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Richard Drabble QC

Call: 1975Silk: 1995
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Practice Summary

Richard Drabble QC was called to the Bar in 1975 and took silk in 1995. He is a Bencher of Inner Temple; a former Chairman of ALBA and a current member of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee.

He practices in public law. He has appeared in many leading human rights and environmental cases. He appeared as (very) junior counsel in CCSU v Minister for the Civil Service (GCHQ). He acted for the government in connection with the decision to grant planning permission for Terminal 5 at Heathrow; with a judicial review challenge to the Airports White Paper; and resisting a challenge by Greenpeace to consultation on nuclear policy. His practice has a particular emphasis on social security, immigration, environmental, planning, local government and human rights law. He has appeared at all levels of the domestic court system, including the Supreme Court and House of Lords. He has also appeared before the ECtHR in Strasbourg (for example in Chapman v UK; Stec v UK; and Tsfayo v UK) as well as the CJEU (for example Stewart v SSWP [2012] PTSR 1; and the Grand Chamber hearing of the joined cases of Tele 2 Sverige and Watson and others v SSHD [2017] QB 771). He appeared in Trinidad in Jones v AG in a successful constitutional challenge to the law criminalizing homosexual activity; and before the Privy Council in The Minister of Home Affairs (Bermuda) v Barbosa [2019] UKSC 41. He has recently appeared in the Supreme Court in cases raising important human rights issues, including KV (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2019] 1 WLR 1849;  Kiarie v SSHD [2017] 1 WLR 2380; and IT (Jamaica) v SSHD [2018] 1 WLR 5273. In terms of social security, he appeared in the Supreme Court in the challenges to both versions of the benefits cap; and for the claimants in the bedroom tax case of R (Carmichael) v SSWP [2016] 1 WLR 4550 and the later case on remedies RR (Appellant) v SSWP [2019] 1 WLR 6430. He is instructed by Sainsburys to resist the Valuation Officers appeal concerning the rating of supermarket ATMs in the Supreme Court in March 2020.

He is listed in eight practice areas in Chambers 2020 (and in the top rank in four). He is also a “Star of the Bar” in that edition, with the comment that he is “quite simply one of the most talented and influential public lawyers of the last forty years”.

Qualifications

Richard Drabble read History at Downing College, Cambridge.He has lectured frequently on public law matters, particularly recently on human rights issues in planning. Richard is currently Vice-Chair of the Bar Council Law Reform Committee.

Recommendations

The latest editions state –

Chambers UK, administrative & public law – “His particular virtue is that he’s undoubtedly the leading expert on social security law and so he has a tremendous chronological reach when analysing cases.” “He has great gravitas and control of the court, and he’s calming and considered as an advocate.” “The court love him and listen to anything he’s got to say because he is so persuasive.”

Chambers UK, civil liberties & human rights – “Richard is an eminent silk of long standing who has done absolutely fantastic human rights work over the course of his career. The cases he does are all extremely important.” “He knows the law inside out and he’s very effective.” “He’s the doyen of social security law and trusted by the judges in that area; nobody knows more about the subject.”

Chambers UK, environment – “An excellent silk.”

Chambers UK, social housing – “He is so experienced, and the court loves him and listens to anything he has got to say because he is so persuasive.”

Chambers UK, immigration – “Very popular with juniors and a master of his material, with many years’ experience doing cutting-edge cases.” “He has a wealth of knowledge and is a lawyer I truly respect and admire.”

Chambers UK, local government – “A top-quality lawyer.” “He is very thorough, knowledgeable and knows how to pitch realistically, always presenting his case to judges in a very attractive manner.”

Chambers UK, planning – “An absolutely brilliant advocate.” “A very strong strategist.”

Chambers UK, European Law – “He is a phenomenal brain.”

Legal 500, administrative & public law – “A pleasure to work with, and precise and insightful on his feet”.

Legal 500, EU Law –  “Precise and insightful on his feet”.

Legal 500, environment – “A major player in public law, planning and environment matters”.

Legal 500, immigration – “He is making exceptional waves in the area, dealing with some great cases”.

Legal 500, social housing – “His social housing work is part of a wider public law and planning practice”.

Inquiries

Advisory work for Transport for London and the Greater London Aurhority

12/07/2007

Instructed by in-house lawyers at TfL and the GLA; and Herbert Smith

Advisory work for both the GLA and TflL in connection with the collapse of Metronet and the need to create a transfer scheme transferring Metronet’s activities to another company. Very large scale public finance implications.

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Inquiries

European Court of Human Rights decides that Mrs Kehoe’s application is partly admissible

29/06/2007

Following the rejection of her case alleging that the Child Support Act infringed her rights under Article 6 of the Convention, Mrs Kehoe made an application to the European Court of Human Rights. In an admissibility decision made on the 29th June 2007, the Court (Fourth Section) declared her substantial complaints under Articles 6 and 13 admissible. The Court will now proceed to rule on the merits.

Richard Drabble QC is acting for Mrs Kehoe.

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Inquiries

Opinion for Natural England on the Thames Basin Heath SPA

19/03/2007

Instructed by Natural England to write an advice for public use during the EIP of the South East Plan.

Advice concerned the application of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive to housing projects potentially affecting the SPA. Sensitive issue because the projected housing numbers under the SE Plan require building in proximity to the SPA. Opinion considered during the EIP and has been widely considered since.

