Claire completed pupillage under the supervision of Ned Westaway, Gregory Jones KC and Isabella Tafur and is building a busy practice across all of Chambers’ practice areas. Before her call to the Bar in 2021, Claire gained valuable experience of the intersection between environmental and human rights law in her work for the United Nations in Geneva, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and a number of NGOs. The breadth of Claire’s previous experience with international organisations, a government department and campaign groups means she is already well-practised in considering complex and sensitive legal issues from a range of perspectives.
Some of Claire’s most recent planning work involved acting as sole counsel for a Rule 6 Party in a five-day planning inquiry which encompassed issues such as designated Local Open Space, a Grade I listed heritage asset, ecology and the provision of affordable and market housing. She recently acted as junior counsel to Suzanne Ornsby KC in a two-week planning inquiry on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council and is instructed as sole counsel for a Rule 6 Party in a three-day planning enforcement inquiry due to take place in January 2024. Claire is keen to continue developing her inquiry practice as she enjoys working as part of a team and cross-examining expert witnesses. She has a particular interest in planning inquiries with a heritage element and most her inquiry work so far has involved potential impacts of a development on a listed heritage asset.
Claire is building a busy environment law practice. The law of chemical regulation is of particular interest to Claire. She has recently advised on the lawfulness of industrial discharges containing PFAS (“forever chemicals”) and written about this area for Chambers’ Environment Law Blog. Claire has also advised on matters of planning, environmental and human rights law relating to a gold mine in Northern Ireland. She has been instructed on several occasions to advise on claims in statutory nuisance with one recent advice considered the merits of appealing a court’s refusal to quash an abatement notice.
During pupillage, Claire assisted with a wide range of work raising complex issues of domestic and EU environmental law, including the application of human rights law in an environmental context and challenges involving Habitats Regulations Assessments. Claire conducted research and drafted advices and skeleton arguments on matters including major energy projects, commons and village greens, flood defence works, sewage pollution from storm overflows, charitable exemptions from the Community Infrastructure Levy and permitted development rights in a conservation area. Claire also provided research and drafting assistance during a two-week planning inquiry on a proposal for a major solar farm in an historic parkland containing listed heritage assets.
Alongside practice at the Bar, Claire regularly contributes to policy and educational initiatives in the field of environmental law. Claire was invited to deliver a workshop on the Rights of Nature alongside environmental lawyers working in the UK and internationally, representatives from NGOs and academics. She co-authored the Environmental Justice Network Ireland, Queen's University Belfast School of Law and Lawyers for Nature’s submission to the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss and supervised LLM students at the University of Essex on a project focusing on the right to a healthy environment in the UK. She is a regular contributor to Chambers’ Environmental Law Blog and an expert contributor to Lexis Nexis’ environmental module on the law of sewers and drains.
Claire is an appointed member of the Attorney General’s ‘Junior’ Junior Scheme.
- Represented the Rule 6 Party, Park Road Allotment Association in a five-day planning inquiry challenging the Duke of Northumberland’s proposal for a housing development on designated Local Open Space to cross-subsidise renovations to Grade I listed, Syon House. The inquiry received widespread coverage in national and international media.
- Junior counsel to Suzanne Ornsby KC on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council in an inquiry concerning a proposed residential development.
- Instructed on behalf of a Rule 6 Party in an upcoming enforcement inquiry.
- Advised on potential breaches of conditions attached to a planning permission for a gold mine.
- Drafting and research assistance during a two-week planning inquiry on a proposal for a major solar farm in an historic parkland with listed heritage assets.
- Drafted an advice on the lawfulness of a notification letter informing a government department of a Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a residential development, community centre and associated works.
- Drafted an advice on permitted development rights for a development located in a conservation area.
- Drafted an advice on charitable exemptions from the Community Infrastructure Levy.
- Drafted a Statement of Facts and Grounds for a judicial review challenging a Local Authority’s decision to grant planning permission for a residential development.
- Drafted an advice on the prospects of obtaining a certificate of lawful use.
- Research assistance on the extent of the Secretary of State’s discretion in exercising their call-in powers under s.77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
- Advised on potential breaches of environmental law in relation to industrial discharges containing PFAS (“forever chemicals”).
- Advised on matters of planning, environmental and human rights law relating to a gold mine in Northern Ireland.
