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Conor Fegan

Conor Fegan

Year of call: 2018

Practice areas: Planning, Environment, Public Law, Local Government, Compulsory Purchase and Compensation, Major Infrastructure Projects

Conor Fegan

Conor joined Chambers in October 2019, following the successful completion of his pupillage under the supervision of Suzanne Ornsby QC, Philip Petchey and Richard Honey.  He welcomes instructions to act across all of Chambers’ practice areas.

Conor has particular experience in the following areas:

  • planning and environmental;
  • public law, human rights and EU law;
  • local government;
  • village greens and commons;
  • advertising;
  • licensing.

Recent and ongoing work includes:

  • acting as sole counsel for a local residents’ group in a one-day appeal hearing against the non-determination of an application for outline planning permission for 100 residential units, objecting to the proposed development on habitats grounds;
  • acting as sole counsel for a local residents’ group in a three-day enforcement hearing into a ground (a) appeal against an anaerobic digester located in the open countryside which raises a number of complex points of planning and environmental law;
  • acting as sole counsel for an interested party to defend an upcoming judicial review against the grant of planning permission for a mixed-use, residential-led development in a World Heritage Site in circumstances where the local planning authority has indicated that it would be prepared to consent to judgment (R (Walker) v Bath and North East Somerset Council CO/2072/2019);
  • acting (as junior to Saira Kabir Sheikh QC) for the claimant in a judicial review against the grant of planning permission for redevelopment consisting of a change of use from a health centre to a convenience store (R (Patel) v Dacorum Borough Council CO/209/2019);
  • acting (as a junior to Richard Honey) to draft representations objecting to a number of major infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland, including the A5 Western Transport Corridor, the A6 Dualling Scheme and Lough Neagh Sand Dredging.

Practice Areas

Planning

Conor gained experience of a wide variety of planning issues during his pupillage. He has particular experience of judicial review and statutory challenges and is keen to develop his practice in this area.  Recent experience includes:

  • acting as sole counsel for an interested party to defend an upcoming judicial review against the grant of planning permission for a mixed-use, residential-led development in a World Heritage Site in circumstances where the local planning authority has indicated that it would be prepared to consent to judgment (R (Walker) v Bath and North East Somerset Council CO/2072/2019);
  • acting (as junior to Saira Kabir Sheikh QC) for the claimant in a judicial review against the grant of planning permission for redevelopment consisting of a change of use from a health centre to a convenience store (R (Patel) v Dacorum Borough Council CO/209/2019);
  • acting as sole counsel advising a parish council on whether it should participate in a statutory challenge brought under s. 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against the refusal of planning permission for sixty-eight dwellings.

He has also acted as a junior in a number of other cases, assisting in advising clients on the prospects of success in such challenges and in drafting written submissions including statements of facts and grounds, detailed grounds of defence and skeleton arguments.

Conor shadowed Alexander Greaves in the High Court during the hearing of South Gloucestershire Council v SSHCLG and Welbeck Strategic Land LLP [2019] EWHC 181 (Admin).  He also attended the High Court during the hearing of R (Broad) v Rochford DC [2019] EWHC 628 (Admin).

Conor also has experience of advising both in writing and in conference on a wide range of planning issues including:

  • challenges to reports by officers;
  • certificates of lawful use or development;
  • permitted development rights;
  • enforcement and stop notices;
  • the interpretation of planning policy;
  • listed buildings and conservation areas;
  • the interpretation and enforceability of planning conditions;
  • section 106 obligations;
  • assets of community value;
  • the interpretation of planning permissions and fallback arguments.

Conor is also comfortable accepting instructions to act in planning and enforcement inquiries and hearings.  His recent experience includes:

  • acting as sole counsel for a local residents’ group in a three-day enforcement hearing into a ground (a) appeal against an anaerobic digester located in the open countryside which raises a number of complex points of planning and environmental law;
  • assisting Saira Kabir Sheikh QC in a three-day appeal against an enforcement notice concerning the reinstatement of a stone cantilevered staircase which had been removed without listed building consent (APP/X5990/Y/18/3197704);
  • assisting Suzanne Ornsby QC and Alexander Greaves in a four-week inquiry concerning the non-determination of an application for outline planning permission for 370 homes in the countryside near Thornbury, South Gloucestershire (APP/P0119/W/17/3189592).  This case raised a number of complex issues including five-year housing land supply, the application of the tilted balance, prematurity, landscape and visual amenity, harm to designated and non-designated heritage assets, and transport.

