2019] EWHC 754 (Admin)).
  • Appearing for the Health and Safety Executive in a called-in inquiry on the continuation of hazardous substances consent on land close to the Silvertown Tunnel, in order for it to be safe for the tunnel to open.
  • Acting unled in the Court of Appeal for the Secretary of State in considering the scope of the Mansi doctrine in building conversions for which an enforcement notice has been issued (Oates v SSCLG [2018] EWCA Civ 2229).
  • Acting for the Secretary of State in a judicial review of the Planning Inspectorate’s decision, following the quashing of a planning appeal dealt with by Inquiry, to determine the appeal by written exchange rather than by re-opening the Inquiry. The Court gave guidance on how such decisions should be taken (R (North Norfolk District Council) v SSHCLG [2018] EWHC 2076 (Admin)).

Public and Administrative Law

The core of Leon’s practice involves public law and judicial review. He has a balanced practice, acting for claimants (individuals and companies), defendants and interested parties. He has been ranked in Chambers and Partners since 2017, and is described as a “rising star”.

He has been appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel, and therefore regularly advises and appears for Central Government departments. He is also on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel.

Leon teaches Administrative Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. He is also a contributor to ‘Children’s Social Care Law’ (LAG, 2018) and ‘Adult Social Care Law’ (LAG, forthcoming).

His recent public law cases include:

  • Appearing in the Supreme Court in an appeal on the scope of PIP entitlement (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v MM [2019] EWCA Civ 1289).
  • Acting for Keep the Horton General campaign group in the Court of Appeal challenging proposed reconfiguration of Horton General Hospital, arguing a two phase consultation was unfair (Keep the Horton General v Oxfordshire CCG [2019] EWCA Civ 646), as reported on the BBC.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Health in a declaration of parentage application which raised a novel point on the interpretation of the Human Fertility and Embryology Act 2008, in relation to same sex couples using IVF where the correct consent forms were not signed (M v W [2019] EWHC 649 (Fam)).
  • Acting in the challenge to NHS England’s Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) draft contract as being contrary to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (R (999 Call for the NHS) v NHS England [2018] EWCA Civ 2849), currently under appeal to the Supreme Court, as reported in the Guardian.
  • Acting in a challenge to a decision by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator to refuse jurisdiction to hear a complaint. The Administrative Court’s decision, to the effect that matters of jurisdiction are for the Court rather than rationality review, has implications for other ombudsman and adjudicator schemes (R (B) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2018] EWHC 1971 (Admin)).
  • Acting for Gerard Coyne in a challenge to the leadership election of UNITE the Union, in which Len McCluskey was elected, as reported on the BBC and Guardian.
  • Acting in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights in the initial appeal of the declaration that removal of Alfie Evans’ life support was in his best interests (E (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 550), as widely reported in the national and international press, see BBC and the Guardian.
  • Challenging a well-known school’s decision to withdraw admission of a student (R (LH) v X School [2017] EWHC 1985 (Admin)).
  • Acting for the Registrar General before Sir James Munby in relation to the registration of a birth following the use of donor sperm (Application K [2017] EWHC 50 (Fam)).
  • Challenging the decision of Lambeth Council to regenerate Cressingham Gardens Estate (R (Plant) v Lambeth LBC [2016] EWHC 3324 (Admin); R (Bokrosova) v LB Lambeth [2015] EWHC 3386 (Admin)) as reported in the Guardian.
  • Instructed in relation to a challenge of the Mental Health Tribunal decision to move Peter Coonan from Broadmoor back to prison, as reported widely in the national press, see BBC and the Guardian.
  • Acting in the Detained Asylum Casework litigation in the Court of Appeal (R (TH) v SSHD [2016] EWCA Civ 815).

Education

Leon is ranked by Chambers and Partners in Education Law, being described in the 2019 edition as “brilliant” and “clear, concise and cuts through excess details”.

He has practical experience of the area as a Governor of Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, and in particular acting as SEN and Diversity Governor and Head of the Admissions Committee.

