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Luke Wilcox

Call: 2013
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Practice Summary

Luke Wilcox was called to the bar in 2013 (Middle Temple); he took up tenancy in October 2014, on successful completion of his pupillage. Luke accepts instructions in all areas of Chambers’ work, with a particular focus on planning, rating, CPO, highways and property law.

Prior to joining Landmark, Luke held a number of public sector posts, including advisory roles in the Ministry of Justice, where he specialised in parliamentary matters, and in the House of Lords, where he was a constitutional policy analyst.

Luke is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel.

Luke is recommended by the Legal 500 for Local Government (including Rating Law) and Property Litigation:
His knowledge of rating is absolutely first class, and he is adept at distilling this complex area of law into a client-friendly format. He is approachable, user friendly and always a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended.
A fantastic junior. Definitely one to watch. A pleasure to work with.

Planning and Environment

Luke’s practice encompasses the full spectrum of planning law. He appears regularly at inquiries and examinations in public, and in the Courts, on behalf of developers, local authorities and the Secretary of State.

Luke was sole counsel for the successful claimant in Old Hunstanton Parish Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which concerned the proper interpretation of rural exceptions sites policies. Luke appeared alone in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Recent highlights include:

  • Representing Gazeley in an inquiry for the development of over 300,000m2 of strategic B8 distribution warehousing on a site which contained a Scheduled Monument (with David Elvin QC)
  • Acting for the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group in the statutory challenge to the Secretary of State’s refusal of permission for 400 new homes at Hatchfield Farm, in Newmarket, as well as in the public inquiry which followed the quashing of the decision (with David Elvin QC)
  • Representing Bromley LBC in a planning inquiry relating to residential development in the Metropolitan Green Belt
  • Representing Leeds City Council in a four-day inquiry concerning a proposed new mosque
  • Appearing in the examination in public into a number of emerging local plans around the country, including Hart DC, the North Essex Authorities, and Tonbridge and Malling BC.
  • Representing the developer in a forthcoming inquiry concerning a significant mixed-use redevelopment (including almost 500 new homes) in Camberwell (with Neil Cameron QC)

On the environmental law side, Luke was sole Counsel for the owner of a SSSI in a long-running (and ultimately successful) series of disputes, in both the planning and licensing law contexts, to prevent harmful development on adjacent land. The case was the first occasion on which the role of environmental designations was considered by the courts in a licensing dispute. Luke also advised a developer on the Habitats Directive issues arising from a proposal for a large residential development near to the Ashdown Forest SAC, for which planning permission was ultimately obtained from the Secretary of State. Luke has particular experience and interest in planning and rights of way cases in National Parks, and is regularly instructed to represent National Park Authorities in both England and Wales in such disputes.

Luke’s practice includes wider local government law related to land. He acted for West Berkshire DC in the High Court in a major (£125 million) High Court challenge raising issues of s. 123 best value, EU Public Procurement law and the scope of the Aarhus costs regime (with David Elvin QC). He has advised a number of other clients, including developers and community groups, in respect of the issues arising from public land acquisition (including of surplus NHS land).

Luke’s experience includes CPO and compensation. He has advised landowners facing compulsory purchase, and has advised on the operation of s. 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and its legislative predecessors (an area in which his CPO and property practices overlap). He regularly represents clients in CPO compensation disputes, where his extensive experience of rating valuation is brought to bear.

Luke has extensive experience of rights of way law (both public and private), and has appeared at several public inquiries for the modification of definitive highways maps and the diversion of highways (including in National Parks). He represented the Ramblers Association in a complex High Court challenge concerning the relationship between the law of prescription, criminal trespass and statutory capacity to dedicate. Though led (by George Laurence QC), Luke himself advanced the criminal trespass ground before Dove J.

Luke is an assistant editor of the Planning Encyclopaedia (with particular responsibility for the chapters on the Control of Advertisements Regulations), and a contributor to “The Aarhus Convention – a Guide for UK Lawyers” (edited by Charles Banner).

Rating and Valuation

Luke’s primary specialism is the law of rating. He has a very extensive practice in this field, regularly advising ratepayers (from small business owners to multinational companies to public bodies), local authorities, and the VOA on all aspects of rating law and practice.

Luke’s current caseload ranges across the full spectrum of courts and tribunals, from the Valuation Tribunal to the Supreme Court (where he has appeared four times). Highlights include:

