Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012

UK Bar: Environment 2017

This chapter identifies 45 leading barristers who have a proven track record in providing environment representation and advice to clients in relation to regulation and compliance obligations, as well as strategic planning, and dispute resolution with extensive experience managing national and cross-border litigation. Below we highlight the most highly regarded individuals. 

Most Highly Regarded
David Hart QC 1 Crown Office Row
Stephen Hockman QC 6 Pump Court
Stephen Tromans QC 39 Essex Chambers
James Maurici QC Landmark Chambers
David Wolfe QC Matrix Chambers
Mark Harris 6 Pump Court
Richard Honey Francis Taylor Building
Ned Westaway Francis Taylor Building


39 ESSEX CHAMBERS performs strongly in this chapter with six silks identified as market leaders. Drawing on its traditional roots in public, energy, commercial and common law, the set has extensive expertise in all areas of environmental, planning and property law.
Stephen Tromans QC is described as “the pre-eminent silk in the environmental market and is praise for his “encyclopaedic knowledge of environmental law”. His practice includes both regulatory and commercial aspects of environmental law, and often handles matters with an international and EU element. Clients say they would “certainly recommend him for his knowledge and competency", combined with “a practical and sound approach" to complex matters.
Justine Thornton QC is known for her “concise and sensible opinions” which draw on her “excellent knowledge of the area”. She is particularly known for her regulatory and criminal environmental protection practice.
Nigel Pleming QC has “been at the top of the tree for a long time” and is praised for being an “excellent advocate, who commands the ear of the judge”.
The “excellent” Richard Harwood QC acts for developers, central and local government, landowners, interest groups and individuals.

LANDMARK CHAMBERS is similarly well regarded with six silks identified out of seven listings in total.  As established specialists in environmental, planning, and public law, the set is renowned for handling matters throughout the UK, Europe and internationally, with experience of litigation across the courts of England, as well as the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and the Northern Ireland Courts.
James Maurici QC has a “well-deserved reputation” handling a broad variety of matters including habitats and species protection, air quality and contaminated land, among other matters. One instructing solicitor responded: “James has excellent legal knowledge; he is very user-friendly, completely reliable and a pleasure to work with; in addition, James has always been very clear in his advice, outstanding with clients and an excellent advocate.”
David Elvin QC has “been at the top for years”, according to peers. He receives particular praise from one respondent, who describes him as “simply the most impressive opponent in environmental law cases at the Bar".
Nathalie Lieven QC is seen as "undoubtedly at the top of the field” with an “extremely common sensed approach combined with excellent legal knowledge”. Her practice includes public inquiries and planning challenges in the High Court.
Richard Drabble QC is also well known for his market leading practice having appeared at all levels of domestic courts, as well as the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and the former Commission.

Four standout silks are recognised at FRANCIS TAYLOR BUILDING, a set renowned for its public law focus and particular specialism in planning, environmental and licensing matters.
Gregory Jones QC’s widely endorsed practice encompasses a broad variety of issues with expertise of criminal environmental regulatory offences, as well as the application of EU law in the UK courts. Sources say he “the outstanding silk in regard to nuisance claims”.
Robert McCracken QC is "definitely a leading name in environment law” with widely noted knowledge and experience covering wide range of planning and environmental disputes, typically on the claimant side.

From 6 PUMP COURT, Stephen Hockman QC is very well regarded, especially for climate change and criminal matters. One client describes him as “our go-to – he is a real heavyweight and very approachable and user-friendly”. Another notes, “Stephen has excellent powers of analysis and impeccable judgement; he prepares thoroughly and is an advocate of some style with genuine authority and gravitas."

At 1 CROWN OFFICE ROW David Hart QC is “probably the leading QC” and “at least in the top three”. His extensive experience includes both regulatory and transactional issues, appearing at all levels of the domestic and relevant EU courts.

David Wolfe QC from MATRIX CHAMBERS ranks among the top five silks. He is in high demand for both domestic and EU environmental law matters


6 PUMP COURT leads the way in our research at the junior Bar, particularly for its regulatory law expertise, with five practitioners receiving recognition in this chapter.
Mark Harris has a standout practice, with an emphasis on criminal regulatory proceedings. One source notes, “Mark is one of the most experienced juniors in this area, as well as a first-class advocate with a real appetite for hard work.”
Richard Banwell has a strong reputation on the prosecution side with specific experience handling infrastructure projects relating to contaminated land, waste water, waste disposal and energy generation.
Mark Watson has a widely cited regulatory and criminal enforcement practice in the area, with respondents agreeing that he is “a top-class senior junior”.

Two senior juniors at FRANCIS TAYLOR BUILDING earn recognition.
Ned Westaway is well known for handling matters relating to contaminated land, nuisance, and nature conservation, among others, representing major clients including the Environment Agency, the Marine Management Organisation and Natural England. He is a “powerful advocate” and “a widely recognised rising star”, according to respondents.
Richard Honey is an “outstanding junior” with “strong legal knowledge” and “first-class written work”, according to commentators. He is very visible acting for both regulators and private sector clients.

39 ESSEX CHAMBERS is also home to two standout juniors.
Richard Wald’s practice covers all matters pertaining to planning and environmental law. One source notes, “I found him to be very well informed, charming and easy to work with.”
James Burton is “a fine barrister”, noted for his public law expertise in relation to environmental and planning matters. He has been recently active for petitioners in the HS2 bill.                                                                                                           

The following two juniors from MATRIX CHAMBERS stand out.
Kate Cook is described as “highly intelligent, a pleasure to work with and someone who knows the field well.” Her environmental law experience includes advising on the EU common fisheries policies, animal wealth fare and environmental protection, including in relation to trade involving animal produce and timber.
Maurice Sheridan is lauded for his excellent knowledge of EU law in relation to the field. He has “a fine legal mind”, says one source.

Back to top

Follow us on LinkedIn

News & Features

Community News



Pro Bono

Corporate Counsel

Women in Law

Future Leaders

The UK Bar

Practice Areas


The Who's Who Legal 100


Special Reports



About Us

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

Copyright © 2017 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. |

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910 |

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK