Matthew Fraser

Call: 2013
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Practice Summary

Matthew has a broad practice in public law, across a range of areas including planning, environmental, immigration, social security and healthcare. He also has expertise in property law.

He is regularly instructed to appear in courts and tribunals, as well as in planning inquiries and hearings.

He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford (Balliol College), before completing an LLM (Qualifying Law Degree) at Birkbeck, University of London, and the BPTC at City University.

Recent highlights of his practice include:

  • Dover DC & China Gateway International Ltd v CPRE Kent [2018] 1 W.L.R. 108 – leading case in the Supreme Court concerning the duty on local authorities to give reasons for planning decisions (acting for the developer with Matthew Reed QC);
  • HJ Banks & Company Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing Communities And Local Government [2018] EWHC 3141 (Admin) – a challenge to the decision to refuse planning permission for a new open-cast coal mine (acting for Friends of the Earth with Paul Brown QC);
  • William Davis Ltd v Charnwood BC [2018] J.P.L. 549 – acted for five major housebuilders in a successful challenge concerning the lawfulness of a Supplementary Planning Document housing mix policy (with Gwion Lewis);
  • RJ, GMcL and CS v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v RJ (PIP) [2017] UKUT 105 (AAC) –  three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal in an important case concerning the interpretation of the meaning of “safely” in the Personal Independence Payment Regulations 2013 (acting for the National Deaf Children’s Society);
  • Eatherley v Camden LBC [2017] P.T.S.R. 288 – key case defining the scope of permitted development rights for basements (acted for the successful claimant, led by Gwion Lewis and Martin Westgate QC).

More information on specific practice areas can be found under the ‘Expertise’ tab.

Planning

Matthew was ranked among the top barristers in planning law under the age of 35 in the Planning Magazine’s 2017 Legal Survey. His advocacy and advisory practice extends to all areas of planning law.

Recent court cases include:

  • HJ Banks & Company Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing Communities And Local Government [2018] EWHC 3141 (Admin) – a challenge to the decision to refuse planning permission for a new open-cast coal mine (acting for Friends of the Earth with Paul Brown QC)
  • Dover DC & China Gateway International Ltd v CPRE Kent [2018] 1 W.L.R. 108 – leading case in the Supreme Court concerning the duty on local authorities to give reasons for planning decisions (with Matthew Reed QC).
  • William Davis Ltd v Charnwood BC [2017] EWHC 3006 (Admin) – acted for five major housebuilders in a successful challenge concerning the lawfulness of a Supplementary Planning Document housing mix policy (with Gwion Lewis)
  • Eatherley v Camden LBC [2017] P.T.S.R. 288 – defining the scope of permitted development rights for basements (acted for the successful claimant, led by Gwion Lewis and Martin Westgate QC)

Recent planning inquiries and hearings include:

  • Whitecap Mushroom Farm, Mayland – two day inquiry for a Lawful Development Certificate appeal, acting for Maldon DC – November 2018
  • Land East of Park Road, Didcot – four-day inquiry concerning 135 homes in South Oxfordshire, acting for the developer (led by Sasha White QC) – May 2018
  • Racton View, Chichester – one day enforcement inquiry acting for Chichester District Council concerning a chicken farm – May 2018
  • Earl Road, Handforth – five-week inquiry acting for a retail developer in a called-in application in Handforth Dean, Cheshire East (led by David Elvin QC) – January to April 2018
  • Worsley Greenway, Salford – four-week inquiry acting for Manchester City Council resisting a 600-dwelling (plus marina, retail and café) appeal (led by Christopher Katkowski QC) – February to March 2018
  • South Eden Park Road, Bromley – four-day circa-100 home inquiry, acting for Bromley Council – January 2018
  • Flatts Lane, Redcar – acted for a housebuilder in a successful appeal concerning a 400-home scheme (junior to Christopher Katkowski QC) – April 2017
  • King v Maldon DC – acted for the council in successfully resisting an enforcement appeal raising issues of deliberate concealment – March 2017
  • Gorstyhill “Wychwood Village Extension”, Crewe – acted for Cheshire East Council successfully resisting a recovered appeal concerning a 900-home scheme (junior to Christopher Katkowski QC) – February 2017
  • Fontwell Avenue, Fontwell – acted for the successful developer in an inquiry concerning a called-in application for a 400-home residential and employment scheme in West Sussex, raising issues of conflict with made and emerging neighbourhood plans (junior to Christopher Katkowski QC) – November 2016
  • Cheshire East Local Plan examination hearings – acting for Cheshire East Council (led by Christopher Katkowski QC) – September to October 2016
  • Olney Rugby Club footpath inquiry – successfully represented a rugby club in a public inquiry to determine the existence of a right of way over the club’s land – May 2016
  • Ahmed v Brent Council – acted for successful appellant in an enforcement inquiry concerning issues of deliberate concealment – November 2015

