Katherine Barnes

Year of call:

020 7832 1111

Katherine practises planning and environmental law, as well as public law and human rights in its broadest sense.

She graduated from Queens’ College, Cambridge with a First Class degree in French and Spanish before converting to law. She then obtained an LLM with distinction in public law and human rights from the London School of Economics.

Katherine has appeared as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal, High Court, Upper Tribunal, Court of Protection, County Court, Crown Court and Magistrates Courts.

She is listed as one of the top ten ‘Highest Rated Planning Juniors Under 35’ by Planning Magazine (2019).

As former co-chair of Young Legal Aid Lawyers (2017-2019), Katherine is committed to access to justice and legal aid work. She is also a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel.

Planning and Environment

Katherine practises in all areas of planning and environmental law, including the specialist areas of town and village greens, assets of community value and highways. Her clients include developers, local authorities, NGOs, community groups and individuals.

She is listed as one of the top ten ‘Highest Rated Planning Juniors Under 35’ by Planning Magazine (2019).

Judicial review and statutory appeals

Notable cases include:

  • R (Brommell) v Reading District Council [2018] EWHC 3529 (Admin) – acted as sole counsel for the Claimant in a judicial review of a grant of planning permission for a school on public playing fields.
  • R (Buckley) v Bath and North East Somerset District Council [2018] EWHC 1551 (Admin)– acted as junior for the successful Claimant in a judicial review of the decision to demolish a major council estate. The decision was quashed on equalities grounds.
  • R (Peters) v London Borough of Haringey [2018] EWHC 192 (Admin)  – acted as junior for the Claimant in a challenge to the Haringey Development Vehicle.  The case deals with the important question of whether a development vehicle can be set up as a partnership, or whether it must be a company.
  • R (Dillner) v Sheffield County Council [2016] EWHC 945 (Admin)  – acted as junior for the successful Defendant in a challenge to a street maintenance project which involved the replacement of street trees.
  • R (NHS Property Services Limited) v Surrey County Council [2016] EWHC 1715 – acted as junior for the Defendant in a judicial review concerning the “statutory incompatibility” doctrine in town and village green cases.
  • Assisted with an application to the European Court of Human Rights following the Supreme Court decision of Coventry v Lawrence (No 3)[2015] UKSC 50 challenging the lawfulness of the UK costs regime under Article 6 and Article 1 Protocol 1 of the ECHR.


Katherine is regularly instructed to appear at planning inquiries both as sole counsel and as a junior. Recent examples of her inquiry work are given below.


  • Acted for the successful Rule 6 party at a 2 week planning inquiry concerning a large housing development (350 units) with supporting infrastructure.  The appeal was refused on landscape grounds despite the absence of a five year housing land supply.
  • Acted for the successful Rule 6 party at a 2 week planning inquiry concerning a housing development (125 units) in a rural area. The developer withdrew the appeal after the Inspector accepted submissions from the Rule 6 party that the inquiry should be reopened for a further 2 days to consider matters pertaining to five year housing land supply.
  • Acted for the successful local authority as a junior in a recent inquiry concerning five year housing land supply and prematurity. The inquiry involved the presentation of complex expert evidence on objectively assessed need.


  • Represented a Rule 6 Party (as a junior), two conjoined residents’ associations, at a 1 week planning inquiry concerned with the regeneration of a large Council estate. The main issues were loss of open space, affordable housing and failure to provide community facilities.

Food and drink/retail

  • Appeared for the successful Rule 6 party in respect of a 6 day planning inquiry regarding the establishment of a large food hall (over 500 covers) in east London. The appeal was dismissed on heritage grounds.
  • Katherine is currently advising (as a junior) a local authority on an application for a major retail park.


  • Represented the successful local authority in a 1 day inquiry concerning the refusal to issue a lawful development certificate for a large campsite.

Gypsy and traveller work

  • Acted for an Interested Party at an 8 day inquiry concerning an appeal against an enforcement notice requiring a dismantlement of a long-standing gypsy settlement. The Inspector accepted the submissions by the Interested Party that time to comply with the enforcement notice should be extended by around a year.

Town and village greens

  • Katherine is currently instructed to represent a Parish Council at a 2 week village green inquiry.

Plans and Strategies

Katherine has a particular interest in work concerning plans and strategies. Work in this area includes:

  • Promoting (as a junior) Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Local Plan.
  • Promoting (as a junior) the West of England’s Joint Spatial Plan.
  • Advising on a s.113 reasonable alternatives challenge to a local plan.
  • Advising a group objecting to various transport policies in a local plan.
  • Katherine is currently (as a junior) advising a water company on its water resources management plan.