Special Educational Needs

Leon regularly acts for both parents and local authorities in SEN appeals, acting both in the First Tier Tribunal, and appearing in numerous appeals before the Upper Tribunal. He acted for the successful parent in the reported case of UA v London Borough of Haringey [2016] UKUT 0087 (AAC); [2016] E.L.R 219.

He co-authors the Noddy Guide to SEN with David Wolfe QC (also published in the Education Law Journal), a widely circulated and well-respected guide to SEN law used by practitioners and judges. He also authors the chapter on special educational needs in ‘Children’s Social Care Law’ (LAG, 2018).

He often acts in judicial reviews arising from special educational needs issues. He recently acted on behalf of parents in a potential challenge to funding cuts by Somerset City Council, reported on the BBC. He also has recently acted in a judicial review in which it was alleged the local authority had ‘failed to educate’ a autistic pupil who refused to attend a PRU – the case went to the Court of Appeal on a costs issue, and Leon continued to act on that appeal.

Schools

He acts in all areas relating to schools, including admissions and exclusions. He appeared in a recent judicial review against the withdrawal of a sixth form place, made complicated by the school’s status as a city technology college: R (LH) v X School [2017] EWHC 1985 (Admin).

He recently advised the Secretary of State in relation to challenge to a decision to approve the appointment of an Interim Executive Board at a nursery school.

He has advised in numerous cases in relation to academy conversions, OFSTED and catchment areas. He has also advised the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, Teachers Regulation Agency and Secretary of State for Education on various issues.

Higher Education

Leon has acted and advised both for and against higher education institutions in a range of claims, many of which involve issues of discrimination.

He has a special expertise in the law on the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. He has acted in three of the recent reported judicial reviews of the body – R (B) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2018] EWHC 1971 (Admin) in relation to the OIA’s jurisdiction, R (Gopikrishna) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2015] EWHC 207 (Admin) in relation to fresh evidence; [2015] E.L.R. 190 and R (Mustafa) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2013] EWHC 1379 (Admin); [2013] E.L.R. 446 in relation to academic judgment and plagiarism.

Disciplinary proceedings

Leon has experience of acting in disciplinary matters involving teachers. He is currently acting in a judicial review brought against the Teaching Regulation Agency on the application of rules in proceedings against a former headteacher. He also regularly appears in appeals before the Upper Tribunal on behalf of the Disclosure and Barring Service, where a decision to place an teacher on the childrens’ barred list is challenged.

Healthcare and community care

Leon is a specialist in healthcare and related areas.

Disputes in relation to the NHS

Leon regularly acts in cases involving the rights and obligations of health bodies including NHS England, CCGs and service providers. He regularly advises in cases involving Continuing Healthcare.

Leon recently acted in the widely publicised challenge to the payment provisions of the NHS Accountable Care Organisation Contract, R (999 Call for the NHS) v NHS England [2018] EWCA Civ 2849 (see report in the Guardian), for which an appeal is pending before the Supreme Court. He has also advised more generally on the pricing provisions for the commissioning of health care services, including the National Tariff.

Leon is regularly instructed in relation to disputes on the reconfiguration to NHS services, and often consultation issues. He acted for the campaign group Keep the Horton General in the Court of Appeal in a challenge to proposed reconfiguration of Horton General Hospital, arguing a two phase consultation on the reconfiguration was unfair (Keep the Horton General v Oxfordshire CCG [2019] EWCA Civ 646).

Best interests litigation and Court of Protection

Leon acted in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights in the initial appeal of the declaration that removal of life support was in Alfie Evans’ best interests (E (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 550), in which it was argued the lack of a “significant harm” threshold before the state interfered with parental choices was discriminatory.

He also appears in the Court of Protection, acting for all sides.

