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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, including on a direct access basis, and in particular in the following areas:

  • public and administrative law, in particular planning, infrastructure planning, environmental, and human rights law;
  • highways, waterways, greens and commons;
  • EU, Brexit-related, and retained EU law matters;
  • personal and premises licensing;
  • regulation of cannabis and cannabis-derived products; and 
  • civil applications in criminal courts.

Recent work undertaken by Michael includes:

  • Junior to Ned Westaway in the successful quashing of the development consent order for Norfolk Vanguard windfarm;
  • Appeared throughout the Brent Local Plan Examination, acting for a local residents’ group and neighbourhood forum;
  • Acted for the successful appellant in an 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;

Michael has both a keen sense of the needs and concerns of public authorities and also critical insight into decision-making processes, having practiced as a legal advisor in central government, including in the Department for Transport and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, prior to joining chambers.

Michael is willing to provide legal advice and advocacy on a pro bono or reduced fee basis in appropriate cases, and welcomes instructions from community groups.

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 both substantive and procedural public law matters, including the scope and exercise of secondary and delegated powers; procedural fairness (including adequacy of consultation, the duty to give reasons, and legitimate expectations), the discharge of the public sector quality duty. 

He has also advised and appeared in judicial reviews relating to immigration law and unlawful detention.

Planning and Infrastructure Planning

Michael has experience of a variety of planning issues, including:

  • judicial review, statutory review, and statutory appeals against planning decisions;
  • enforcement appeals;
  • permitted development rights;
  • section 106 obligations and conditions;
  • injunctive relief and connected committal proceedings, and criminal prosecution for planning-related offences; and
  • other development-related issues such as covenants, easements, and the appropriation of land by local planning authorities.

Michael regularly appears as sole counsel at planning inquires and at local plan examinations.

In addition to consenting under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Michael has experience in respect of development consent for nationally significant infrastructure projects under the Planning Act 2008. He recently acted as junior in the successful quashing of the Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm on the basis of a failure to carry out an adequate environmental impact assessment.  

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;
  • sanctions imposed under the Green Deal, and appeals against those sanctions;
  • 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.

Commmons and Town and Village Greens

Michael advises on matters under the Commons Act 2006 and Commons Registration Act 1965, including making and resisting applications for the registration of land as town and village greens, and applications under Schedule 2 of the Commons Act 2006 to amend the register of common land. He has recently acted in town and village green matters in Somerset and the Vale of Glamorgan.

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.

International, EU and Domestic EU Exit Law

Michael has experience advising on international, EU, EU Exit law, and retained EU 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 and their implementing UK legislation in England and Wales;
  • the Aarhus Convention, including access to information (under the Environmental Information Regulations) and procedural (including costs capping in judicial review);
  • Habitats Directive and Regulations.

Licensing and Cannabis Law

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. Michael is part of FTB’s trail-blazing cannabis law group. 

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, and community protection notice;
  • Seizure and forfeiture of cash detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002;
  • Civil orders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 including sexual risk orders, sexual harm prevention orders. He also has experience of stalking prevention orders and applications for removing notification requirements.


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

‘Towards a mellower form of cannabis regulation’, Journal of Licensing (27, July 2020) – with  Gary Grant

‘Planning for data and storage’ [2021] Journal of Planning and Environmental Law 2021 Issue 7 (787-795) – with Morag Ellis QC

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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  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Arbitrators
  • Member of the Planning and Environment Bar Association


Quarterly Environmental Law Update

From 3.00pm - 5.00pm.

It will be run as a hybrid event enabling either in-person or virtual attendance. It will be followed by a short drinks reception for in-person attendees.

The event will be formed of five short sessions covering latest developments in environmental law, including progress on the Environment Bill and important recent litigation.