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Leon Glenister

Call: 2011

Practice Summary

Leon specialises in public and planning law. He often acts in complex and high profile litigation, and has acted in cases up to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

In public law, his cases have included 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. In planning law, he regularly appears in the High Court (having six reported judgments in 2019) and regularly appears at inquiries. A full list of his cases is available under the ‘Reported Cases’ tab.

Across Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, Leon is ranked as a leading junior in four categories: Administrative Law and Public Law, Education Law, Planning Law and Social Housing Law. He is described as “incredibly bright and able to get to grips with cases quickly” (Legal 500 2020) and a “rising star” who is “clear, concise and cuts through excess details” (Chambers and Partners 2020).

He has been appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel, and regularly acts for the Secretary of State in both public and planning cases; and is also on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel.

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, 2019). He is co-author of a comprehensive free guide to the law relating to special educational needs, the ‘Noddy Guide to SEN’.

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

He is proudly of mixed heritage, with a British father and Malaysian-Chinese mother.

Public law and human rights overview

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 is ranked as a leading junior in the Legal 500 in Administrative Law and Public Law, Education Law and Planning Law; and in Chambers and Partners in Education Law and Social Housing Law. He 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 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, 2019). He is a co-author of a comprehensive free guide to the law relating to special educational needs, the ‘Noddy Guide’.

Some of his recent public law cases are listed below. Further cases in particular areas are listed in the relevant sub-category.

Supreme Court

  • An appeal on the scope of PIP entitlement (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v MM [2019] UKSC 34).
  • 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.

Court of Appeal

  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Acting in the Detained Asylum Casework litigation in the Court of Appeal (R (TH) v SSHD [2016] EWCA Civ 815).

High Court

  • Acting for parents seeking to challenge the academisation of a school on the basis the consultation undertaken was then out of date (Kitchener-Pope v GB of Peavehaven Community School [2019] EWHC 2666 (Admin)).
  • 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 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)).
  • 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 PHSO in a judicial review challenge to the handling of a complaint relating to the death of two relations in the same hospital (R (Andrews) v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [2016] EWHC 2150 (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)).
  • Acting in High Court proceedings on whether a damages claim for unlawful detention which follows a judicial review claim is an abuse of process (XEM v Home Office [2016] EWHC 2622 (QB)).
  • Acting for the local authority defending a judicial review challenge to a section 17 assessment and decision, and the failure to provide interim accommodation, in the context of conflicting evidence on the availability of suitable accommodation (R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 1848 (Admin)).
  • Acting 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)).
  • Acting in one of the first judicial review challenges to the Legal Ombudsman, in relation to its jurisdiction (R (Kerman and Co LLP) v The Legal Ombudsman [2014] EWHC 3726 (Admin); [2015] 1 W.L.R. 2081).
  • Acting in a judicial review claim against the OIA where the Court held that matters of procedural fairness and irrationality are not matters of academic judgment and can be considered by the OIA (R (Gopikrishna) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2015] EWHC 207 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a judicial review against the OIA as to whether plagiarism is a matter of academic judgment (R (Mustafa) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2013] EWHC 1379 (Admin)).

Upper Tribunal

  • Acting in the first appellate decision on the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, clarifying its scope and general principles on FTT decision making (DP v Topmark Claims Management Ltd [2020] UKUT 106 (AAC)).
  • An appeal on procedural fairness in relation to SEN proceedings (NE and DE v Southampton City Council (SEN) [2019] UKUT 388 (AAC)).
  • An appeal on whether the Disclosure and Barring Service can rely on conduct relating to an adult in barring an individual from working with children (C v Disclosure and Barring Service [2019] UKUT 212).
  • Acting in a judicial review on the relationship between paragraph 353 and 94B of the Immigration Rules (R (Ayache) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKUT 122).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An appeal on the jurisdiction of the FTT to make costs orders (UA v London Borough of Haringey [2016] UKUT 0087 (AAC); [2016] E.L.R 219)).

Education

Leon is ranked as a leading junior in Education Law by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. The guides state he “identifies the key issues very quickly and provides excellent advice” and he is “very clear, very persuasive and demonstrates a lot of confidence.”

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. He is also a supervisor at the University of Cambridge.

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 often acts in judicial reviews arising from special educational needs issues, including recently in relation to funding cuts, direct payments and “failure to educate”.

He co-authors the Noddy Guide to SEN with David Wolfe QC, 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).