Assisted reproduction

Leon has advised and appeared in cases arising from the widespread failure of clinics engaging in assisted reproduction to ensure consent forms required to grant parentage were signed. He acted on behalf of the Registrar General in proceedings relating to the registration of such births (Application K [2017] EWHC 50 (Fam)), and on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health in a case which raised a novel point on the interpretation of the Human Fertility and Embryology Act 2008, in relation to same sex couples using IVF where the correct consent forms were not signed (M v W [2019] EWHC 649 (Fam)).

Ordinary residence and section 117 aftercare services

Leon regularly advises on disputes on ordinary residence, between local authorities and between CCGs, in relation to the Care Act 2014, Children and Families Act 2014 and section 117 aftercare services.

Mental health

Leon has experience of mental health law. He was instructed in relation to a challenge of the Mental Health Tribunal decision to move Peter Coonan, the Yorkshire Ripper, from Broadmoor back to prison (see the reports on the BBC and Guardian). He assisted in the re-draft of the Reference Guide to the Mental Health Act 1983.

Ombudsman complaints

Leon has significant experience of Ombudsman complaints across areas (see further ‘Regulatory tab) and has been instructed in relation to cases arising from complaints on NHS Services to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman including R (Andrews) v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [2016] EWHC 2150 (Admin).

Housing and homelessness

Leon has been ranked by Chambers and Partners in Social Housing since 2017, described in the 2019 edition as a “rising star” who is “good at finding commercial solutions” and is “very good at the technical aspects of the law”.

He acts in cases arising from housing management (anti-social behaviour, subletting, disrepair) as well as advising on policy. He acts in judicial reviews, possession proceedings and housing injunctions, often in multi-day hearings.

Regeneration

Leon has advised and acted in relation to consultation and other issues arising from housing regeneration developments.

He acted for residents of the Cressingham Gardens Estate challenging the Council’s decision to demolish and regenerate the Estate. He acted in R (Bokrosova) v London Borough of Lambeth [2015] EWHC 3386 (Admin); [2016] P.T.S.R. 355; [2016] HLR 10, challenging the Council’s withdrawal of a potential option midway through a consultation exercise; and R (Plant) v Lambeth London Borough Council [2016] EWHC 3324 (Admin), challenging the Council’s decision to regenerate despite it not meeting the objectives set out at the outset of the consultation exercise.

He continues to advise in respect of numerous regeneration projects, including recently on the impact of the Mayor of London’s proposal to require a resident ballot for GLA funding.

Housing management

From early in his career, Leon has acted in cases relating to housing management, both in possession and injunction proceedings, including multi-day trials. He has significant experience advising and acting in cases involving anti-social behaviour, subletting and disrepair; and, consistent with his wider public law practice, has an in-depth knowledge of human rights and equality arguments.

Homelessness

Leon regularly acts in homelessness challenges, for both adults and children, and was successful in R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 1848 (Admin) dealing with a section 17 assessment and decision. He also appeared in the leading case on interim accommodation where a parent does not have the “right to rent”: N v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 2559 (Admin).

Allocations and policy

Leon has advised local authorities on various housing policies. He has often advised in relation to potential discrimination points in allocations policies; and has advised on other matters such as policies on parking.

Local government

Local government law forms a core part of Leon’s practice through various areas of law. For more specific areas of practice, please see other tabs Education, Housing and homelessness, Healthcare and community care, Licensing and Planning and Environment. He has extensive experience in challenges to Cabinet decisions, and has taken a keen interest in challenges to funding cuts.

Some examples of his recent cases involving local government are:

  • Acting on behalf of parents in a potential challenge to funding cuts by Somerset City Council, reported on the BBC.
  • Challenging Oxfordshire CCG’s decision to reconfigure services at the Horton General Hospital (R (Cherwell DC) v Oxfordshire CCG [2017] EWHC 3349 (Admin)), as reported on the BBC. The Court of Appeal will hear a substantive appeal in March 2019.
  • Acting in a judicial review in which it was alleged the local authority had ‘failed to educate’ a autistic pupil who refused to attend a PRU – the case went to the Court of Appeal on a costs issue, and Leon continued to act on that appeal.
  • Advising a Council on the whether it could restrict the filming of Council meetings.
  • Acting on behalf of a Council, defending a decision not to refer a healthcare matter to the Secretary of State.
  • Challenging the decision of Lambeth Council to regenerate Cressingham Gardens Estate (R (Plant) v Lambeth LBC [2016] EWHC 3324 (Admin); R (Bokrosova) v LB Lambeth [2015] EWHC 3386 (Admin)) as reported in the Guardian.
  • Acting for the Council inR (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 1848 (Admin), dealing with a section 17 assessment and decision.

