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.
Planning and Environment
Luke’s practice encompasses the full spectrum of planning law, including planning conditions, s. 106 obligations, renewable energy, housing development, retail development, heritage impact, LPA plan-making procedure, blight, EIA, and the Habitats Directive. He has also advised on compulsory purchase and highways issues, as well as on local authority land disposals and best value considerations. He has appeared in the High Court and Court of Appeal, as well as before Local Authority sub-committees.
Luke regularly advises and acts for advises individuals, developers and local authorities on a range of planning and environmental matters, particularly in respect of proposed housing developments.
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.
Other recent highlights include:
- Representing the claimant in the Planning Court challenge (since settled) to Lambeth LBC’s grant of permission for the proposed Garden Bridge across the Thames (with David Forsdick QC)
- Advising and acting for for a major housing developer in a case concerning the interpretation of a s. 106 obligation to connect to a district heating facility (with Sasha White QC).
- Appearing in the nationally significant judicial review of the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan’s second homes ban, which received widespread media attention (with Charles Banner).
- Acting for the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group in resisting the Earl of Derby’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s refusal of permission for 400 dwellings in Newmarket (with David Elvin QC)
- Representing and advising the developers of a major (100,000m2) warehousing development in Leicestershire, in respect of both planning and procurement (with David Elvin 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’s practice includes wider local government law related to land. He is currently acting for West Berkshire DC 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’s practice includes inquiry work. He recently acted for the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority in a public inquiry concerning the lawfulness of requiring future viability reassessment of housing schemes, and has represented a local planning authority in an appeal in respect of a proposed mosque development.
Luke has experience of acting in highways matters, and has appeared at several public inquiries for the modification of definitive highways maps. 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 Use Classes Order and 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 is a specialist in the law of rating. He has an extensive practice in this field, regularly advising ratepayers (from small business owners to multinational companies) on a number of aspects of rating law, including the unoccupied rate, charitable relief, valuation tribunal practice and procedure, and the VOA’s powers and duties.
Luke’s current caseload ranges across the full spectrum of courts and tribunals, from the Valuation Tribunal to the Supreme Court. 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
- Representing a number of museums in York, in a Lands Chamber case concerning the appropriate valuation methodology for such hereditaments (with Tim Mould QC). The Tribunal’s decision is a significant milestone in the development of the law on the selection of valuation methodologies.
- Acting for a number of HNS Foundation Trusts in a very significant dispute (worth in the region of £170 million) with a number of billing authorities, as to whether hospitals are exempt from rating (with David Lock QC and Dan Kolinsky QC)
- Representing Cardtronics UK in a forthcoming Court of Appeal hearing on the proper approach to the assessment of ATMs (with Dan Kolinsky QC).
Luke is currently advising a range of clients on the implications of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Woolway (VO) v Mazars and Monk. In this regard, he has developed a particular interest and expertise in the rating implications of major office developments in London. By way of example he recently represented Canary Wharf in the VTE, where he successfully secured RV £1 for those floors of its iconic premises at 1 Canada Square which were undergoing works, and is currently acting for Deutsche Bank in a similar appeal concerning its premises at Pinners Hall.
Luke delivered papers at Landmark Chambers’ Annual Rating Conferences in both 2015 and 2016, and regularly speaks at other events on the law and practice of rating (including at the IRRV annual conference).
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.
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 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.
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 England, a 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.
- 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)
St Ishmael’s public inquiry
Housing viability and review mechanisms.
Click here for the decision.
Articles and Presentations
- Key concepts in local planning: the legal requirements for examinations and soundness
- Development agreements: Are they caught by the PCRs?
- Disclosure of information in rating disputes
- Revised NPPF: Housing policies, housing need and housing numbers
- Non-domestic rating: Litigation in practice – hints and tips
- Restrictions on the right to forfeit
- The Terms of the New Tenancy
- Challenges beyond the Upper Tribunal
- Remedies Outside of the Tribunal System
- Judicial Review Costs Protection
- VTE Procedure: Scope of the proposal and VTE’s juristiction (paper)
- VTE Procedure: Scope of the proposal and the VTE’s jurisdiction
St Ishmael’s public inquiry
Housing viability and review mechanisms.
Click here for the decision.