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The Lawyer – Real estate: who’s hot property?

the lawyer

By James Willer 15 February 2016



The QC perspective

Which planning lawyers are easiest to work with, which have the most experience, and who has a reputation for “working with the world’s greatest architects”? These barristers tell all

The vast amount of development work taking place across the UK means that planning lawyers are in high demand. The work they carry out is integral to a project getting off the ground and their work does not go unnoticed by those in the industry.

The Lawyer has spoken to a number of barristers to find out which planning lawyers are at the top of their wishlist for future projects.

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Timothy Straker QC deals with a number of high-profile planning cases such as the new cycle super-highway across London. Outside of his own work Straker admires the work of a number of lawyers both in private practice and in-house.

First to be mentioned by Straker is London Borough of Newham’s senior planning lawyer Amanda-Jayne Campbell, who is currently working on planning applications regarding the development of London City Airport. The work is being carried out alongside 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square barristers Simon Randle and Marc Samuels.

“Amanda-Jayne has a good background in planning law having previously worked in relation to HS2 and other big organisations,” says Straker. “Whether it’s a big case, like the London City Airport, or other matters, she’s readily able to turn her hand to it in a very clear, methodical way, which is really what you want.”

Straker adds that Campbell is able to structure complex legal projects well and create workable timetables for all involved. This allows the legal teams to understand what is needed in order to move from “step one, to step two, to step three”.

DLA Piper planning partner Howard Bassford is also well thought of by barristers at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square. Bassford’s work on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon gained him a spot in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 list for 2016. The lagoon is the first of six planned renewable energy projects to be granted approved planning permission.

“He’s very good at seeing where the difficulties lie and when certain matters have to be treated with exceptional caution,” says Straker.

“Being able to see where the difficulties lie is very important for clients. If a solicitor can identify at a relatively early stage what problems there will be one year down the line, then the client benefits from being told that in month one rather than in month 12.”

Another of Bassford’s strengths is his ability to organise large teams of lawyers during complex projects, a skill that was no doubt important to his work on the Tidal Lagoon.

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