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Inquiries

Judgment in 3C Waste Limited on Landfill Directive

25/10/2006

In an important judgment delivered on 25th October in the Commercial Court, David Steel J has granted 3C Waste Limited (a landfill site operator) a declaration about the combined impact of Article 10 of the Landfill Directive (1991/31/EC); regulation 11 of the Landfill (England and Wales Regulations 2002 SI 2002/1559 and conditions contained in landfill permits on contracts that were already in existence when the legislation came into force. The declaration will have considerable practical impacts on landfill operations. The case is 3C Waste Limited v Mersey Waste Holdings Limited and Merseyside Waste Disposal Limited. The judge held that Article 10 of the Directive was intended to affect existing contracts, with the result that the obligation to charge the “full cost” attributable to the deposit of waste applied after the date the legislation bit even if the contract price was lower. On the facts of 3C the result was that, if it is subsequently established that “full cost” is as a matter of fact higher than the contract price, the contract was suspended under a force majeure clause from the date of the imposition of a permit condition requiring compliance with regulation 11. The defendants were refused permission to appeal.

Richard Drabble QC appeared for the claimant, 3C.

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Inquiries

Divisional Court uphold Brian Haw’s challenge

29/07/2005

The Divisional Court upheld Mr Haw’s challenge that the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 only applied to new demontstrations and not to those which were continuing at the date of commencement of the Act.

Richard Drabble QC and Zoe Leventhal acting for Mr Haw. Nathalie Lieven for the Home Secretary.

www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-2-1713566,00.html

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Inquiries

Hearing for judicial review of Airports White Paper

13/12/2004

Richard Drabble QC, Tim Mould and Carine Patry act for the Government.

David Smith and Dan Kolinsky act for the London Borough of Wandsworth, the London Borough of Hillingdon and three local interest groups.

As “The Lawyer” noted on 13 September,

“Landmark Chambers and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square have monopolised the case, which is set down for six days in December in the High Court.””

www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=111937&d=11&h=24&f=23

:

Inquiries

Dibden Bay Deep Sea Container Terminal (Nov 2001 – Dec 2002)

01/12/2002

Major inquiry into new container port at Southampton. Ran from November 2001 to December 2002. Richard Drabble QC and Graeme Keen acted for New Forest DC and Hampshire CC, the principal opponents to the scheme. David Elvin QC and David Forsdick acted for RSPB. David Smith acted for Defence Estates/MOD.

:

Inquiries

Advisory work for Transport for London and the Greater London Aurhority

12/07/2007

Instructed by in-house lawyers at TfL and the GLA; and Herbert Smith

Advisory work for both the GLA and TflL in connection with the collapse of Metronet and the need to create a transfer scheme transferring Metronet’s activities to another company. Very large scale public finance implications.

:

Inquiries

European Court of Human Rights decides that Mrs Kehoe’s application is partly admissible

29/06/2007

Following the rejection of her case alleging that the Child Support Act infringed her rights under Article 6 of the Convention, Mrs Kehoe made an application to the European Court of Human Rights. In an admissibility decision made on the 29th June 2007, the Court (Fourth Section) declared her substantial complaints under Articles 6 and 13 admissible. The Court will now proceed to rule on the merits.

Richard Drabble QC is acting for Mrs Kehoe.

:

Inquiries

Opinion for Natural England on the Thames Basin Heath SPA

19/03/2007

Instructed by Natural England to write an advice for public use during the EIP of the South East Plan.

Advice concerned the application of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive to housing projects potentially affecting the SPA. Sensitive issue because the projected housing numbers under the SE Plan require building in proximity to the SPA. Opinion considered during the EIP and has been widely considered since.

:

Inquiries

Judgment in 3C Waste Limited on Landfill Directive

25/10/2006

In an important judgment delivered on 25th October in the Commercial Court, David Steel J has granted 3C Waste Limited (a landfill site operator) a declaration about the combined impact of Article 10 of the Landfill Directive (1991/31/EC); regulation 11 of the Landfill (England and Wales Regulations 2002 SI 2002/1559 and conditions contained in landfill permits on contracts that were already in existence when the legislation came into force. The declaration will have considerable practical impacts on landfill operations. The case is 3C Waste Limited v Mersey Waste Holdings Limited and Merseyside Waste Disposal Limited. The judge held that Article 10 of the Directive was intended to affect existing contracts, with the result that the obligation to charge the “full cost” attributable to the deposit of waste applied after the date the legislation bit even if the contract price was lower. On the facts of 3C the result was that, if it is subsequently established that “full cost” is as a matter of fact higher than the contract price, the contract was suspended under a force majeure clause from the date of the imposition of a permit condition requiring compliance with regulation 11. The defendants were refused permission to appeal.

Richard Drabble QC appeared for the claimant, 3C.

:

Inquiries

Divisional Court uphold Brian Haw’s challenge

29/07/2005

The Divisional Court upheld Mr Haw’s challenge that the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 only applied to new demontstrations and not to those which were continuing at the date of commencement of the Act.

Richard Drabble QC and Zoe Leventhal acting for Mr Haw. Nathalie Lieven for the Home Secretary.

www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-2-1713566,00.html

:

Inquiries

Hearing for judicial review of Airports White Paper

13/12/2004

Richard Drabble QC, Tim Mould and Carine Patry act for the Government.

David Smith and Dan Kolinsky act for the London Borough of Wandsworth, the London Borough of Hillingdon and three local interest groups.

As “The Lawyer” noted on 13 September,

“Landmark Chambers and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square have monopolised the case, which is set down for six days in December in the High Court.””

www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=111937&d=11&h=24&f=23

:

Inquiries

Dibden Bay Deep Sea Container Terminal (Nov 2001 – Dec 2002)

01/12/2002

Major inquiry into new container port at Southampton. Ran from November 2001 to December 2002. Richard Drabble QC and Graeme Keen acted for New Forest DC and Hampshire CC, the principal opponents to the scheme. David Elvin QC and David Forsdick acted for RSPB. David Smith acted for Defence Estates/MOD.

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