Immigration

Leon acts both for and against the Secretary of State in all areas of immigration.

He successfully acted in the Court of Appeal in the Detained Asylum Casework litigation: R (TH and ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 815.

He regularly acts in judicial reviews in the Upper Tribunal in all types of cases relating to the Immigration Rules. For example he appeared for the Secretary of State in the reported decision of R (Ayache) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKUT 122, in respect of the relationship between paragraph 353 and 94B of the Immigration Rules.

He is currently acting in the widely reported appeal by Antonia Ilia, a former Greek judge, of a refusal of asylum on political grounds.

He also acted in XEM v Home Office [2016] EWHC 2622 (QB) as to whether a damages claim for unlawful detention which follows a judicial review claim is an abuse of process.

He is currently acting in the first ever appeal hearing arising from a penalty notice issued to a landlord for granting a tenancy to an individual without leave to remain, contrary to the Immigration Act 2015.

Prisons

Leon acts in cases involving prisons. He continues to act in R (Berkeley-Matthews) v HMP Wynott, in which it is alleged a prison’s policy on opening legal mail is unlawful.

He also has experience acting in judicial reviews of the Parole Board. He acted in R (Nash) v Parole Board in which it was argued there was a right to make representations before a hearing was adjourned; and in R (Kenealy) v Parole Board where a challenge was made to a finding on risk.

Regulatory

Leon has extensive experience of regulatory disputes.

Ombudsman and adjudicator proceedings

Leon has extensive experience of Ombudsman and other adjudicator proceedings, having recently acted for and against the Legal Ombudsman, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Pubs Code Adjudicator.

He has a special expertise in the law around the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. He has acted in three of the recent reported judicial reviews of the body – R (B) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2018] EWHC 1971 (Admin) in relation to the OIA’s jurisdiction, R (Gopikrishna) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2015] EWHC 207 (Admin) in relation to fresh evidence; [2015] E.L.R. 190 and R (Mustafa) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2013] EWHC 1379 (Admin); [2013] E.L.R. 446 in relation to academic judgment and plagiarism.

Leon appeared in R (Kerman and Co LLP) v The Legal Ombudsman [2014] EWHC 3726 (Admin); [2015] 1 W.L.R. 2081 one of the first judicial review challenges to the Legal Ombudsman. He subsequently acted for a well known firm in another judicial review against the Legal Ombudsman which led to a favourable settlement.

Professional disciplinary matters

Leon also has experience of professional disciplinary matters.

He is currently acting in a judicial review brought against the Teaching Regulation Agency on the application of rules in proceedings against a former headteacher. He has also been instructed on behalf of an anti-fracking expert in disciplinary proceedings before the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Leon appeared in R (Kerman and Co LLP) v The Legal Ombudsman [2014] EWHC 3726 (Admin); [2015] 1 W.L.R. 2081 one of the first judicial review challenges to the Legal Ombudsman. He subsequently acted for a well known firm in another judicial review against the Legal Ombudsman which led to a favourable settlement. He also appeared for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in R (Andrews) v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [2016] EWHC 2150 (Admin).

Information

Leon is regularly instructed on disputes involving information law, both under the Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000. He has acted for DVLA in tribunal proceedings arising from FoI requests, including Steel v ICO and DVLA EA/2016/0295 and Matveyev v ICO and DVLA EA/2016/0268. He has previously successfully defended a housing association in a claim for damages arising under the Data Protection Act: Hibbert v East Homes.

