Leon’s practice spans Chambers’ practice areas, with a particular focus on Public and Planning Law. His cases in 2018 have included the Alfie Evans litigation, the challenge to the NHS Accountable Care Organisation contract and the challenge to the UNITE leadership election. He has been appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel.
Leon is also a tutor in Administrative Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. He is also a contributing author to ‘Children’s Social Care Law’ (LAG, 2018).
Away from law, he is a Governor of Dr Challoner’s Grammar School.
Leon is regularly instructed in high profile public and planning law litigation. His work over the last two years has included:
- 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  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  EWHC 2076 (Admin)).
- 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  EWHC 1971 (Admin)).
- 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)  EWCA Civ 550), as widely reported in the national and international press, see BBC and the Guardian.
- Challenging 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  EWHC 1067 (Admin)), as reported in the Guardian and the Health Service Journal.
- Acting in what is now the leading case on whether a defective enforcement notice issued by a local authority is a nullity (Oates v SSCLG  EWHC 2716 (Admin)).
- Challenging Oxfordshire CCG’s decision to reconfigure services at the Horton General Hospital (R (Cherwell DC) v Oxfordshire CCG  EWHC 3349 (Admin)), as reported on the BBC. An appeal has been made to the Court of Appeal.
- Challenging a well-known school’s decision to withdraw admission of a student (R (LH) v X School  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  EWHC 50 (Fam)).
- Challenging the decision of Lambeth Council to regenerate Cressingham Gardens Estate (R (Plant) v Lambeth LBC  EWHC 3324 (Admin); R (Bokrosova) v LB Lambeth  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  EWCA Civ 815).
Public and Administrative Law
The core of Leon’s practice involves public law. He has a balanced practice, acting for claimants (individuals and companies), defendants and interested parties.
He has been appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel, and therefore regularly advises and appears for Central Government departments.
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).
Leon is ranked by Chambers and Partners in Education Law, being described as a “’rising star’ in education law”, who is “diligent, very hard-working, knowledgeable about the law, and someone who has a very good way with clients”.
Leon regularly acts for both parents and local authorities in the SENDIST. 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 appears in both the FTT and the UT, and acted for the successful parent in the appeal UA v London Borough of Haringey  UKUT 0087 (AAC);  E.L.R 219.
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  EWHC 1985 (Admin).
Leon acts in higher education disputes, both in claims against universities and proceedings involving the OIA. He acted in R (B) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator  EWHC 1971 (Admin), R (Gopikrishna) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator  EWHC 207 (Admin);  E.L.R. 190 and R (Mustafa) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator  EWHC 1379 (Admin);  E.L.R. 446.
He also is regularly instructed in discrimination cases in both the SENDIST and the County Court.
Healthcare and community care
Leon recently acted in the widely publicised challenge to the NHS Accountable Care Organisation Contract, for which an appeal application is currently pending before the Court of Appeal: R (999 Call for the NHS) v NHS England  EWHC 1067 (Admin)), as reported in the Guardian and the Health Service Journal..
Leon is regularly instructed in relation to disputes on the reconfiguration to NHS services. Leon is regularly instructed in relation to disputes on the reconfiguration to NHS services. He acted for the campaign group Keep the Horton General in a judicial review to remove services from Horton General Hospital (R (Cherwell DC) v Oxfordshire CCG  EWHC 3349 (Admin)), for which an appeal has been made to the Court of Appeal. He has also recently been instructed by a local authority on a judicial review issued against its decision not to refer a reconfiguration decision to the Secretary of State.
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)  EWCA Civ 550).
Leon also acted on behalf of the Registrar General in a judicial review before Sir James Munby concerning the registration of births where donor sperm had been used: Application K  EWHC 50 (Fam).
He has experience of mental health law. He assisted in the re-draft of the Reference Guide to the Mental Health Act 1983. He was instructed in relation to a challenge of the Mental Health Tribunal decision to move Peter Coonan from Broadmoor back to prison.
Housing and homelessness
Leon is ranked by Chambers and Partners in Social Housing, described as a “rising star” who is “very personable and his knowledge of the area is extremely wide”.
He acts in cases arising from housing management (anti-social behaviour, subletting, disrepair) as well as advising on policy. He acts in both possession proceedings and housing injunctions, often in multi-day trials.
