The three top-rated junior planning barristers 2020: profiles

(l-r) Richard Turney, Zack Simons, Rebecca Clutten
(l-r) Richard Turney, Zack Simons, Rebecca Clutten

1. Richard Turney

Landmark Chambers

This year’s most highly rated junior barrister is described by one solicitor as “one of the best advocates of his generation” who is “increasingly appearing in the most highprofile cases”. This has included acting for Heathrow Airport in defending challenges to the Airports National Policy Statement, challenging the secretary of state’s refusal of permission for a 32-storey residential tower in Chiswick and acting for Highways England at a development consent order examination for the Stonehenge tunnel. Turney’s diverse list of cases and clients brings “a valuable range of perspectives to the advice he gives”, says his legal colleague. Another solicitor agrees, noting Turney’s “impressive knowledge of infrastructure law and policy”.

2. Zack Simons

Landmark Chambers

Simons is "a real rising star", says one solicitor, commending his ability to offer clients "practical and very robust advice" in an "approachable and digestible way". Another solicitor says Simons is "simply brilliant at judicial review work", adding: "He is also a walking case law resource." Notable instructions have included acting for a housebuilder to successfully challenge the five-year housing land supply of Milton Keynes Council, just three months after the authority adopted a new local plan. In one case, Simons persuaded Supreme Court judges to uphold a Court of Appeal decision that overturned permission for a wind turbine, establishing that a community fund donation cannot qualify as a material planning consideration.

3. Rebecca Clutten

Francis Taylor Building

“Astute, commercial, hard-working,” says one solicitor of Clutten, who is prized by clients who value her ability to make complex issues easily understood. The Francis Taylor Building junior’s cases include acting for a landowner to overturn seven enforcement notices relating to the commercial use of a site in the green belt. Current instructions include acting for a student housing developer in relation to a £30 million claim against High Speed 2 and advising Tower Hamlets Council in relation to a planned compulsory purchase order for the Chrisp Street market. One legal colleague says Clutten is “smart, articulate and undoubtedly a future star of the planning bar”.

View the full table of top-rated planning juniors 2020 here.

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