  • Katherine regularly appears in the criminal courts in relation the planning enforcement matters, prosecuting for local authorities and defending individuals. For example, she recently secured a conviction for breach of a condition notice and an order that the prosecuting local authority receive its costs in full.
  • Katherine also has experience of applications under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as well as injunctions under s.187B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Public Procurement and State Aid

Katherine has a particular interest in procurement law in a planning and regeneration context, as well as EU State Aid law having studied this subject as part of her Masters. Work in this area includes:

  • Advising a local authority on a potential claim for judicial review concerning the application of State Aid rules to a particular type of CIL contribution.
  • Advising on a challenge to a major mixed use development on the basis of non-compliance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.


Katherine is familiar with the DCO process through assisting with work on a variety of major infrastructure projects including the Overground Extension and Able Marine Energy Park. She was recently instructed (as a junior) to advise on a potential judicial review of a DCO for a major highways scheme.

Compulsory Purchase and Compensation

  • Katherine has assisted with various compulsory purchase matters including a disturbance and extinguishment claim and advice concerning the transfer of title following the notice to treat procedure.
  • Katherine has given training to a central government department and local authorities in relation to compulsory purchase matters.

Other work

  • Katherine regularly advises on issues such as planning obligations (including affordable housing), planning conditions, changes of use, permitted development rights, AONB policy and heritage impact.
  • Katherine has recently advised (as a junior) a Premier League football club on the extent to which its stadium complies with equalities legislation.  More broadly, she has advised on equality impact assessments across all areas of local government, including in respect of housing and regeneration schemes.
  • She has worked on cases concerning tree preservation orders, liability for remediation of contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, environmental impact assessments, the Habitats Directive, air quality and flooding.








Public Law and Human Rights

Katherine practises all areas of public law and human rights law. She has particular experience in the areas outlined below (including related claims for discrimination):

  • Health and Community Care (including Court of Protection)
  • Education
  • Prison
  • Asylum Support
  • Social Security

Health and Community Care (including Court of Protection)

Judicial review

  • Acting for the successful Claimant in a judicial review of a hospital trust’s decision to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders.
  • Acting for a severely disabled child in a successful judicial review of the refusal to grant a Disabled Facilities Grant .
  • Acting for a severely disabled child in a challenge to the CCG’s decision to cut his overnight nursing allowance.
  • Advising a mentally ill man on the obligations of three local authorities in which he had resided to recent years to provide him with accommodation under s.117 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
  • Various challenges to local authorities’ failure to conduct lawful care needs assessments and/or produce lawful care and support plans under the Care Act 2014. She has particular expertise in respect of the provisions which apply when an individual moves from one local authority area to another.
  • Various applications for judicial review concerning local authorities’ failure to conduct lawful assessments under s.17 and/or their refusal to provide suitable accommodation under s.20 of the Children Act 1989.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (as part of GLD’s junior junior scheme) in R (Hutchinson & Anor) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2018] EWHC 1698 (Admin), a challenge to the Government’s “Alternative Care Providers” policy, said to represent a move towards the privatisation of the NHS.
  • Advising on the lawfulness of a decision by a local authority to close a centre for sufferers of dementia.


Court of Protection

  • Court of Protection proceedings under s.16 MCA 2005 (personal welfare matters), challenges to deprivation of liberty orders under s.21A MCA 2005 and medical treatment cases. Katherine has acted for the Official Solicitor, family members, local authorities and health bodies. She also recently advised on a particularly complex case involving a young man with a brain tumour and serious mental health problems who repeatedly instructed that he wanted treatment for the tumour but ran away from hospital in fright every time doctors tried to administer treatment.



  • Katherine is currently instructed in a judicial review of the decision by Portsmouth City Council to reduce its special educational needs funding by c.£400,000. A key part of the challenge concerns the introduction of a “Banding Policy” whereby funding for special educational provision is determined by way of the band allocated to the child.

School Closure

  • Katherine recently acted for the Claimant (as a junior) in judicial review of the decision to close a rural primary school.

Higher Education

  • Katherine has advised on students’ rights and obligations in relation to student finance, and recently advised in respect of a potential judicial review of a decision by Student Finance England to terminate a student’s eligibility for student finance.
  • She has also regularly advises on complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, as well as civil claims against universities for breach of contract, educational negligence, as well as discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010.