His recent work includes:

  • An appeal against an FTT decision, in relation to procedural fairness and reliance on documents which were not cited to the parties (NE and DE v Southampton City Council (SEN) [2019] UKUT 388 (AAC)).
  • An appeal on the jurisdiction of the FTT to make costs orders (UA v London Borough of Haringey [2016] UKUT 0087 (AAC); [2016] E.L.R 219)).
  • Acting for parents in a challenge against Somerset City Council’s funding cuts for special educational need provision, as reported on the BBC.
  • Advising a local authority on its policy on ceasing to maintain EHC Plans.

Schools

He acts in all areas relating to schools, including admissions, exclusions, discrimination, academy conversion and OFSTED issues. He has acted for parents, schools, the Secretary of State for Education, the Teaching Regulation Agency and the Office of the Schools Adjudicator.

His recent cases include:

  • Acting for the Secretary of State in a judicial review brought by Somerset County Council challenging an Academy order, in the context of a local school restructure (Somerset CC v Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWHC 1675 (Admin).
  • Challenging a well-known school’s decision to withdraw admission of a student (R (LH) v X School [2017] EWHC 1985 (Admin)).
  • Acting for parents seeking to challenge the academisation of a school on the basis the consultation undertaken was then out of date (Kitchener-Pope v GB of Peavehaven Community School [2019] EWHC 2666 (Admin)).
  • Advising an academy on the liability for repairs undertaken on the site both pre and post academisation.

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 (the OIA), having acted in cases that shaped the duties and jurisdiction of the OIA.

His cases include:

Disciplinary proceedings

Leon has experience of acting in cases which involve disciplinary and regulatory issues relating to teachers and other staff working with children. He regularly acts for governmental agencies such as the Disclosure and Barring Service and the Teaching Regulation Agency.

His recent cases include:

  • Acting for the Teaching Regulation Agency in a judicial review relating to the application of its rules in proceedings against a former headteacher.
  • An appeal as to whether the Disclosure and Barring Service can rely on conduct relating to an adult in barring an individual from working with children (C v Disclosure and Barring Service [2019] UKUT 212).

Healthcare and social care

A large part of Leon’s practice involves health care and social care issues, relating to both adults and children. This area falls within Administrative Law and Public Law, for which Leon is ranked as a leading junior in the Legal 500 and described as “incredibly bright and able to get to grips with cases quickly.”

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, reconfiguration of services, issues regarding the National Tariff, who the responsible commissioner is and consultation.

His recent cases include:

  • Acting for the Secretary of State defending a widely publicised policy challenge by Maternity Action alleging the NHS charging regime for overseas visitors is discriminatory, the challenge ultimately not getting permission (reported in the Guardian and Independent.
  • Acting 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).
  • Appearing in the Court of Appeal 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.
  • Acting 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.
  • Acting for a CCG defending a claim from a Council alleging a failure to make a decision on an individual’s eligibility for CHC, which also gives rise to issues on the responsible commissioner.

Adult social care

Leon regularly acts in a range of cases relating to adult social care. He regularly advises in relation to care provided under the Care Act 2014, he acts in the Court of Protection, and advises on disputes on ordinary residence. He is a contributing author to ‘Adult Social Care Law’ (LAG, 2019).

His recent work includes:

  • Acting for a Council in seeking recoupment of over £800,000 in fees paid for a residential placement for a disabled young person from another Council.
  • Advising on potential judicial review proceedings arising from a dispute on individual’s feeding package.
  • Acting for the Council in the Court of Protection, on a dispute relating to residence, including on a short term basis due to the issues arising from COVID-19.
  • Advising on challenging the care package required where there was an urgent discharge from hospital arising from COVID-19.
  • Acting in the Court of Protection for a mother of P a dispute relating to P’s residence and contact.

Children’s social care

Leon is very knowledgeable on children’s social care law, and many of his cases involve issues that cross with education issues. He is a contributing author to ‘Children’s Social Care Law’ (LAG, 2018).  

His cases include:

  • Acting for the local authority defending a judicial review challenge to a section 17 assessment and decision, and the failure to provide interim accommodation, in the context of conflicting evidence on the availability of suitable accommodation (R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 1848 (Admin)).
  • Acting 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)).

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.

His cases include:

  • Acting on 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)).
  • Acting on behalf of the Registrar General in proceedings relating to the registration of births where consent forms were not signed following assisted reproduction (Application K [2017] EWHC 50 (Fam)).

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 (PHSO).

His cases in relation to the PHSO include:

Housing and homelessness

Leon has been ranked by Chambers and Partners in Social Housing since 2017, described in the 2020 edition as known for his dealing with “human rights and equality issues” and “strong advocacy”.

