The three top-rated planning silks 2020: profiles

(l-r) Cristopher Katkowski, Rupert Warren QC, Christopher Young
(l-r) Cristopher Katkowski, Rupert Warren QC, Christopher Young

1. Christopher Katkowski QC

Katkowski returns to the top of the silks’ table for the fourth time in five years. “He combines huge intellect with an unrivalled work ethic and a keen sense of humour,” says one voter. Recent victories include acting for Tottenham Hotspur FC to secure permission for a mixed-use development including more than 300 homes near the club’s new stadium in north London. Looking ahead, Katkowski is instructed to act for the communities secretary to promote the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre next to Parliament. One solicitor notes his “utmost charm”, adding that he commands “the highest respect of judges, inspectors, his peers, clients and even third parties."

2 = Rubert Warren QC

Landmark Chambers

In the words of one solicitor, Warren possesses an “instinctive understanding of the UK planning system”. That instinct sees him move from third to joint second in our annual QC rankings. His caseload is diverse – call-in inquiries for tall buildings proposed in Vauxhall and Brentford, advising the government on the Oxford to Cambridge growth arc and representing retirement housebuilders at the London Plan examination. One legal professional describes Warren as “a standout silk with remarkable versatility in all contentious and advisory planning work”. Another notes he is “becoming a go-to for complex London development, high-density residential and heritage issues."

2 = Christopher Young QC

Just two years after becoming a QC, Young takes joint second in our silk rankings. One solicitor describes Young as “forensic, comprehensive and unyielding”. Another praises his aptitude for “pre-empting tricky points before they crop up at inquiry or in court”. In the past 12 months, he has appeared for numerous site promoters at local plan examinations and has won appeals for clients including Bloor Homes and Lousada. “His track record at appeal is extraordinary,” says one consultant, adding: “He is also very easy to work with and has a keen sense of humour, which can often help to defuse tensions within a team.”

View the full table of top-rated silks 2020 here.

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