  • Representing the Rating Surveyors Association and the British Property Federation in the Supreme Court case of Newbigin (VO) v S J & J Monk (with Dan Kolinsky QC)
  • Representing Iceland Foods Ltd (with Dan Kolinsky QC) in the Supreme Court in an important case concerning the rating of plant and machinery
  • Acting for UKI Kingsway in the UK Supreme Court in a dispute concerning the rules for the valid service of completion notices (and property notices more generally)
  • Representing Cardtronics UK in a long running dispute about the rateability of the sites of ATMs. Luke appeared (with Dan Kolinsky QC) in each of the VTE, Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court
  • Acting for a number of NHS Foundation Trusts in a very significant dispute (worth in the region of £160 million) with a number of billing authorities, as to whether such bodies are charities for rating purposes (with Christopher Tidmarsh QC and Francesca Quint)
  • Representing Ludgate House Ltd in the Upper Tribunal and in a forthcoming Court of Appeal hearing, in a wide-ranging test case concerning the treatment, both for identifying the unit of assessment and for valuation, of premises occupied by property guardians (with David Forsdick QC)
  • Advising and representing a major power network in a significant case concerning the operation and contents of the Central List
  • Representing Cemex in the Upper Tribunal, in a case which raised a number of issues about MCCs and the application of the contractors’ basis of valuation
  • Representing Delph Property Group in one of the leading cases on the legal mechanisms for challenging the validity of completion notices. The President of the VTE deleted several hereditaments from the List on the basis that they were entered pursuant to invalid notices, despite those notices having been served before the commencement of the Rating List in question
  • Representing the ratepayer in the High Court in the Principled Offsite Logistics case, a significant authority on the nature of beneficial occupation (with Tim Morshead QC).

Luke has a very extensive advisory practice, across the whole of the field of rating and valuation, and across numerous sectors (both public and private). He regularly advises some of the largest companies in the country, and in respect of property portfolios with rates liabilities of many millions of pounds per annum. He has experience of advising on the rates affairs of insolvent companies.

Luke is a regular speaker at national events on rating. He has delivered papers at several IRRV annual conferences, as well as numerous lectures on rating law and valuation to surveyors, solicitors, government valuers and billing authority officials.

Luke also advises on all aspects of the Council Tax. He recently acted, as sole Counsel, for the successful respondent in a High Court appeal on the scope of the “self-contained unit” provisions in the Council Tax legislation, and successfully secured the deletion of an alleged self-contained unit from the valuation list in the first such case to be heard by the current President of the VTE.

Outside of rating, Luke has experience of commercial rent review work, including the interpretation of rent review clauses and identifying bases of valuation, and regularly advises on valuation issues arising in CPO compensation disputes.

Property

Luke has an extensive and varied property practice. He advises on matters including residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes, restrictive covenants, easements, the interpretation and rectification of deeds, land registration, adverse possession, boundary disputes, forfeiture, dilapidations, and the law of commons and village greens.

Luke has a special expertise in valuation law, and regularly advises and represents clients involved in disputes about rent review clauses. He represented the successful tenant in the High Court rent review dispute of Monsolar IQ Ltd v Woden Park Ltd (with Toby Watkin).

Luke has particular experience of rights of way issues (both public and private), and the implications of such issues for planning and rating disputes. He is currently acting for a number of clients engaged in disputes over the existence and extent of such rights, in both public and private law contexts.

Luke was recently instructed to advise a significant landowner on the proper interpretation of an option, which involved examining and analysing a complex series of deeds and legislative provisions dating back over a 75 year period.

He regularly appears in the County Court in applications and trials, and has both secured and resisted interim injunctions in commercial property disputes.

Luke particularly welcomes instructions in matters with both property law and public/planning law aspects.

Public

Luke is instructed on public law challenges in a range of contexts, including planning and environmental law, local government powers and duties, human rights, and European Union law. He regularly appears in the courts and tribunals at all levels in these fields.

Luke has assisted other members of Chambers in many public and constitutional law matters at all levels, up to and including the Supreme Court. He has particular experience in the law concerning decisions of ombudsmen, and acted for the Health Service Ombudsman in Miller and Howarth v Health Service Commissioner for Englanda major judicial review raising important issues about complaints concerning GPs’ clinical judgment (with James Maurici QC) in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Before coming to the Bar, Luke developed considerable expertise in parliamentary and constitutional matters. He has lectured widely in these areas, and in 2013 he was a member of the United Nations panel of external experts on constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Qualifications

  • Oxford University: MA Music (2005)
  • BPP Law School: GDL (Distinction, 2011)
  • BPP Law School: BPTC (Outstanding, 2013)

Scholarships and Awards

  • Certificate of Honour (Middle Temple, 2013)
  • Queen Mother Scholarship (Middle Temple, 2012)
  • Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition (Middle Temple, 2010)
  • Winner, BPP Mooting Competition (2012)

Memberships

  • ALBA
  • PEBA
  • PBA

Recommendations

Legal 500 2021

Property – Rising Stars, tier 1
‘A fantastic junior. Definitely one to watch. A pleasure to work with.’

Local Government (including Rating Law) – Rising Stars, tier 1
‘His knowledge of rating is absolutely first class, and he is adept at distilling this complex area of law into a client-friendly format. He is approachable, user friendly and always a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended.’

Inquiries

St Ishmael’s public inquiry

04/01/2017

Housing viability and review mechanisms.

Click here for the decision.

:

Inquiries

“Talwrn Lane” DMMO public inquiry (2015)

13/10/2015

Click here for a copy of the decision letter.

:

Inquiries

St Ishmael’s public inquiry

04/01/2017

Housing viability and review mechanisms.

Click here for the decision.

:

Inquiries

“Talwrn Lane” DMMO public inquiry (2015)

13/10/2015

Click here for a copy of the decision letter.

:

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