Special Educational Needs

  • Katherine regularly appears before the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal in a variety of challenges to EHC plans and Statements. She has particular experience of disputes concerning “education otherwise” and also of cases which overlap with complex social care and health care issues.  In addition, Katherine has experience of appeals to the Upper Tribunal.  She has also advised on judicial reviews concerning the treatment of children with SEN by Academies.
  • She was recently instructed on behalf of the Claimant in a complex claim for judicial review concerning the suitability of school transport and the failure to issue an EHCP within the statutory time limit.  The local authority conceded the claim and agreed to pay the Claimant’s costs.

Admissions and Exclusions

  • Katherine has represented parents at various admissions and exclusion appeals. She recently appeared for a father at a hearing before the Independent Review Panel in which the decision to exclude his daughter from secondary was quashed on the basis of apparent bias.


  • Katherine recently appeared on behalf of the Claimants, the parents of a child with autism, in a successful disability discrimination claim against their child’s primary school.  She has also advised on discrimination in the context of higher education.

Religious Liberty and Freedom of Expression

  • Katherine has a keen interest in education cases concerning questions of religious liberty and freedom of expression. For example, she worked on Alam v Secretary of State for Education (as part of GLD’s junior junior scheme), an appeal against a direction prohibiting the Director of a chain of academies from taking part in the management of any independent school. This followed his alleged role in promoting extremist views in Birmingham schools as revealed by the Trojan Horse scandal.

Non-school attendance

  • Katherine has experience of prosecutions for non-school attendance. She recently appeared in the Crown Court on behalf of a local authority to resist an appeal against conviction and sentence for non-school attendance. The appeal was dismissed.


  • Katherine has advised on various aspects of regulatory law in an educational context.  She recently represented the registered owner of a child-minding facility in respect of an investigation by Ofsted.
  • She recently advised a foster parent who had been removed from the local authority’s register following an unsubstantiated allegation of historic child abuse.  The local authority agreed to reconsider its decision on the basis of the letter before claim.
  • Katherine recently acted for Ofsted (as a junior) in relation to the case study on child sexual abuse at residential Catholic schools as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Prison Law

  • Katherine is often instructed in respect of difficulties faced by disabled prisoners and / or prisoners with care needs. These complex claims typically involve multiple Defendants and include arguments under the Equality Act 2010, the Human Rights Act 1998 and/or the breach of obligations under the Care Act 2014. Much of her work also concerns the rights of such prisoners to accommodation, health care and social care on release from prison.
  • Katherine acted for a prisoner in a judicial review of her prison’s refusal to allow visits from her partner. The claim was conceded.
  • Katherine is currently instructed to act for a Jewish prisoner seeking to challenge by way of judicial review his prison’s failure to provide him with access to a rabbi and kosher food.
  • She recently advised on a potential judicial review of the refusal to recategorise a prisoner from Category A to Category B.
  • She recently provided advice on a discrimination claim concerning the delay providing a transgender prisoner with hormonal treatment.
  • She advised on and drafted a claim against the Ministry of Defence concerning the failure of a prison to provide a prisoner with a diet recommended by the prison doctor.

Asylum Support

  • Katherine is regularly instructed in judicial reviews, many of which are urgent, relating to the failure to provide asylum support to asylum seekers. She recently secured a significant damages payment for an asylum seeker with serious mental health problems who had been housed in inadequate accommodation for several months.

Social Security

  • Katherine represented the successful Respondent, a pensioner, in an appeal by the Secretary of State in the Upper Tribunal case of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Goulding.  The case concerned the correct construction of the State Pension Credit Regulations 2002.
  • Other work includes advising on the entitlement to housing benefit of those living on caravan sites, as well as advising a retired member of the Navy on his entitlement to a War Pension.

Other human rights work

  • Katherine carries out work for the Caravana UK Lawyers Group, an NGO which tackles abuse experienced by lawyers and human rights defenders in Colombia. In the summer of 2016 she was selected by the Caravana to participate in its 2016 fact-finding mission to Colombia. The Caravana’s report of this visit, entitled “The search for peace with justice and human rights in Colombia” is available here.
  • She recently drafted an intervention (as a junior) on behalf of the Caravana in a challenge to Colombian legislation which imposes an absolute prohibition access by the public to information held by the intelligence services. The intervention focused on the relevant human rights standards under Articles 8 and 10 of the ECHR: available here.
  • Katherine recently advised the Global Legal Alliance Network (“GLAN”) in respect of a potential claim concerning the international crime of pillage.


Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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