- Research and drafting assistance in Environment Agency prosecutions involving waste operations and pollution.
- Prepared a draft advice relating to the Environmental Improvement Plans governed by the Environment Act 2021.
- Research and drafting assistance on a judicial review of the Government’s Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan.
- Research and drafting assistance for a judicial review challenging the grant of mineral prospecting licences.
- Advised on legal personhood and the rights of rivers.
- Claire is a regular contributor to Chambers’ Environment Law Blog.
Research and drafting assistance in a judicial review challenging an Inspector’s decision to grant consent for certain restricted works to be carried out on common land.
- Advised on the merits of judicially reviewing a court’s refusal to quash an abatement notice.
- Drafted an advice on the lawfulness of an Order made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
- Research and drafting assistance in a judicial review on the extent of powers under the Coal Industry Act 1994 for determining applications for licences to conduct coal mining operations.
- Drafted an advice on liability for flood defence works under the Metropolis Management (Thames River Prevention of Floods) Amendment Act 1879.
- Research and drafting assistance for an advice concerning the constitutional conventions applying to the powers exercised by Governor Generals.
- Drafted a skeleton argument challenging the lawfulness of remote hearings under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Claire has experience representing responsible authorities in licensing matters. A recent case involved a successful application to revoke the licence of a restaurant/bar and Claire is instructed in several upcoming Transport for London licensing hearings.
Claire provided research and drafting assistance on an application for a faculty for exhumation involving a cross-jurisdictional analysis of the law of exhumation in the Church of Ireland and the Church of England.
- The King’s Inns, Dublin, Advanced Diploma in Irish Planning and Environmental Law (2022)
- The Inns of Court College of Advocacy, London, Bar Course (2021)
- City, University of London, GDL (2020) (Distinction)
- European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation, Venice, MA in Human Rights and Democratisation (2015)
- Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, B.A. European Studies (2014) (First)
- Recipient of the 2023 Bar European Group's Peter Duffy Scholarship
- The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple GDL Exhibition Award (2019)
- City, University of London, Law School GDL Scholarship Award (2019)
- Awarded funding by European Inter-University Centre in Venice to undertake a six-month traineeship at the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for graduating amongst the top fifteen students with a Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation (2015)
- Winners’ Category of International Undergraduate Awards Competition in Social Sciences category for paper, “To what extent do Michel Foucault’s views on power and panopticism inform our understanding of modern-day control and surveillance?” (Finishing in the top 10% of 5,500 entries) (2015).
- Dean of Students’ Roll of Honour for Contribution to Student Life as President of the Trinity College Dublin French Society (2011)
- Entrance Exhibition Award from Trinity College Dublin for outstanding Leaving Certificate (Irish equivalent of A-Levels) results (2011)
Before coming to the Bar, Claire gained valuable experience of the intersection between environmental and human rights law in her previous career working for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders in Geneva, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and the international, Dublin-based NGO, Front Line Defenders. She also worked for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs as Deputy to the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the Council of Europe, Strasbourg. Alongside her pupillage, Claire supervises LLM students at the University of Essex Law Clinic and Human Rights Centre Clinic on a project focusing on the implementation of the right to a healthy environment in the UK.
- UK Environmental Law Association
- The Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
- Planning and Environmental Bar Association (PEBA)
- Co-drafter of the Environmental Justice Network Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast School of Law and Lawyers for Nature’s submission to the Irish Citizens’ Assembly entitled, “Rights of Nature in Ireland: Towards a Living Island of Rights-Bearing Communities”, September 2022.
- “Nature Rights are Human Rights: The UN Human Rights Council Resolution on the Right to a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment”, Lawyers for Nature Blog, 25 March 2022.
- “Bridging the Gap between Law and Reality: The Endurance of Oppressive Cultural Norms and the Silencing of Survivors of Domestic Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina” in the 2016 edition of the International Journal on Rule of Law, Transitional Justice and Human Rights Vol. 6.
- French (fluent)
- Irish (very good)
- Italian (very good)
- Spanish (very good)
Outside of work, Claire is a marathon and half marathon runner, Lindy Hop and solo jazz dancer. She also enjoys open-mic storytelling. In 2018, she was a National Finalist in the Dublin Story Slam in The Abbey Theatre, Dublin.
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