Practice Profile

Michael has a developing practice in all areas of Chambers’ expertise. He has repeatedly appeared in the High Court both challenging and defending decisions, for developers and for local residents, often against much senior Counsel. 

Michael read law at Queen Mary where he graduated with First Class Honours in 2014, and completed the BCL at Oxford University in 2015. He then worked as a law clerk to the British Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union for two years. His main areas of interest include:

  • Planning law;
  • Public law and human rights;
  • Licensing; 
  • Rating; 
  • Enforcement; 
  • Local Government; 
  • Infrastructure; 
  • Village greens and Public Rights of Way and
  • Environmental law, in particular with an EU law dimension;
     
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Michael has a wide experience of planning issues, including:
•    Judicial review & statutory challenges;
•    Challenges to officers’ reports;
•    Lawful development certificates;
•    Enforcement notices;
•    The interpretation of planning policy (including the NPPF 2021);
•    Listed buildings & conservation areas;
•    Interpretation & enforceability of planning conditions;

Michael has substantial experience of planning at all levels. 

Pre-permission stage
He recently advised a London local authority on a highly controversial planning application in a residential area, in the vicinity of a listed heritage facility. He also assisted a residential group successfully resist a development in a conservation area in London, with the Committee unanimously refusing to follow the Officer’s recommendation.  He has a solid grasp of planning policy and is happy to assist local authorities and potential developers alike on the full range of issues that arise in planning law. 

Appeal stage
Michael represented a Parish Council at a hearing for a development raising complex points of law in relation to a redevelopment in a sea-side town. He also recently successfully appealed against two enforcement notices, and obtained full costs against the local planning authority (APP/A2280/C/21/3274505 and 06). 

Post-permission
Michael is familiar with the challenges – both bringing and defending – to the grant of planning permission. He is able to offer practical advice on all aspects after the grant of permission.

Michael has a keen interest in all aspects of public law. He assisted, unled, defending a complex judicial review claim for education for asylum seekers under the age of 18 against a local authority, which raised complex points of international and European human rights law (the case settled after Summary Grounds of Resistance).

He acted (led by Ben Collins KC and Nicholas Chapman) for the successful Parole Board in the judicial review of the Secretary of State for Justice (Dominic Raab) direction regarding the release of prisoners, in R(oao Bailey) v SSJ [2023] EWHC 821 (Admin). The case attracted substantial media attention (See, e.g. in The Guardian).

During pupillage, Michael assisted Isabella Tafur in two cases before the Court of Appeal that raised broad-ranging issues in relation to Environmental Impact Assessments (after People Over Wind) and Appropriate Assessments under the Habitats Regulations: R(Wingfield) v Canterbury City Council, Redrow Homes and HNC Developments LLP [2020] EWCA Civ 1588. 

Michael is happy to assist in all areas of environmental law, and has regularly advised developers and local planning authorities alike on various aspects of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Assessments processes. 

Michael has experience in acting for a range of parties in licensing matters, and has appeared for both license holders, licensing authorities and acted as legal advisor to Licensing Sub-Committees. He recently acted for a successful applicant for a licence in a busy London borough in a cumulative impact zone:

He has acted for a number of parties who have sought to challenge adverse decisions relating to licencing, including in the Crown Court.

Michael also has experience of gambling licensing, and has acted for a number of private hire vehicle owners seeking to challenge the revocation of their licence.

Michael assisted Isabella Tafur in a multi-million pound compensation case before the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), which settled during trial. At issue was whether a proposed development on the site would have been granted permission. The principal policy was a complex, ‘tiered’ policy, and there were significant heritage issues involving multiple Listed Buildings.

Michael also drafted pleadings for a landowner in a claim arising out of an order to purchase four homes. The claim raised complex points, including on situations where there is a “negative equity” and interests on mortgage repayments. The case settled prior to hearing in the Upper Tribunal on terms favourable to the client.

Michael represented Network Rail (lead by Rebecca Clutten) in its application for an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 to build a new station in Cambridge. The case – heard over six weeks – raised complex points regarding noise, vibration, and electro-magnetic interference. There were also heritage issues and legal issues regarding rights of way over the rails. Michael dealt with the handling of two expert witnesses, and assisted in drafting the Opening and Closing Submissions. 

Michael assisted Rebecca Clutten on an important point of principle concerning the powers of an applicant for a development consent order to enter private land to carry out surveying and related matters under the Planning Act 2008 and the Housing and Planning Act 2016. The case settled as it became academic. 

Michael assisted in drafting an opinion for a local authority on a number of issues arising under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 including issues of vires, procedure, and the powers of local authorities over public and private land; he has also advised a Welsh authority on whether certain acts were executive or non-executive in character.

Michael assisted Rebecca Clutten on an important point of principle concerning the powers of an applicant for a development consent order to enter private land to carry out surveying and related matters under the Planning Act 2008 and the Housing and Planning Act 2016. The case settled as it became academic. 

Michael will also be junior to Rebecca Clutten on a three week-long Inquiry into a Transport and Works Act Order for a proposed station in Cambridge.

Michael has a keen interest in the law relating to village greens. He has recently successfully appeared in the following leading cases in the High Court:

  • R(oao Bellway Homes) v Kent CC  [2022] EWHC 2593 (Admin).  (led by Richard Honey KC) on the meaning of ‘trigger events’ under the Commons Act 2006 which raised difficult questions as to the interaction between the TVG and planning regimes; 
  • R(oao Strack) v SSEFRA [2023] EWHC 655 (Admin) (led by Douglas Edwards KC) on the approach to deregistration of greens under s. 16 of the 2006 Act. 

