UK Bar: Environment 2018

This year our research identifies 46 standout barristers with a proven track record of environmental litigation and advisory work. The individuals listed in this chapter are renowned for their far-reaching environmental expertise, from regulation and compliance issues to transactional matters.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Stephen Hockman QC 6 Pump Court
2. Stephen Tromans QC 39 Essex Chambers
3. David Hart QC 1 Crown Office Row
4. James Maurici QC Landmark Chambers
1. Richard Macrory CBE Brick Court Chambers
2. James Burton 39 Essex Chambers
3. Richard Wald 39 Essex Chambers
4. Ned Westaway Francis Taylor Building


LANDMARK CHAMBERS is widely recognised as a leading planning and environmental chambers, whose members rank among the top environmental law experts in the UK. This year, the set sees five prestigious silks recognised for their work in the space.
The “excellent” James Maurici QC impresses commentators with his wide-ranging environmental practice, which covers a variety of matters including air quality, habits and species protection and climate change issues.
David Elvin QC is “held in high regard” as a long-standing environmental law expert by peers, who describe him as “very thorough and vastly experienced”.
Richard Drabble QC has built up an impressive environmental and planning practice earning him “a strong reputation in the field”.
David Forsdick QC is a distinguished practitioner with a wealth of experience handling a range of environmental law issues.
Lisa Busch QC is highly regarded among peers and clients alike, who commend her for her outstanding planning and environmental law practice.

39 ESSEX CHAMBERS is well known for its environmental and planning group. This year, four leading silks are highlighted by our research.
“Standout barrister” Stephen Tromans QC is “in a league of his own” according to impressed sources who describe him as “responsive, constructive and very user friendly”.
The “fantastic” Justine Thornton QC is widely regarded as “an environmental specialist”. She counsels a number of high-profile clients in the environmental space, including Greenpeace, and the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Nigel Pleming QC continues to impress sources who consider him “at the top of the tree in the environmental Bar” thanks to his “extensive experience” in the field.
Richard Harwood OBE QC focuses his top-tier practice on planning, environment and public law, and is widely considered one of the leading experts in the area.

FRANCIS TAYLOR BUILDING is home to four silks with an excellent reputation in the environmental arena.
The “outstanding” Robert McCracken QC is “a courageous practitioner” who impresses respondents with his “creative approach” to solving complex problems.
Gregory Jones QC is a key name in the market thanks to his expertise in EU environmental law as well as offshore marine spatial planning.

MATRIX CHAMBERS is well known for its strong environmental offering and sees three top silks highlighted this year.
David Wolfe QC is “very active in the field of environmental law”, regularly representing prominent clients in environmental legal challenges.
Philippe Sands QC is “unrivalled when it comes to international environmental law” according to one impressed source and is well versed in handling a range of related matters from pollution disputes to environmental assessments.
Richard Hermer QC is noted for his superb skills as an advocate, and has been called upon to appear in a number of high-profile private international claims in the area of environmental damage.

The “intelligent and charming” Stephen Hockman QC at 6 PUMP COURT is “a heavyweight and highly regarded practitioner” according to sources, who are “impressed by his attention to detail, commercial pragmatism and the depth and quality of his advice”.

The “brilliant” David Hart QC at 1 CROWN OFFICE ROW is “very well respected” by peers who describe him as “a real environmental law specialist”.

Gerry Facenna QC at MONCKTON CHAMBERS is extremely knowledgeable on EU environmental law and is widely held to be “an excellent advocate”.


6 PUMP COURT once again leads our research at the junior Bar, achieving an impressive six listings.
The “outstanding” Charles Morgan is well known for his sophisticated knowledge of water law, and is considered by peers to be one of the leading juniors in this area.
David Hercock impresses commentators who admire his “thoroughness and diligence in his preparation”, adding that he is “well informed and approachable at all times”.
Richard Banwell boasts a stellar reputation in the market and stands out for his excellent work advising developers, local authorities and the Environment Agency on the crossover between planning and environmental regimes.

39 ESSEX CHAMBERS’ juniors also perform well in our research, with two leading individuals selected for inclusion.
James Burton is held in high esteem by peers who comment, “He’s one to watch in the environmental space.”
The “excellent” Richard Wald is a top environmental, planning and public lawyer, widely recommended for being “dedicated, precise, diligent and open-minded”.

MATRIX CHAMBERS is home to two leading juniors who are highlighted for their work in the area.
Kate Cook “stands out” as one of the leading environmental law specialists at the Bar and draws praise for her work advising on climate change issues.
Maurice Sheridan is a long-standing fixture in the market, receiving plaudits for sound judgement and comprehensive understanding of EU environmental law.

Richard Macrory CBE at BRICK COURT CHAMBERS is a distinguished environmental lawyer who boasts “an excellent reputation in the field”. He stands out in our research as the foremost junior in the field at the Bar.

At FRANCIS TAYLOR BUILDINGS, Ned Westaway has “a very high profile” in the space and someone whom “everyone recognises as a rising star.” He is frequently called upon to counsel on a range of matters including nature conservations, nuisance claims and contaminated land.

Gwion Lewis at LANDMARK CHAMBERS “instils confidence in his clients thanks to his high level expertise”. One source comments: “Gwion never fails to impress with his ability to produce high-quality and succinct arguments designed to win in a very short time frame”.

The “outstanding” Alan Bates at MONCKTON CHAMBERS is a leading junior who regularly advises on EU law in the context of environmental protection. One source effuses, “What he doesn't know isn't worth knowing.” 

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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.

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