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Stephen Sauvain QC

Stephen Sauvain QC, planning barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Year of call: 1977 (QC 1995)

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

Stephen Sauvain QC

Stephen is a leading practitioner whose advisory (only) practice is focused on highways and related issues.

Stephen is an Associate Member at Francis Taylor Building and practises principally from Kings Chambers, Manchester.

  • '' . . . He has notable strength in redevelopment and infrastructure projects, with particular expertise in compulsory purchase orders and highway law." Chambers and Partners, 2014

  • ''A strong advocate who sources hail as "one of the leading planning silks in the country." Chambers and Partners, 2014

  • "His local government practice is complemented by his highly regarded planning and environment expertise." Chambers and Partners, 2014

  • "He has an exceptional and impressive knowledge of compulsory purchase law, and has a wonderful, calming approach with clients." Chambers and Partners, 2014

  • "He has considerable expertise in relation to significant housing and town centre redevelopments." Chambers and Partners, 2014

  •  "He is an excellent planning silk, especially on CPOs, highways and town and village green cases." Chambers and Partners, 2014

  • "He is excellent and attentive to points the client is making during on-site meetings." Chambers and Partners, 2014


Public Inquiries

  • Promoting Road Infrastructure projects - including Sunderland New Wear Crossing, Second Tyne Tunnel, Walton Bridge
  • Promoting Road schemes - including parts of the Manchester Outer Ring Road, the Taunton Northern Inner Distributor Road and numerous other road inquiries throughout the country
  • Acting for objectors at Manchester Second Runway and Liverpool Airport extension Inquiries
  • Promoting Seaforth Container Terminal HRO
  • Welbeck Landfill/Land Reclamation scheme, Kinderton Landfill and various other landfill inquiries
  • Modification Orders and compensation claims for Hafod Quarry
  • ASDA superstores (various)
  • Successful objection to the Tesco/Everton Football Club retail proposals at Kirkby
  • Major housing inquiries - recent schemes have included the Liverpool Garden Festival site scheme, Germany Beck in York, Scotswood Expo and Masterplan in Newcastle, and Saighton Camp in Chester.
  • Various UDP and Local Plans
  • Commercial development schemes acting for developers, local authorities and objectors
  • Various Town and City Centre Redevelopment schemes including the Eldon Square extension in Newcastle and schemes in South Shields, Lancaster, Oldham, Blackpool, Wakefield, Wigan and Workington.

Significant Reported Recent Cases

  • Cusack v Harrow London Borough Council [2013] 1 W.L.R. 2022 - Supreme Court case concerning the interpretation and availability of the powers of a highway authority and human rights issues.
  • R. (on the application of Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd) v East Sussex CC [2013] 2 P. & C.R. 8 - whether a tidal beach can be a village green; successful appeal.
  • MWH Associates Limited v Wrexham County Borough Council [2013] Env. L.R. 27 mineral planning permission modification order, restrictions on mineral rights for the purposes of species protection and compensation.
  • Kotegaonkar v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2012] EWHC 1976 (Admin) nature of public usage sufficient to create a highway.
  • Smout v Welsh Ministers and Wrexham CBC [2011] EWCA Civ 1750 validity of modification orders.
  • R. (on the application of Herron) v Parking Adjudicator [2011] R.T.R. 34 road traffic regulation; validity and enforceability of parking restrictions.
  • Derwent Holdings Ltd v Trafford Borough Council, Tesco Stores Limited, Lancashire County Cricket Club [2011] EWCA Civ 832 challenges to retail planning permission.
  • Sinclair v Kearsley [2010] EWCA Civ 112 Court of Appeal case dealing with the evidence required to establish the common law dedication of a public highway.
  • Ernstbrunner v Manchester City Council 2009] EWHC 3293 (Admin) [2009] EWHC 1805 (Admin) Divisional Court case concerned with the relationship between the Definitive Map and Statement.
  • Mortell v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2009] EWCA Civ 1274 challenge to a compulsory purchase order involving a major Pathfinder development - issues of human rights.
  • Derwent Holdings Ltd v Liverpool City Council [2008] EWHC 3023 (Admin) validity of road traffic regulation order.
  • Mackintosh & Ors, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs [2006] EWHC 2703 (Admin). - definitive map.
  • Brian Atkinson v Secretary of State for Transport & Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Authority [2006] EWHC 995 (Admin) - judicial review
  • R ( Spice) v Leeds City Council [2006] EWHC 661 (Admin) - highways.
  • Gwynedd Council v British Telecommunications plc (2004) 4 All ER 975 - highways, street works.
  • Cowen v. Secretary of State for the Environment Transport and the Regions (2000) 79 P. & C.R. 457 - planning and highways.


  • Highway Law (Sweet & Maxwell) 5th Ed. 2013
  • Encyclopaedia of Highway Law: General Editor (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Chairman of the Independent Committee on the Review of Parking Documentation 2008 - a committee that advised on the drafting of penalty charge notices etc. under the new de-criminalised enforcement regime.
  • Law Relating to Local Government DETR Research Report (with Colin Crawford, Andrew Coulson and Michael Clarke November 2000
  • Joint Working Arrangements revisited after the Local Government Act 2000 - Journal of Local Government Law 2002
  • County and District Joint Working Arrangements- Journal of Local Government Law 1998
  • Bridges: responsibility to repair them - 1997 ROWLR s.5.1, p. 31 et seq. (with Ross Crail)
  • New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 - Current Law annotations
  • Highways Act 1980 - Current Law annotation


Planning and Environment Bar Association (and has served on the committee of that association), Northern and North Eastern Circuits

Panels and other appointments: Assistant Boundary Commissioner (2000)

Career and Education

  • University: Cambridge
  • Degrees: MA LLB
  • Called: 1977 (Lincoln's Inn)
  • Q.C: 1995
  • 1971-1978 Lecturer in Law University of Manchester
  • 1976-7 Part-time Lecturer in Law Brunel University