Leon acted for the residents of Cressingham Gardens Estate in challenging Lambeth Council’s consultation which led to a decision to demolish and regenerate their housing estate. This led to two multi-day judicial review challenges: R (Plant) v Lambeth London Borough Council  EWHC 3324 (Admin) and R (Bokrosova) v London Borough of Lambeth  EWHC 3386 (Admin);  P.T.S.R. 355;  HLR 10.
Leon regularly acts in homelessness challenges, for both adults and children, and was successful in R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich  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  EWHC 2559 (Admin).
Leon acts both for and against the Secretary of State in all areas of immigration. He acted in the Court of Appeal in the Detained Asylum Casework litigation: R (TH and ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 815. He was recently successful in R (Ayache) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKUT 122, in respect of the relationship between paragraph 353 and 94B of the Immigration Rules. He also acted in XEM v Home Office  EWHC 2622 (QB) as to whether a damages claim for unlawful detention which follows a judicial review claim is an abuse of process.
Leon appeared in R (Kerman and Co LLP) v The Legal Ombudsman  EWHC 3726 (Admin);  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 has acted in two reported cases against the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, see above under ‘Education’.
He is also regularly acts for ombudsmen and adjudicators, recently being instructed by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Pubs Code Adjudicator.
He has experience of professional disciplinary matters, and was recently instructed for an anti-fracking expert in disciplinary proceedings before the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Leon regularly is 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.
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). He also regularly appears before Council licensing committees.
Planning and Environment
Leon acts in planning and environmental matters particularly where there is a public law or housing element.
He regularly appears in High Court planning challenges. He acted in Oates v SSCLG  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  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 R (North Norfolk District Council) v SSHCLG  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 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 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; and has recently appeared in the Court of Appeal on an interim application in Lakeminster Ltd v East Riding Council, an appeal on the use of a strike out in a section 288 application.
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.
He also appears at inquiries. Most recently, he successfully appeared for a local authority in relation to its refusal to discharge a planning obligation where a lawful development certificate had been granted.
He often acts in cases which involve a crossover with housing matters. For example, he acted for residents of the Cressingham Gardens Estate in challenging the Council’s decision to demolish and regenerate the Estate. This led to two multi-day judicial review challenges: R (Plant) v Lambeth London Borough Council  EWHC 3324 (Admin) and R (Bokrosova) v London Borough of Lambeth  EWHC 3386 (Admin);  P.T.S.R. 355;  HLR 10. He has advised in various other disputes about Councils’ duties in relation to regeneration of housing estates.
He has advised on many points arising from planning developments, particularly where that has a public or property law angle. For example he advised on various planning issues arising from the development of Walthamstow Stadium, a £50 million redevelopment, and has advised on rights of way in relation to a proposed retail development.
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.
Leon’s practice encompasses all areas of Property Law, including a significant amount of housing work. He has provided training on general property matters including possession proceedings, and acts in both court and tribunal proceedings. His recent work includes:
- Acting for the landlord in relation to an alleged repudiatory breach of contract involving a six figure holiday let: Majeed v Meyers.
- 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 a freeholder in relation to alleged breaches of a lease and license agreement where building works caused loss to neighbouring properties.
- Acting for the Respondent in the Court of Appeal, as junior to John de Waal QC, on the nature of damages that can be claimed in a professional negligence dispute: MPG Investments LLP v Connells Survey & Valuation Ltd. This settled shortly before the hearing.
- 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  EWCA Civ 910.
- LLM (Master of Law) – Churchill College, University of Cambridge
- MA (Law) – Churchill College, University of Cambridge
- ADR Group Accredited Mediator
- Certificate of Recognition (Bar Pro Bono Unit, November 2017)
- 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)
- The Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
- Young Public Lawyers Group
- Burma Justice Committee
- Human Rights Lawyers Association
“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
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)
Articles and Presentations
- The Noddy Guide to Statements of Special Educational Needs and Education, Health and Care Plans
- Ofsted, inspections and the law
- Judicial review of OFSTED judgments
- Responsibility for children in your area: disputes under the Children Act 1989 and Children and Families Act 2014
- Education Law Update Presentation
- Education Law Update Paper