Matthew also regularly advises developers, local government, community groups and individuals about a wide range of planning issues. He also has regular experience prosecuting and defending in criminal planning enforcement proceedings, as well as acting in appeals against section 215 notices, in the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court.

Matthew is a member of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association.

Environment

Matthew is an experienced environmental lawyer. Recent work includes:

  • HJ Banks & Company Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing Communities And Local Government [2018] EWHC 3141 (Admin) – a challenge to the decision to refuse planning permission for a new open-cast coal mine (acting for Friends of the Earth with Paul Brown QC)
  • Dillner v Sheffield City Council [2016] Env. L.R. 31 – acted for the successful interested party resisting a judicial review concerning the lawfulness of tree-felling highway maintenance operations (with Tim Buley)
  • Jim 2 Ltd v Walsall MBC – acted for the council in a two-week public inquiry to determine a contaminated land appeal under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the second ever inquiry in the history of the regime) (junior to James Maurici QC)
  • Advising landfill operators concerning the Environment Agency’s regulatory charging regime (with David Elvin QC)
  • Advising the World Wildlife Fund regarding the compliance of the government’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow with obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008

He is also a member of the UK Environmental Lawyers Association.

Immigration

Matthew regularly acts for claimants in judicial review claims challenging detention and deportation, and he also acts for appellants in the First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and in the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). He often acts pro bono, including through charities like the AIRE Centre.

He has also undertaken a significant amount of work as a “Junior Junior” drafting summary grounds of defence for the Home Office.

He has recently given talks about Citizens’ Rights in the UK after Brexit, and the Damages for Unlawful Immigration Detention.

Prior to joining Landmark Chambers, Matthew was a Legal Assistant at the European Council of Refugees and Exiles in Brussels, Belgium. He has also volunteered for a number of legal charities in London, including the Free Representation Unit, the Afghan and Central Asia Association, the National Centre for Domestic Violence, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, Southwark Law Centre and the Refugee Children’s Rights Project.

Social Security

Matthew recently successfully represented the National Deaf Children’s Society before a three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal in an important case concerning the interpretation of the meaning of “safely” of the Personal Independence Payment Regulations 2013: RJ, GMcL and CS v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v RJ (PIP) [2017] UKUT 105 (AAC). The case resulted in the Government changing the national guidance on PIP claims, and is expected to increase the number of successful claimants by 10,000 by 2022.

He also regularly acts pro bono in social security cases for the Free Representation Unit and the AIRE Centre.

International

Matthew is currently acting for the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus in a judicial review brought by several hundred local employees concerning pay reductions (led by Samantha Broadfoot QC).

Property

Matthew has a broad property practice. Recent work includes:

  • Acting for a high-profile UK retailer in injunction proceedings against trespassers across a number of different sites.
  • Acting for a major gas transporter in a successful urgent application in the High Court for an interim injunction preventing development works in the vicinity of a high-pressure pipeline.
  • Successfully representing a group of Right-to-Buy leaseholders in resisting a £50,000 service charge demand per flat in the First-Tier Tribunal: see News Item.
  • An arbitration, led by Katharine Holland QC, over the interpretation of compensation clauses in a pipeline easement deed.

Matthew’s County Court practice covers:

  • Residential and commercial possession proceedings against tenants, trespassers, mortgagors and service occupants.
  • Relief from forfeiture proceedings on behalf of landlords and tenants.
  • Private nuisance actions, e.g. concerning demolition works.
  • Costs and case management hearings for a variety of property disputes.