Licensing

Leon regularly appears before Council licensing committees and is adept at dealing with and overcoming objections on a variety of licensing applications.

Leon recently acted for two market traders who successfully challenged the Market Rasen Town Council’s decision to revoke their license (see news article here).

Social security

Leon has acted in relation to a range of social security cases, particular where there is and an overlap with social housing law.

He appeared in the Supreme Court in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v MM [2019] UKSC 34, which considered the difference between “prompting” and “social support” in the context of the PIP regulations.

Planning and Environment Law

Leon is well known in the planning and environmental field, having acted in a variety of recent high profile cases. He is particularly adept at dealing with public law arguments arising in planning disputes.

His recent cases include:

  • Successfully resisting an appeal against an Inspector’s decision to uphold an enforcement notice issued by LB Hackney in respect of unlawful development of a synagogue in East London (Meisels v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1987 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a challenge to an Inspector’s decision, successfully arguing that where there is an excess of five year housing land supply, an Inspector is not required to give increased weight to countryside policies (Eastleigh BC v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1862 (Admin)).
  • Appearing for the developer in a 6 day inquiry in respect of the redevelopment of Regent’s Wharf, a canalside office space near King’s Cross, with issues including heritage and light.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State in a challenge to an Inspector’s decision in relation to five year housing land supply and what a “clear reason” is to refuse development pursuant to paragraph 11 of the NPPF (Green Lane Chertsey (Development) Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 990 (Admin)).
  • Acting for the successful Claimant in a judicial review which quashed a Council’s grant of planning permission on the basis it failed to fully consider the noise implications of the development (R (Kerswell) v LB Lewisham [2019] EWHC 754 (Admin)).
  • Appearing for the Health and Safety Executive in a called-in inquiry on the continuation of hazardous substances consent on land close to the Silvertown Tunnel, in order for it to be safe for the tunnel to open.
  • Acting unled in the Court of Appeal for the Secretary of State in considering the scope of the Mansi doctrine in building conversions for which an enforcement notice has been issued (Oates v SSCLG [2018] EWCA Civ 2229).
  • Acting for the Secretary of State in a judicial review of the Planning Inspectorate’s decision, following the quashing of a planning appeal dealt with by Inquiry, to determine the appeal by written exchange rather than by re-opening the Inquiry. The Court gave guidance on how such decisions should be taken (R (North Norfolk District Council) v SSHCLG [2018] EWHC 2076 (Admin)).
  • Challenging the decision of Lambeth Council to regenerate Cressingham Gardens Estate (R (Plant) v Lambeth LBC [2016] EWHC 3324 (Admin); R (Bokrosova) v LB Lambeth [2015] EWHC 3386 (Admin)) as reported in the Guardian.

High Court challenges

Leon regularly appears in High Court planning challenges.

He acted in Oates v SSCLG [2018] EWCA Civ 2229, unled in the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting an appeal on the basis the Mansi doctrine applied where an enforcement notice had been issued for a converted building. The High Court decision, Oates v SSCLG [2017] EWHC 2716 (Admin), gave new guidance on the nullity/invalidity distinction in enforcement notices, which remains good law as it was not considered by the Court of Appeal.

He appeared for the successful Claimant in R (Kerswell) v LB Lewisham [2019] EWHC 754 (Admin), a judicial review which quashed the Council’s grant of planning permission for a neighbouring roof terrace, on the basis the Council failed to consider the noise implications of the proposal.

He also recently appeared in R (North Norfolk District Council) v SSHCLG [2018] EWHC 2076 (Admin), where the Administrative Court gave guidance on how PINS decides what mode of determination to adopt where a planning appeal decision has been quashed following an inquiry.

He appeared in Green Lane Chertsey (Development) Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 990 (Admin), a challenge to the Inspector’s consideration of five year housing land supply, which also considered what constitutes a “clear reason” to refuse permission.