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.

Regeneration

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

His cases include:

  • Advising a residents group in relation to the impact of the Mayor of London’s proposal to require a resident ballot for GLA Funding.
  • Acting for the residents of Cressingham Gardens Estate challenging the decision to demolish and regenerate on the basis the Council had picked an option which did not meet the objectives that were consulted on (R (Plant) v Lambeth London Borough Council [2016] EWHC 3324 (Admin)).
  • Acting in an earlier challenge for the residents of Cressingham Gardens Estate challenging the Council’s withdrawal of a potential option midway through a consultation exercise (R (Bokrosova) v London Borough of Lambeth [2015] EWHC 3386 (Admin); [2016] P.T.S.R. 355; [2016] HLR 10).

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 and subletting; 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 both for individuals and local authorities.

His cases include:

  • Acting for the local authority defending a judicial review challenge to a section 17 assessment and decision, and the failure to provide interim accommodation, in the context of conflicted evidence on the availability of suitable accommodation (R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 1848 (Admin)).
  • Acting 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.

Such advice has included:

  • Advising a Council as to the potential discriminatory effects of its housing allocation policy.
  • Advising a Council in relation to its powers to exclude new developments from parking permits.

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, Health and social 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, initially challenged by a consortium of seven local authorities (Keep the Horton General v Oxfordshire CCG [2019] EWCA Civ 646).
  • Acting in judicial reviews in relation to an alleged ‘failure to educate’ where children have been excluded from school, or where a placement breaks down and the child has an EHC Plan.
  • 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.
  • Acting as an independent investigator into a complaint as to alleged breaches of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct arising from a planning committee decision.
  • 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 in R (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 immigration cases, particularly in the context of judicial review claims.

His immigration work includes:

Prisons

Leon acts in cases involving prison law, having acted in such cases on behalf of prisoners, the Parole Board and the Secretary of State.

His recent work includes:

  • A judicial review claim on behalf of an 80 year old terminally ill prisoner, seeking temporary release in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A challenge on behalf of a prisoner to a prison’s policy on opening legal mail, which was conceded after the permission grant (R (Berkeley-Matthews) v HMP Wynott).
  • Acting for the Parole Board in a judicial review where it was argued there was a right to make representations before a hearing was adjourned (R (Nash) v Parole Board).
  • Acting for the Parole Board in a judicial review challenge to its findings on risk (R (Kenealy) v Parole Board).

Regulatory

Leon has extensive experience of regulatory disputes in a variety of contexts.

Ombudsman and adjudicator proceedings

Leon has often acts in relation to ombudsman complaints, 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.

His recent cases include:

Professional disciplinary matters

Leon has experience of professional disciplinary matters where they arise in a public law context.

His cases include:

  • Acting for the Teaching Regulation Agency in a judicial review relating to the application of its rules in proceedings against a former headteacher.
  • An appeal as to whether the Disclosure and Barring Service can rely on conduct relating to an adult in barring an individual from working with children (C v Disclosure and Barring Service [2019] UKUT 212).

Acting for an anti-fracking expert in disciplinary proceedings before the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Information law

Leon is regularly instructed on disputes involving information law, in respect of the Data Protection Act 2018, the GDPR and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

His cases include:

  • Acting for DVLA resisting an appeal seeking information from its database on all cars in the UK (Matveyev v ICO and DVLA EA/2016/0268).
  • Acting for the DVLA resisting an appeal seeking information on the number of vehicles registered at single household addresses (Steel v ICO and DVLAEA/2016/0295).
  • Acting for a registered social landlord defending a claim for damages arising under the Data Protection Act 1998 (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.

His work includes:

  • Acting for a restaurant challenging a change in its licensing operating hours.
  • Acting 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, both for individuals and the Secretary of State.

His recent work includes:

  • Appearing in the Supreme Court in a case considering the difference between “prompting” and “social support” in the context of the PIP regulations (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v MM [2019] UKSC 34).
  • Acting in the first appellate decision on the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, clarifying its scope and general principles on FTT decision making (DP v Topmark Claims Management Ltd [2020] UKUT 106 (AAC)).

Planning and environmental law overview

Leon is well known in the planning and environmental field, and is ranked as a leading junior in Planning Law in the Legal 500.