Environmental Law

Conor also has a particular interest in environmental law.  Many of the cases which he has been involved in have raised issues under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.

Conor has experience acting in cases which involve:

  • screening assessments;
  • appropriate assessments;
  • mitigation measures;
  • compensation measures;
  • environmental impact assessments;
  • shifting environmental baselines;
  • disputes over the correct environmental baseline;
  • retrospective regularisation.

Conor also has experience of Aarhus Convention Claims and Costs Capping Orders under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

His recent experience in this area includes:

  • acting as sole counsel for a local residents’ group in a three-day enforcement hearing into a ground (a) appeal against an anaerobic digester which raises issues relating to retrospective regularisation, the identification of the correct baseline in the environmental impact assessment and the legality of shadow appropriate assessments undertaken by the appellant;
  • acting (as a junior to Richard Honey) to draft representations objecting to a number of major infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland on various environmental grounds including inadequacy of environmental impact assessments;
  • assisting in drafting an advice critiquing the approach taken by a local planning authority to the assessment of mitigation measures at the screening stage of an appropriate assessment in light of People Over Wind.

Public Law

Conor has an interest in public law and is comfortable accepting instructions in any area where broad public law principles are engaged.  He has experience of judicial reviews and statutory challenges in the context of planning and environmental law.  He has also assisted in providing advice to central government, local authorities and third parties on a wide range of public law issues including:

  • adequacy of consultation exercises;
  • procedural fairness;
  • duty to give reasons;
  • public sector equality duty;
  • issues of vires;
  • Human Rights Act 1998.

Plan Making

Conor has experience of the plan-making process, having attended numerous hearings and advised on various aspects of the process.  He is comfortable accepting instructions to attend hearings on behalf of interested parties or to advise more generally on the examination process. His recent experience includes:

  • assisting in preparing arguments relating to the soundness of the methodology adopted for site allocations in the Runnymede Local Plan;
  • attending hearings into the Edmonton Leeside Area Action Plan with Douglas Edwards QC;
  • assisted in drafting advices concerning the powers of local planning authorities during the plan-making process, including the power to modify or revoke a submitted local plan during the examination process.

Advertising

Conor has experience of The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 and of the interaction between these regulations and the planning system.  His recent experience includes:

  • shadowing Douglas Edwards QC in the Court of Appeal during the hearing of Putney Bridge Approach Ltd v The Secretary of State for Communities And Local Government & Anor [2018] EWCA Civ 2268;
  • assisting in drafting an advice on the scope of advertisement consent, which raised a number of complex issues including the interaction between the advertisement consent and planning regimes and the scope of the power to impose limitations and restrictions on an advertisement consent.

Village Greens & Commons

  • Conor gained significant experience of the law relating to village greens and commons during his pupillage while under the supervision of Philip Petchey.  Recent experience includes:
  • assisting Philip Petchey in preparation for an inquiry into the deregistration of Blackbushe Airport under the Commons Act 2006.  He also attended the inquiry and assisted Philip Petchey throughout (COM/3206697);
  • assisting in drafting an advice on the applicability of the doctrines of cause of action estoppel and issue estoppel to repeat applications for registration under the Commons Act 2006;
  • assisting in drafting an advice on the issue of overgrazing on common land and on the legal powers available to address this issue;
  • assisting in advising on the legality of holding a large entertainment festival on common land.

Licensing

Conor has experience of a number of licensing regimes, including premises licensing under the Licensing Act 2003 and taxi licensing under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.  He has been instructed to appear before licensing subcommittees and has assisted in advising in writing on a number of complex legal questions arising under different licensing regimes.

His recent experience includes:

  • acting for the Metropolitan Police before a licensing subcommittee for the review of a premises licence following several instances of violence;
  • acting as a legal advisor for a licensing subcommittee dealing with an application for a new premises licence in a cumulative impact area;
  • assisting in drafting an advice on the legality of operations undertaken by Uber in a local authority area outside of London.

Local Government

Conor has assisted in advising local authorities on a wide range of matters, including the imposition of parking charges and numerous highways matters.  He has also assisted in advising third parties on the legality of decisions taken by local authorities. 