In Eastleigh BC v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1862 (Admin), Leon successfully argued that where there is an excess of five year housing land supply, an Inspector is not required to give increased weight to countryside policies. The case also involved the interpretation of an accessibility policy.

He also recently appeared in Meisels v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1987 (Admin), an enforcement appeal, where he successfully resisted an appeal against an Inspector’s decision to uphold an enforcement notice issued by LB Hackney in respect of unlawful development of a synagogue in East London.

He represented the developer in Mendoza v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, a section 288 appeal in respect of the conversion of the upstairs of a pub to flats, which was conceded following the grant of permission. He continues to act for a resident in a judicial review of a Council’s grant of planning permission for a roof terrace to be built adjoining their bedroom, for which a substantive hearing is upcoming.

He regularly provides advice on High Court challenges, and has also appeared at permission hearings including successfully resisting permission in Bartlett Total Build v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government concerning the point at which intensification of use constitutes a change of use; in Park Lane Homes Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government concerning the correct application of the ‘tilted balance’ for sustainable development; and in Butt v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in relation to the documents an Inspector took into account.

He has experience of compulsory purchase orders, acting for the Secretary of State in an appeal against an Inspector’s confirmation of an CPO in Aziz v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Inquiries

Leon often appears at inquiries. He has recently acted unled for Health and Safety Executive in a called-in inquiry on the continuation of hazardous substances consent on land close to the Silvertown Tunnel, in order for it to be safe for the tunnel to open.

He was also recently instructed, as junior Counsel to Christopher Katkowski QC, for the developer in a 6 day inquiry in respect of the redevelopment of Regent’s Wharf, a canalside office space near King’s Cross, with issues including heritage and light.

He has previously successfully appeared for a local authority in relation to its refusal to discharge a planning obligation where a lawful development certificate had been granted (Nodwood House).

In August 2019, Leon will appear for a Rule 6 party at an inquiry in relation to a major housing development in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, with issues including heritage and ecology.

Enforcement

Leon regularly acts in enforcement proceedings before the Magistrates Court in respect of alleged breaches of an enforcement notice.

He acted in Oates v SSCLG [2018] EWCA Civ 2229, unled in the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting an appeal on the basis the Mansi doctrine applied where an enforcement notice had been issued for a converted building. The High Court decision, Oates v SSCLG [2017] EWHC 2716 (Admin), gave new guidance on the nullity/invalidity distinction in enforcement notices, which remains good law as it was not considered by the Court of Appeal.

He also recently appeared in Meisels v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1987 (Admin), where he successfully resisted an appeal against an Inspector’s decision to uphold an enforcement notice issued by LB Hackney in respect of unlawful development of a synagogue in East London.

Regeneration and consultation

Leon has advised and acted in relation to consultation and other issues arising from housing regeneration developments.

He acted for residents of the Cressingham Gardens Estate in challenging the Council’s decision to demolish and regenerate the Estate. He acted in R (Bokrosova) v London Borough of Lambeth [2015] EWHC 3386 (Admin); [2016] P.T.S.R. 355; [2016] HLR 10, challenging the Council’s withdrawal of a potential option midway through a consultation exercise; and R (Plant) v Lambeth London Borough Council [2016] EWHC 3324 (Admin), challenging the Council’s decision to regenerate despite it not meeting the objectives at the outset of the consultation exercise.

He continues to advise in respect of numerous regeneration projects, including recently on the impact of the Mayor of London’s proposal to require a resident ballot for GLA funding.

Highways

Leon acts where there are issues relating to highways. For example he recently advised a local authority on a new parking scheme where there was a conflict with existing Traffic Regulation Orders; he has advised on whether the Council or police were able to prevent a bridge being used for heavy goods to be delivered; and has acted in an Upper Tribunal referral pursuant to the Land Acquisition Act 1973 in relation to compensation due following the widening of the M25.

Property Law

Leon’s practice encompasses property law, particularly where there is an overlap with public and planning law. He is particularly known for his work in social housing matters, having been ranked by Chambers and Partners in the area since 2017, described in the 2019 edition as a “rising star” who is “good at finding commercial solutions” and is “very good at the technical aspects of the law”. For further details of his social housing practice, see the section under ‘Public and Administrative Law’.