For specific High Court, inquiry and other work, please see the sub-category pages. A general overview of recent work includes:

  • Successfully resisting a challenge to an Inspector’s decision refusing a CLOPUD relating to a caravan park, giving rise to issues as to what can be taken into account in interpreting a planning document (Breckland DC v SSHCLG [2020] EWHC 292 (Admin)).
  • Acting for the Health and Safety Executive in a called-in inquiry on the continuation of continuation of hazardous substances consent on land close to the Silvertown Tunnel, in order for it to be safe for the tunnel to open (link here).
  • Acting in a challenge involving the correct test to apply in showing continuous use throughout a four year period after which no enforcement can be taken, and in particular where there had been renovations to a residential property (LB Islington v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2691 (Admin)).
  • Acting for the local authority in a hearing in relation to a residential development on Commercial Road, raising issues on viability (link here).
  • Acting in a statutory challenge on the interpretation of the holiday accommodation provisions in the East Devon Local Plan (Mills v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2019] EWHC 3476 (Admin).
  • 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 for a rule 6 party at a 4 day inquiry in relation to a major housing development in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, with issues including heritage and ecology (link here).
  • 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)).
  • Acting for the developers, as junior to Christopher Katkowski QC, at 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 (link here).
  • 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)).
  • 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)).
  • Acting for a local authority at an inquiry in relation to its refusal to discharge a planning obligation where a lawful development certificate had been granted (link here).
  • 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)).

High Court challenges

Leon regularly appears in Planning High Court challenges, having appeared in six reported judgments in 2019 (as well as many more cases which did not reach a final hearing), and he often appears unled against QCs.

His reported judgments are set out below.

Court of Appeal

  • 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).

High Court

  • Successfully resisting a challenge to an Inspector’s decision refusing a CLOPUD relating to a caravan park, giving rise to issues as to what can be taken into account in interpreting a planning document (Breckland DC v SSHCLG [2020] EWHC 292 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a challenge involving the correct test to apply in showing continuous use throughout a four year period after which no enforcement can be taken, and in particular where there had been renovations to a residential property (LB Islington v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2691 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a statutory challenge on the interpretation of the holiday accommodation provisions in the East Devon Local Plan (Mills v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2019] EWHC 3476 (Admin).
  • 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)).
  • 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)).
  • 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)).

Enforcement

Leon regularly acts in enforcement proceedings, at the High Court level and before the Magistrates Court in respect of alleged breaches of an enforcement notices.

His recent reported cases relating to enforcement include:

  • 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 in a challenge involving the correct test to apply in showing continuous use throughout a four year period after which no enforcement can be taken, and in particular where there had been renovations to a residential property (LB Islington v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2691 (Admin)).
  • 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)).

Inquiries

Leon regularly appears at inquiries, and has acted for developers, local authorities and rule 6 parties. His recent work includes:

  • Acting for the Health and Safety Executive in a called-in inquiry on the continuation of continuation of hazardous substances consent on land close to the Silvertown Tunnel, in order for it to be safe for the tunnel to open (link here).
  • Acting for the developers, as junior to Christopher Katkowski QC, at 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 (link here).
  • Acting for a rule 6 party at a 4 day inquiry in relation to a major housing development in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, with issues including heritage and ecology (link here).
  • Acting for the local authority in a hearing in relation to a residential development on Commercial Road, raising issues on viability (link here).
  • Acting for a local authority at an inquiry in relation to its refusal to discharge a planning obligation where a lawful development certificate had been granted (link here).

Regeneration and consultation

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

His work includes:

  • Advising a residents group in relation to the impact of the Mayor of London’s proposal to require a resident ballot for GLA Funding.
  • Acting for the residents of Cressingham Gardens Estate challenging the decision to demolish and regenerate on the basis the Council had picked an option which did not meet the objectives that were consulted on (R (Plant) v Lambeth London Borough Council [2016] EWHC 3324 (Admin)).
  • Acting in an earlier challenge for the residents of Cressingham Gardens Estate challenging the Council’s withdrawal of a potential option midway through a consultation exercise (R (Bokrosova) v London Borough of Lambeth [2015] EWHC 3386 (Admin); [2016] P.T.S.R. 355; [2016] HLR 10).

Highways

Leon has experience of advising on disputes relating to highways.

His work includes:

  • Advising a local authority on a new parking scheme where there was a conflict with existing Traffic Regulation Orders.
  • Advising a local authority on whether it, or the policy, able to prevent a bridge being used for heavy goods to be delivered.
  • Acting 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, noted in the 2020 edition for his “strong advocacy” and ability “to provide guidance and assurance that is presented in a way the client can understand”. 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.

Reported Cases

Supreme Court

  • An appeal on the scope of PIP entitlement (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v MM [2019] UKSC 34).
  • 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.