He also assisted other members of Chambers on whether ‘cul-de-sac’ ways could be dedicated under section 31 of the Highways Act 1980, and on potential recourses against an individual who submits a vexatious Definitive Map Modification Order. 

Michael had substantial experience of rating and the Council Tax in Pupillage, which he has carried over to his current practice. He has represented local authorities in the VTE on complex points of council tax law (on the empty homes premium) and successfully defended an appeal from the VTE to the High Court. 

He is also familiar with CIL, having recently advised a local authority on whether CIL could be claimed after the relevant development was completed. 

He is happy to assist in all areas relating to these matters. 

Michael assisted in the drafting of a defence to a pre-action protocol letter for advertisement consent for a well-known high street brand on Oxford Circus. The case involved a complex interaction between the regimes of express and deemed consent under the Control of Advertisement Regulations 2007. 

Michael has provided a range of advices – both to local authorities and to developers subject to enforcement notices – to those in need of assistance in this complex area. He has also represented people charged with breaching enforcement notices, and is comfortable representing defendants and prosecuting authorities in the Magistrates’ Courts.

  • Queen Mary, Law (First Class Honours) (2011 – 2014)
  • University of Oxford, Bachelor of Civil Law (2014 – 2015)
  • BPP University Law School, Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding) (2018 – 2019)

Bar Awards & Scholarships

  • Sir Joseph Priestly Award (Inner Temple) (2019) (awarded to undertake a clerkship at the Constitutional Court of South Africa)
  • Princess Royal Scholarship (Inner Temple) (2018) (awarded to study the Bar Professional Training Course)
  • Pro Bono Award – awarded by BPP to study the BPTC (2018)
  • Excellence Award – awarded by BPP to study the BPTC (2018)
  • Gilbert Murray Trust Award; Global Justice Internship Fund; Southern African Judicial Assistance Project (awarded for various projects in 2015) 

University Awards & Scholarships 

  • Leverhulme trust Prize (excellence in final year at University) (2014)
  • Oxford University Prize (award for top marks Equity & Trust Law) (2013)
  • Property Law Prize (award for top marks in Property Law) (2012)

 

Is it really lawful to conduct licensing sub-committee hearings remotely? A sceptical view, Journal of Licensing, (November 2021)

Forfeiting proceeds: civil forfeiture, the right to property and the Constitution. South African Law Journal (May 2021) 

Greening the Law: the Reception of Environmental Law and Its Enforcement in International Law and European Union Law 2018 Columbia Journal of European Law 

Charting the Charter: A UK Guide to the Application of the EU Charter, 2017 (3) Judicial Review 295. 

Standing their Ground: Why are EU Standing Rules for Direct Actions (still) so Restrictive? 2016 European Journal of Legal Studies (online)
Cited with approval in Opinion of Advocate General Wathelet in C-244/16 P Industrias Químicas del Vallés v Commission ECLI:EU:C:2017:635 

Michael is also a regular contributor to the UK Human Rights Blog

  • UKELA
  • PEBA
  • ALBA

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Latest from Michael
03
May' 24
The Murfitt Principle in the Court of Appeal: SSLUHC v Caldwell and Timberstore Limited

The Court of Appeal has given judgment in Secretary of State for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities v Caldwell [2024] EWCA Civ 467.

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26
Apr' 24
Deregistration of Town and Village Greens: Strack in the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal challenging the deregistration of a town and village green (“TVG”) and its replacement with adjoining land.

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14
Feb' 24
72 Flat Scheme on Brownfield Site in Romford: Appeal Dismissed

The Appellant, London Square Ltd, sought permission for four to five storey residential buildings comprising a total of 72 flats, together with ancillary development such as amenity space and parking.

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29
Jan' 24
Planning Injunctions Against Persons Unknown After Wolverhampton City Council v London Gypsies and Travellers – the High Court Decision in Buckinghamshire Council v Barrett [2024] EWHC 140 (KB)

In what is likely the first decided case of this nature since the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in Wolverhampton City Council v London Gypsies and Travellers [2023] UKSC 47, the High Court has considered an application for a planning injunction against persons unknown, as well as against a named defendant. 

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23
Feb' 23
Gateshead Revisited – when can it be assumed that carbon emission controls will be effective? A look at Ground 3 in Bristol Airport Action Network Co-Ordinating Committee v SSLUHC and Bristol Airport

When granting planning permission, can it be assumed that the systems for controlling carbon emissions will be effective?  

This was an issue when a Panel appointed by the Secretary of State granted planning permission to an extension of Bristol Airport (“the Decision”). 

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04
Apr' 22
Brave New (and Green) World: Biodiversity Net Gain

This is a further post on the Environment Act 2021 (“the Act”) dealing with the new provisions on biodiversity net gain (“BNG”), found in Part 6 of the Act, and the ongoing consultation on BNG that is being carried out by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (“Defra”). These provisions are not yet in force. This article is therefore forward-looking, and considers what is on the horizon for environmental law.

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20
Jan' 22
The Environment Act 2021: Background, Structure and Targets

The Act was billed as “the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth” – admittedly in the Conservative Party Manifesto in 2019 (see here, p. 5 of the PDF), where understatements are rare. But the Act as a whole was clearly envisaged as a watershed moment for the protection of the environment in the UK.

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16
Nov' 21
COP26 – A Look at Week Two and the Glasgow Climate Pact

COPs are a mixed bunch. Some have lead to significant success. The 2015 COP led to the Paris Agreement, which spells out a large part of the international legal framework to combat climate change. Some have been much less successful. The COP in Copenhagen in 2009 (COP15) all but disintegrated, with one chief negotiator lambasting the resultant agreement as “the lowest level of ambition you can imagine

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