He has significant experience in possession proceedings, trespass, prohibition notices, forfeiture, enforcement notices and anti-social behaviour.

Examples of his recent experience includes:

  • Acting in the first ever appeal hearing arising from a penalty notice issued to a landlord for granting a tenancy to an individual without leave to remain, contrary to the Immigration Act 2015.
  • Advising a local authority in relation to a license held by a well known local charity who had occupied premises in disrepair for over a decade.
  • Advising a landlord in relation to its right to regain possession of a school site.
  • Acting for a property owner in a claim for damages arising from building work on his neighbour’s property.
  • Acting for the landlord in relation to an alleged repudiatory breach of contract involving a six figure holiday let.
  • Advising the freeholder in complex forfeiture proceedings in relation to a Chinese restaurant and karaoke bar.
  • Advising on a potential appeal to the Court of Appeal in a damages claim arising from a nuisance caused by water damage.
  • Acting for Aviva Insurance in obtaining possession against squatters in their Norwich building. See the Norwich Evening News article here.
  • Acting for the landlord in the Court of Appeal on the question of non-attendance at a possession trial: Fernandes v Kenny [2012] EWCA Civ 910.

Qualifications

  • LLM (Master of Law) – Churchill College, University of Cambridge
  • MA (Law) – Churchill College, University of Cambridge
  • ADR Group Accredited Mediator 

Professional awards

  • Certificate of Recognition (Bar Pro Bono Unit, November 2017)

Academic Scholarships

  • Wolfson Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Sir Thomas More Bursary (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Hardwicke Entrance Award (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Wright Rogers Scholarship (Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge)
  • Churchill College Scholarship (Churchill College, University of Cambridge)
  • Sir Judge David Stokes Scholarship (Churchill College, University of Cambridge) 

Professional Associations

  • The Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Young Public Lawyers Group
  • Burma Justice Committee
  • Human Rights Lawyers Association

Recommendations

“a rising star”; “clients really appreciate his calming influence and professionalism”; “liked by clients and good on the technical aspects of cases”; “good at finding commercial solutions”; “brilliant – you couldn’t ask for a nicer and easier-to-work-with barrister”; “clear, concise and cuts through excess details”; “clear advice and responds in a timely manner” Chambers & Partners, 2019

“a rising star”; “strong advocacy”; “never fazed by anything, he is appreciated by clients for his calming influence”; “approachable and always works well with clients and witnesses”; “he’s diligent, very hard-working, knowledgeable about the law and someone who has a very good way with clients” Chambers & Partners, 2018

“a rising star”, “his submissions are fantastic and his advocacy skills are brilliant” Chambers & Partners, 2017

“brainy” The Guardian

Publications

Leon regularly writes and comments for national and international publications, recently being quoted by CNBC, The Times, The Guardian and The Financial Times. He has also appeared as a legal expert on Sky News. His recent publications include:

4 June 2015 How unlawful are quashed legal aid regulations? (Law Society Gazette) 

12 March 2015 Is academic judgment now open to legal challenge? (Times Higher Education) 

5 December 2014 Why the Scott Panetti case strikes at the heart of the death penalty debate (Amnesty International blog) 

4 December 2014 Challenging an error of fact (Local Government Lawyer) 

31 July 2014 The latest on cuts -The Lincolnshire libraries case (Local Government Lawyer) 

5 August 2013 Respect for the home as a defence in eviction proceedings (Solicitors Journal)

30 May 2013 A right to one’s own image? (The Times)

4 April 2013 Acting on housing fraud (Solicitors Journal)

12 October 2012 Squatting on commercial premises – social nuisance or social utility? (The Guardian)

8 June 2011 Care homes crisis points to dangers in the big society (The Guardian)

23 February 2011 Crisis of identity: why English law needs to protect our personalities (The Guardian)

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