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Esther Drabkin-Reiter

Esther Drabkin-Reiter

Year of call: 2017

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

Esther Drabkin-Reiter

Esther welcomes instructions across all of Chambers’ practice areas. She joined Chambers in October 2019, having successfully completed pupillage under the supervision of Suzanne Ornsby QC, John Jolliffe and Ned Westaway.

Esther read Jurisprudence at Merton College, Oxford, and has a master’s degree in EU Law from the European University Institute, Florence. Prior to coming to the Bar she spent a year as Judicial Assistant to Lord Justice Lloyd Jones (as he then was) at the Court of Appeal, working on cases involving issues of public and EU law.

Esther’s main areas of interest include:

  • planning and environment;
  • public and human rights law;
  • EU law;
  • local government;
  • rating and valuation;
  • compulsory purchase and compensation;
  • infrastructure;
  • rights of way and highways;
  • licensing;
  • anti-social behaviour law.

Recent and current work includes:

Acting for local residents and businesses, joined as a Rule 6 party in a nine day planning inquiry, called in by the Secretary of State, into an appeal against a refusal of planning permission for mixed use development including 499 residential units.

Acting for local residents, joined as a Rule 6 party to a three day planning inquiry into an appeal against an Enforcement Notice issued by the London Borough of Camden in respect of a Deliveroo Editions site.

Junior Counsel to Rebecca Clutten acting for the Appellant in a four day planning inquiry into an appeal against an Enforcement Notice issued by the London Borough of Havering alleging unlawful development in the Green Belt.

In appropriate cases, Esther is happy to work on a pro bono basis.

Practice Areas


Esther has gained experience of a wide variety of planning issues during her pupillage. She has represented clients at planning inquiries and enforcement inquiries both in her own right and as a junior. Throughout pupillage she gained experience of the following:

  • judicial review & statutory challenges;
  • challenges to officers’ reports;
  • plan-making;
  • the interpretation of planning policy;
  • section 106 obligations and conditions;
  • Non-determination of planning applications under section 70C;
  • Community Infrastructure Levy;
  • Tree Preservation Orders;
  • Compulsory Purchase Orders;
  • Other development related issues such as covenants and easements.


During pupillage Esther attended and assisted on a number of infrastructure inquiries, including inquiries into development consent orders for new rail and road links as well as orders under the Transport and Works Act.

Environmental Law

Esther has a particular interest in environmental law and has gained experience in this field during pupillage, including:

  • private and statutory nuisance;
  • SEA and EIA Directives;
  • Aarhus Convention claim, in particular the costs capping regime;
  • Habitats Directive and Regulations;
  • Industrial Emissions Directive.

Rights of way

Esther has also assisted on a two-day inquiry into a proposed modification to the Definitive Map and Statement.

Public Law

Esther has a keen interest in public law, and has gained experience during pupillage of a range of public law issues, including:

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

Police and anti-social behaviour law

Esther frequently appears before the magistrates' courts in relation to applications under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and the Sexual Offences Act 2003, including closure orders, sexual risk orders and sexual harm prevention orders.


  • City Law School, Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding) (2015-2016)
  • European University Institute, LLM in Comparative, European and International Laws (2014-2015)
  • Merton College, University of Oxford, MA in Jurisprudence with European Legal Studies (German Law) (2.i) (2008-2012)

Scholarships and Awards

Bar Awards & Scholarships

  • Buchanan Prize (Lincoln's Inn) (2016)
  • Lord Denning Scholarship (Lincoln's Inn) (2015-2016)
  • Hardwicke Award (Lincoln's Inn) (2014)

University Scholarships & Prizes

  • Academic Scholarship (Merton College) (2009-2012)
  • Norton Rose Prize (Merton College) (2009)


Previous Experience

Before coming to the Bar, Esther spent two years working as a Research Assistant at the Law Commission on a project to reform electoral laws across the UK. She was subsequently Judicial Assistant to Lord Justice Lloyd Jones in the Court of Appeal. Most recently, Esther spent a year gaining experience of planning law and the planning process as Planning Caseworker at Southwark Law Centre.


Esther is fluent in German.

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