In the First-Tier Tribunal:

  • He recently represented the landlord of a large block of flats in s.168 proceedings, and successfully obtained a determination of multiple nuisance covenant breaches.
  • He acted for a group of tenants in a successful Right to Manage application.
  • He regularly appears in applications under the leasehold enfranchisement regime.

He also frequently advises and drafts documents for a wide range of leasehold enfranchisement matters, forfeiture proceedings, easement disputes, renewal of business tenancies and dilapidations.

He has given talks on retaliatory eviction following the Deregulation Act 2015, recent leasehold enfranchisement cases, and determining the participants and the land to be acquired in a collective enfranchisement claim.

Qualifications

  • Balliol College, University of Oxford (BA, Philosophy, Politics and Economics)
  • Birkbeck, University of London (Distinction, LLM Qualifying Law Degree)
  • City University London (Outstanding, BPTC)

Scholarships and Awards

  • Inner Temple Major Scholarship
  • The William Rose Memorial Prize for Excellence in Drafting (for the highest mark in the BPTC drafting
assessment)
  • The Sibel Dedezade Pro Bono Award (for exceptional pro bono work)
  • Winner of the Human Rights Lawyers’ Association Judicial Review Competition 2013
  • Winner of the Access to Justice Foundation Student Essay Competition 2013
  • Highest ranked UK team, International Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot
  • Balliol College Markby Exhibitioner

Inquiries

Flatts Lane, Redcar

25/04/2017

:

Inquiries

Oakfield Farm, Essex

14/03/2017

:

Inquiries

Gorstyhill ‘Wychwood Village Extension’, Crewe

01/02/2017

The Secretary of State has dismissed a recovered appeal against Cheshire East Council’s refusal of outline planning permission for up to 900 homes and a range of employment, education and retail facilities on a former golf course near Crewe. Between the Inspector’s report and the Secretary of State’s decision, the Council adopted their new Local Plan Strategy and could demonstrate a housing land supply for 5.3 years.

The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that the large-scale proposal was clearly contrary to local plan policies restricting development in the open countryside and at the bottom of the settlement hierarchy. The Appellant’s suggestion that the site had been designated for development was based on a misinterpretation of the former local plan proposals map. The proposal was also considered to be premature by the Inspector given the advanced stage of the Local Plan Strategy (in which the site was not allocated) at the time of her report.

The Secretary of State said that “how the future demands of HS2 will be met is a matter for consideration through a development plan and should be afforded no weight in the planning balance”.

Given the former absence of a five-year housing land supply, the Inspector had applied NPPF para. 14 and found that the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal. The Secretary of State – with 5.3 years supply confirmed under the new Local Plan Strategy – concluded that the proposal was not in accordance with the development plan, and no material considerations indicated that permission should be granted despite that conflict.

A copy of the decision is available here.

Christopher Katkowski QC and Matthew Fraser acted for Cheshire East Council.

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Inquiries

Land East of Fontwell Avenue, Fontwell

01/11/2016

Called-in application.

:

Inquiries

Cheshire East Local Plan Examination

27/09/2016

Hearings.

:

Inquiries

Footpath – Carey Way to Footpath 1 near Clifton Bridge, Olney

19/05/2016

Right of way.

:

Inquiries

Recovered Part IIA contaminated land appeal opens

08/12/2015

On Tuesday 8 December 2015 an inquiry opens into an appeal by Jim 2 Limited (“Jim 2”) under section 78L(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) against a remediation notice served on it by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council on 17 March 2015 (“the Remediation Notice”). The Remediation Notice requires Jim 2 to de-contaminate the land enclosed within the domestic curtilages of 69 residential properties, which form part of the Stonegate Housing Estate, Walsall which forms part of the land formerly occupied by the Willenhall Town Gas Works. The contamination case focusses on Benzo(a)pyrene (“B(a)P”). B(a)P is commonly used as an indicator compound for the mixture of compounds found in combustion products like Gas Works waste . B(a)P is a persistent organic pollutant, which has been designated by the International Agency Research on Cancer as a Human Carcinogen (Group 1), which means that the evidence is sufficient to determine that the agent is carcinogenic to humans, as opposed to probably (Group 2A) or possibly (Group 2B) carcinogenic to humans.

