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Michael Brendan Brett

Michael Brett

Year of call: 2017

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

Michael Brendan Brett

Practice Profile

Michael welcomes instructions across all of Chambers’ practice areas. In particular, Michael has experience in the following areas:

  • public and administrative law, including human rights;
  • planning and environment;
  • international, EU, and Brexit;
  • highways, waterways, greens and commons;
  • licensing;
  • information law; and
  • small claims and fast-track civil litigation, and civil applications in criminal courts.

Michael joined chambers in March 2020 after practising as an employed barrister in the Governmental Legal Department. His work advising the Department for Transport and Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy give him a keen sense of the needs of public authorities as well as insight into decision-making processes.

Recent work undertaken by Michael includes:

  • Junior to David Matthias QC in a section 289 challenge on procedural fairness grounds to an Inspector’s enforcement appeal decision;
  • A successful appeal against a refusal by Kent County Council to make a definitive map modification order;
  • Assisted Charles Streeten in the Kensington Forum litigation, challenging the Mayor of London’s grant of planning permission on improper purpose grounds;
  • Appeared at a summary review of the premises licence of a Thames river-boat after an episode of violent disorder; and
  • Advised on police powers to curb unlicensed ‘warehouse raves’.

Prior to tenancy Michael undertook a third six at FTB. During pupillage, he was supervised by Ned Westaway, John Jolliffe and Douglas Edwards QC.

Michael studied Ancient and Modern History at Somerville College, Oxford. After completing the Graduate Diploma in Law, he obtained a Master of Laws degree from University College, London.

Michael is willing to provide pro bono assistance in appropriate cases.

Areas of Practice

Public law

In chambers and in Government, Michael has gained experience across a wide range of public law issues, at policy development, operational, and litigation stages. Michael is well-versed in advising on:

  • the scope and exercise of secondary and delegated powers;
  • adequacy of consultation;
  • procedural fairness;
  • duty to give reasons;
  • legitimate expectations;
  • the public sector equality duty;
  • the Human Rights Act 1998;
  • immigration law and unlawful detention.


  • Michael has experience of a variety of planning issues, including:
  • judicial review, statutory review, and statutory appeals;
  • enforcement appeals;
  • permitted development rights;
  • section 106 obligations and conditions;
  • injunctive relief and connected committal proceedings; and
  • other development-related issues such as covenants and easements.
  • Michael welcomes instructions from all those interested in the planning process, including local authorities, developers, local residents, and community groups.

Environmental law

Michael has gained experience in this field, including:

  • private and statutory nuisance;
  • statutory compensation claims;
  • the Renewable Heat Incentive Regulations;
  • energy efficiency regulation of energy-using products;
  • SEA and EIA Directives;
  • Aarhus Convention claims, in particular the costs capping regime;
  • Habitats Directive and Regulations; and
  • Fire safety measures in residential accommodation and sports grounds.
  • International, EU and domestic EU Exit law
  • Michael has experience advising on international, EU, and EU Exit law in relation to:
  • international road safety law, including autonomous vehicles;
  • type-approval of vehicles under international and EU law;
  • regulation of energy-using products;
  • the provisions of and powers under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018;
  • State Aid and the General Block Exemption Regulation;
  • SEA and EIA Directives;
  • Aarhus Convention;
  • Habitats Directive and Regulations.

Highways and waterways

Michael has experience advising and litigating in respect of:

  • the express and implied dedication of highways;
  • stopping up orders;
  • extinguishment of rights of way under Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006;
  • highway maintenance and drainage;
  • riparian rights, including rights to flow in natural and non-natural waterways; and
  • alterations to the definitive map and statement.


Michael provides advice and advocacy to local authorities, the police, and private parties in licensing matters, including:

  • reviews and summary reviews of premises licences;
  • appeals to the magistrates’ courts against licensing decisions taken by local authorities;
  • police and local authority powers to enforce against licensable activities undertaken without authorisation;
  • Mandatory, additional, and selective licensing schemes for Houses in Multiple Occupation;
  • Home Office licensing of controlled drug possession, supply, and import/export.

Police and anti-social behaviour law

Michael advises police authorities and appears before the magistrates' courts in respect of civil matters, including:

  • Closure orders against residential and commercial properties and community protection notices under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014;
  • Forfeiture of cash detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002;
  • Removal of notification requirements / removal from ‘sex offenders’ register’ under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Information law

Michael has experience advising public authorities and private parties on the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations, including the making and challenging of disclosure decisions.


‘CBD: regulatory straitjacket meets light-touch enforcement’, Journal of Licensing (26, March 2020) – with Leo Charalambides.

Qualifications and Awards

2017: BPTC (BPP)

2016: Winston Churchill Scholarship (Middle Temple)

2016: Master of Laws (University College, London)

2015: Graduate Diploma in Law (Oxford Brookes University)

2014: Benefactors’ Scholarship (Middle Temple)

2014: BA (Hons) Ancient and Modern History (Somerville College, Oxford)

2012: Hodge Exhibition in Ancient and Modern History; College Prize (Somerville College, Oxford)

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