St John’s Chambers’ ‘very impressive’ team is noted for its expertise in planning matters.”


Our Public and Administrative Law team are highly experienced and provide expert advice and specialist advocacy in all courts from Magistrates’ Courts to the Supreme Court. Our advocates appear for clients at public inquiries (particularly in planning and related fields), tribunals, local licensing committees, and other bodies including tribunals and particularly the Special Educational Needs Tribunals.

The increasing workload and regulatory activities of local authorities and other statutory bodies have created a rapidly growing demand for specialist legal support in this complex field.

Areas of expertise:

We act for individuals, corporate and business clients, as well as a range of departments of local government at county, city, borough and district level, and for other public bodies. We also receive instructions via licensed access from planning consultants, chartered surveyors and others, and understand the working practices of fellow professionals. In appropriate cases, members also undertake public access work from the general public.
We also undertake prosecution and defence work in the criminal courts, particularly in the public and regulatory fields.

To make our service as cost-effective as possible, we are happy to appear in court without an instructing solicitor or other professional present when appropriate, and where the Bar Code of Conduct permits. We are happy to provide realistic costs quotes, and to agree costs, where that can reasonably be done, at the outset of a case.

This group covers all areas of administrative court work including JR and statutory review (for example in the Planning Court), public inquiries, tribunals and boards, the Human Rights Act 1998, local authorities, regulatory offences and Coroners.

One area of expansion has been in ‘Village Green’ work following decisions in recent years by the House of Lords and the Supreme Court. It forms an important part of the PAL group’s work, and various members of the group are happy to advise in this area. Read more.

Finally, the increasing use of JR as a means of challenge in all areas of public law – against an increasing range of public and quasi-public bodies – has meant that the Public & Administrative Law Practice Group has dealt with many commercial cases in the field of JR as well as the more conventional challenges by JR to public bodies.


The team delivers workshops and seminars in Chambers and at regional centres. We also provide training on behalf of local Law Societies and in conjunction with firms of solicitors and also councils. We can also provide tailored in-house training for particular firms. If you would like any further information please contact Paul Nuttall 0117 923 4742 or email: [email protected].

Public & Administrative Law Team

Suzanne Ornsby KC

  • Call: 1986
  • Silk: 2012

Suzanne Ornsby KC is a highly proficient public, planning and environmental lawyer with wide experience of acting for utilities, multinationals, planning authorities, action groups and individuals. She is regularly involved in statutory challenges and judicial reviews as well...

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Peter Wadsley

  • Call: 1984

Peter specialises in planning, local government and environment law. He heads the Public & Administrative Law Practice Group at St John’s Chambers. He also has extensive experience in public rights of way inquiries and associated topics, as well...

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John Sharples

John Sharples

  • Call: 1992

John is a very experienced adviser and advocate and has practised in the area of Highways and Public Rights of Way for many years. He is ranked in Band 1 for both real estate litigation and chancery in...

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Roy Light

Roy Light

  • Call: 1992

Roy accepts instructions in all areas of licensing. He is highly commended for his advocacy, legal knowledge, negotiating skills and approachable client-friendly manner. He acts for individuals and small businesses as well as public authorities and international corporations...

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Tim Leader

Timothy Leader

  • Call: 1994

Tim appears regularly at public inquiries and has handled all kinds of proposals, including those for housing development (with a focus on those raising issues relating to the need for housing and housing land supply), employment, retail, listed...

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Judi Evans

  • Call: 1996

Judi has practised in the area of planning law since 1996 and has great experience in relation to advising on and/or attending public inquiries in relation to: Residential, commercial, agricultural and leisure developments Local Plans (housing, employment, landscape,...

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Harry Spurr

  • Call: 2001

Harry is an accomplished and directory-ranked mediator in commercial, civil and property disputes.  Described recently as “at the top of his profession”, “highly skilled” and “outstanding”, he is regularly commended by parties for his mediation style, and in...

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Guy Adams

Guy Adams

  • Call: 1989

Guy has a niche administrative law practice as part of a wider commercial and chancery practice. He both acts for private individuals and commercial bodies, whose interests have been adversely affected by administrative decisions, and public authorities. He...

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