The appeal is believed to be only the second ever made to the Secretary of State under s. 78L of the 1990 Act notwithstanding the regime having been in force for 15 years. The Secretary of State has recovered the appeal in recognition of “the potential policy implications for contaminated land law” and in “view of the challenges raised on the application of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and of the revised Statutory Guidance published in 2012. The appeal is expected to last 2 weeks.

James Maurici QC and Matthew Fraser are appearing for the Council, the enforcing authority.

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Inquiries

Stonegate Housing Estate, Walsall

08/12/2015

Recovered Part IIA contaminated land appeal.

:

Inquiries

37 The Circle, London

24/11/2015

Enforcement appeal.

:

Inquiries

Flatts Lane, Redcar

25/04/2017

:

Inquiries

Oakfield Farm, Essex

14/03/2017

:

Inquiries

Gorstyhill ‘Wychwood Village Extension’, Crewe

01/02/2017

The Secretary of State has dismissed a recovered appeal against Cheshire East Council’s refusal of outline planning permission for up to 900 homes and a range of employment, education and retail facilities on a former golf course near Crewe. Between the Inspector’s report and the Secretary of State’s decision, the Council adopted their new Local Plan Strategy and could demonstrate a housing land supply for 5.3 years.

The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that the large-scale proposal was clearly contrary to local plan policies restricting development in the open countryside and at the bottom of the settlement hierarchy. The Appellant’s suggestion that the site had been designated for development was based on a misinterpretation of the former local plan proposals map. The proposal was also considered to be premature by the Inspector given the advanced stage of the Local Plan Strategy (in which the site was not allocated) at the time of her report.

The Secretary of State said that “how the future demands of HS2 will be met is a matter for consideration through a development plan and should be afforded no weight in the planning balance”.

Given the former absence of a five-year housing land supply, the Inspector had applied NPPF para. 14 and found that the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal. The Secretary of State – with 5.3 years supply confirmed under the new Local Plan Strategy – concluded that the proposal was not in accordance with the development plan, and no material considerations indicated that permission should be granted despite that conflict.

A copy of the decision is available here.

Christopher Katkowski QC and Matthew Fraser acted for Cheshire East Council.

:

Inquiries

Land East of Fontwell Avenue, Fontwell

01/11/2016

Called-in application.

:

Inquiries

Cheshire East Local Plan Examination

27/09/2016

Hearings.

:

Inquiries

Footpath – Carey Way to Footpath 1 near Clifton Bridge, Olney

19/05/2016

Right of way.

:

Inquiries

Recovered Part IIA contaminated land appeal opens

08/12/2015

On Tuesday 8 December 2015 an inquiry opens into an appeal by Jim 2 Limited (“Jim 2”) under section 78L(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) against a remediation notice served on it by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council on 17 March 2015 (“the Remediation Notice”). The Remediation Notice requires Jim 2 to de-contaminate the land enclosed within the domestic curtilages of 69 residential properties, which form part of the Stonegate Housing Estate, Walsall which forms part of the land formerly occupied by the Willenhall Town Gas Works. The contamination case focusses on Benzo(a)pyrene (“B(a)P”). B(a)P is commonly used as an indicator compound for the mixture of compounds found in combustion products like Gas Works waste . B(a)P is a persistent organic pollutant, which has been designated by the International Agency Research on Cancer as a Human Carcinogen (Group 1), which means that the evidence is sufficient to determine that the agent is carcinogenic to humans, as opposed to probably (Group 2A) or possibly (Group 2B) carcinogenic to humans.

The appeal is believed to be only the second ever made to the Secretary of State under s. 78L of the 1990 Act notwithstanding the regime having been in force for 15 years. The Secretary of State has recovered the appeal in recognition of “the potential policy implications for contaminated land law” and in “view of the challenges raised on the application of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and of the revised Statutory Guidance published in 2012. The appeal is expected to last 2 weeks.

James Maurici QC and Matthew Fraser are appearing for the Council, the enforcing authority.

:

Inquiries

Stonegate Housing Estate, Walsall

08/12/2015

Recovered Part IIA contaminated land appeal.

:

Inquiries

37 The Circle, London

24/11/2015

Enforcement appeal.

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