Court of Appeal

  • Acting for Keep the Horton General campaign group 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).
  • 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).
  • 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 in the Detained Asylum Casework litigation (R (TH) v SSHD [2016] EWCA Civ 815).
  • Acting for a landlord on the question of the consequences of non-attendance at a possession trial (Fernandes v Kenny [2012] EWCA Civ 910).

High Court

  • Acting for the Secretary of State in a judicial review brought by Somerset County Council challenging an Academy order, in the context of a local school restructure (Somerset CC v Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWHC 1675 (Admin).
  • Successfully resisting a challenge to an Inspector’s decision refusing a CLOPUD relating to a caravan park, giving rise to issues as to what can be taken into account in interpreting a planning document (Breckland DC v SSHCLG [2020] EWHC 292 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a challenge involving the correct test to apply in showing continuous use throughout a four year period after which no enforcement can be taken, and in particular where there had been renovations to a residential property (LB Islington v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2691 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a statutory challenge on the interpretation of the holiday accommodation provisions in the East Devon Local Plan (Mills v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2019] EWHC 3476 (Admin).
  • Acting for parents seeking to challenge the academisation of a school on the basis the consultation undertaken was then out of date (Kitchener-Pope v GB of Peavehaven Community School [2019] EWHC 2666 (Admin)).
  • 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)).
  • 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)).
  • 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 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)).
  • 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)).
  • 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 PHSO in a judicial review challenge to the handling of a complaint relating to the death of two relations in the same hospital (R (Andrews) v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [2016] EWHC 2150 (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)).
  • Acting in High Court proceedings on whether a damages claim for unlawful detention which follows a judicial review claim is an abuse of process (XEM v Home Office [2016] EWHC 2622 (QB)).
  • Acting for the local authority defending a judicial review challenge to a section 17 assessment and decision, and the failure to provide interim accommodation, in the context of conflicting evidence on the availability of suitable accommodation (R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 1848 (Admin)).
  • Acting 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)).
  • Acting in one of the first judicial review challenges to the Legal Ombudsman, in relation to its jurisdiction (R (Kerman and Co LLP) v The Legal Ombudsman [2014] EWHC 3726 (Admin); [2015] 1 W.L.R. 2081).
  • Acting in a judicial review claim against the OIA where the Court held that matters of procedural fairness and irrationality are not matters of academic judgment and can be considered by the OIA (R (Gopikrishna) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2015] EWHC 207 (Admin)).
  • Acting in a judicial review against the OIA as to whether plagiarism is a matter of academic judgment (R (Mustafa) v Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2013] EWHC 1379 (Admin)).

Upper Tribunal

  • Acting in the first appellate decision on the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, clarifying its scope and general principles on FTT decision making (DP v Topmark Claims Management Ltd [2020] UKUT 106 (AAC)).
  • An appeal on procedural fairness in relation to SEN proceedings (NE and DE v Southampton City Council (SEN) [2019] UKUT 388 (AAC)).
  • An appeal on whether the Disclosure and Barring Service can rely on conduct relating to an adult in barring an individual from working with children (C v Disclosure and Barring Service [2019] UKUT 212).
  • Acting in a judicial review on the relationship between paragraph 353 and 94B of the Immigration Rules (R (Ayache) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKUT 122).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An appeal on the jurisdiction of the FTT to make costs orders (UA v London Borough of Haringey [2016] UKUT 0087 (AAC); [2016] E.L.R 219)).

Inquiries

  • Acting for the Health and Safety Executive in a called-in inquiry on the continuation of continuation of hazardous substances consent on land close to the Silvertown Tunnel, in order for it to be safe for the tunnel to open (link here).
  • Acting for the local authority in a hearing in relation to a residential development on Commercial Road, raising issues on viability (link here).
  • Acting for a rule 6 party at a 4 day inquiry in relation to a major housing development in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, with issues including heritage and ecology (link here).
  • Acting for the developers, as junior to Christopher Katkowski QC, at 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 (link here).
  • Acting for a local authority at an inquiry in relation to its refusal to discharge a planning obligation where a lawful development certificate had been granted (link here).

Qualifications

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

Appointments

  • Supervisor in Administrative Law, University of Cambridge (2013 -)
  • Governor (SEN and Diversity Governor and Chair of the Admissions Committee), Dr Challoner’s Grammar School (2015 -)
  • Co-chair, Young Public Lawyers Group (2019)

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

“Incredible bright and able to get to grips with cases quickly” Legal 500, 2020

“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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