Recent experience includes:

  • assisting in advising a local authority on several issues under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 arising from a decision to introduce a new parking charges regime;
  • assisting in advising a combined authority on the powers exercisable by it in respect of several highways matters.

Compulsory Purchase / Compensation

Conor gained experience of the law relating to compulsory purchase and compensation during his pupillage while under the supervision of Richard Honey. 

His experience includes:

  • attending the hearing of 599 Developments Ltd v NNB Generation Co (HPC) Limited [2019] UKUT 235 (LC);
  • assisting with research in response to a challenge to a compulsory purchase order which was principally brought on human rights grounds;
  • assisting in advising on the human rights implications of overriding rights to light under s. 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016;
  • assisting in advising on the compensation payable under the HS2 Express Purchase Scheme.

Northern Ireland

A Northern Ireland native, Conor is keen to establish a planning and environmental practice in Northern Ireland.  He is comfortable accepting instructions from Northern Ireland in appropriate cases and he is familiar with the differing legal and policy context applicable in Northern Ireland, in particular the Planning (Northern Ireland) Act 2011.

Recent experience in this area includes:

  • acting as sole counsel for a local residents’ group in a three-day hearing before the Planning Appeals Commission into a ground (a) appeal against an anaerobic digester located in the open countryside;
  • acting (as a junior to Richard Honey) to draft representations objecting to a number of major infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland, including the A5 Western Transport Corridor, the A6 Dualling Scheme and Lough Neagh Sand Dredging;
  • assisting Gregory Jones QC and Richard Honey in the Supreme Court in Reference by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland of Devolution Issues to the Supreme Court Pursuant to Paragraph 34 of Schedule 10 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (No 2) (Northern Ireland) [2019] UKSC 1.

Conor is not able to accept instructions to act in matters before the Northern Ireland Courts.

Other

Conor has gained significant experience in applications for a wide range of civil orders in the Magistrates’ Courts.  He is frequently instructed by the Metropolitan Police to apply for closure orders, sexual risk orders and sexual harm prevention orders.

Qualifications

  • Durham University, Law (First Class Honours / Top 1% of Cohort) (2014 - 2017)
  • BPP University Law School, Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding) (2017 - 2018)

Scholarships, Awards and Other Experience

Bar Awards & Scholarships

  • Prince of Wales Scholar (Gray's Inn) (2017)
  • Excellence Scholarship (BPP University Law School) (2017)
  • Michael Sherrard Access to the Bar Award (Middle Temple) (2016)

University Awards & Scholarship (Durham University)

  • Academic Commendation (x 3) (Durham Law School) (2014 - 2017)
  • Sullivan & Cromwell Award for Performance in Second Year Examinations (Durham Law School) (2016)
  • Advanced Issues in Public Law Award (Durham Law School) (2016)
  • Land Law Award (Durham Law School) (2016)

Secondary School Awards & Scholarships (St Colman’s College, Newry)

  • All-Ireland Scholarship (JP McManus) (2017)
  • Gradam an Uachtaráin - President's Cup (St Colman’s College) (2017)

Other Experience

Conor won a number of debating and mooting competitions throughout his time at school and university. He also served as President of Durham University Mooting Society in his final year at Durham University.  

Publications

  • 'The (Underutilised) Role of Mediation in Licensing' (with Jeremy Phillips QC) [2019] Journal of Licensing
  • 'Supreme Court Adjourns Devolution issues Reference (Attorney General for Northern Ireland’s Reference of Devolution Issues to the Supreme Court pursuant to Paragraph 34 of Schedule 10 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (No 2) (Northern Ireland)' (with Gregory Jones QC & Richard Honey) [2019] Lexis PSL Public Law Analysis
  • 'Case Comment: Attorney General for Northern Ireland & The Department for Justice v The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission [2017] NICA 42' [2017] YHLR 20

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Professional Memberships

  • Administrative Bar Association (ALBA)

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Events

Countryside
**Fully Subscribed** Breakfast Briefing - Environment Law Post Brexit - The Environment Bill 2019

Following public consultation last year on the Draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill 2018, the Government introduced the Environment Bill 2019 to Parliament on 15 October 2019. 

 

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