Matthew Horton QC

Year of call:

+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“Brilliant heavyweight advocate, who has a great presence and thinks outside the box”
Chambers & Partners

Matthew Horton QC has a wide ranging practice in public and administrative law, local government law and property law. Within those areas he provides advocacy and advice mainly on planning, environmental, highways, parliamentary, compulsory purchase and compensation, rating and law of commons cases.

Much of his practice relates to public inquiries into proposals for the development and/or compulsory acquisition of land pursuant to the Planning Acts and to the Transport and Works Act; work in the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal relating to compensation for compulsory acquisition, rating and restrictive covenants; and related High Court and Appellate Court work.

Matthew has always had a variety of other work, e.g. rights of way inquiries, Law of Property Act work relating to the construction, modification and discharge of restrictive covenants; disputes (eg. contractual disputes; overage claims) relating to property matters; High Court trial work; various local government and general public law matters; and professional negligence by solicitors, surveyors, planning consultants, valuers and other professionals when acting on property related matters.

His planning and compulsory purchase work is wide ranging; acting for developers, local planning authorities, central government departments, action groups and other third parties; and involves related areas of domestic and European law governing human rights, environmental assessment, and protection of the natural and built environment.

Matthew is experienced in acting for religious orders/other faith groups and ethnic minorities in relation to property, planning and related matters including human rights.

Matthew’s appellate experience includes many cases in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords.

Matthew is recommended for Planning law in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

Planning Magazine lists Matthew as one of the country’s top-rated silks.

Planning, Environment & Property

Recent work has included:

  • Conducting Judicial Review of decision of City of London to grant planning permission for major residential development adjoining the listed Golden Lane Estate in the City.
  • Advising on legality of the Compulsory Purchase Orders confirmed by the Secretary of State for the Brent Cross redevelopment in London.
  • Acting for the developer in relation to aspects of the Islington Square Town Centre re-development.
  • Advising owner of major residential and holiday development in Wales in relation to threatened enforcement action.
  • Acting for Claimant in contractual dispute over development in Docklands.
  • Acting for the London Borough of Enfield in relation to its proposals for the regeneration of Meridian Water, which is one of the largest regeneration projects in England.
  • Advising developer in Hertfordshire in relation to proposal for eight storey mixed use building for 401 residential units and related facilities; and for two four storey office blocks.
  • Acting for a local residents’ action group in successfully opposing a large residential development in the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in reliance on a neighbourhood plan prepared by the group; and advising on subsequent judicial review challenge.
  • Acting for an alliance of residence groups successfully opposing a major mixed development in the centre of Kingston on Thames.
  • Acting for affected landowners in relation to a major unlawful waste disposal and transfer site in Home Counties.
  • Acting successfully for the appellant in relation to a planning appeal against refusal of an application for planning permission for on site accommodation for a warden to ensure the protection of an SSSI.
  • Acting for claimants in respect of a multi-million pound claim for compensation for compulsory acquisition of their property pursuant to Newcastle City Council’s regeneration scheme for the Grainger Town area of the city.
  • Advising objectives to a major proposal for fracking for Shale Gas in North Yorkshire.

The following are examples of work undertaken in silk (the client’s name followed by the case details):

  • Kimberley Securities, Botley Road, Oxford (retail warehouse park).
  • Kimberley Securities, Ely, Cirencester, Newark and Bicester (edge of town Waitrose stores).
  • Kimberley Securities, Grantham (factory outlet centre).
  • Eagle Star, Hampshire Centre, Bournemouth (retail); Golden Triangle, Hertfordshire (retail).
  • Eagle Star, Hemel Hempstead (offices).
  • Legal & General, Oxford Street (retail).
  • Aberdeen Steak Houses, various restaurant developments in London.
  • Secretary of State for Health, Proposals for the redevelopment of the following redundant hospital sites for housing: Claybury Hospital, Redbridge; Napsbury Hospital, St. Albans; Leyboume Grange Hospital, Maidstone; Mabledon hospital, Dartford
  • East Sussex County Council, successfully opposing proposal by Southern Water for sewage disposal works and sludge treatment plant).
    Various Objectors – forcing abandonment in mid-course of inquiry into major industrial development in AONB in Kent.

The following cases for British Telecommunications plc:

  1. Successfully opposing on behalf of BT proposal for heliport in central London.
  2. London Docklands Light Railway Extension to Woolwich (Transport & Works Act Order – major objection by BT to proposed route).
  3. Acting for BT and Midlands Electricity in public inquiry and high court proceedings relating to land at Gloucester (Successfully opposing Compulsory Purchase Order for redevelopment of major part of town centre).
  • Younger Homes – defeating CPO for redevelopment of centre of Brighouse.
  • Jeremy Knight-Adams (landowner) – unsuccessfully opposing Birmingham City Council CPO to facilitate Tesco scheme for redevelopment of Yardley Shopping Centre.
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets – objection by LBTH to proposed route of Docklands Light Railway to London City Airport.
  • Mersey Travel and the PSDA (Transport & Works Act Order inquiry for Mersey Travel).
  • Northumberland Estates, Countryside & Rights of Way Act Inquiry (for Duke of Northumberland).
  • London & Regional Developments, Crystal Palace (litigation in High Court and Court of Appeal).
  • Sager Developments – Advice, public inquiries and High Court proceedings relating to major development sites in central London.
  • H J Banks Ltd – Proceedings for judicial review against North West Development Agency for abuse of power in relation to proposed allocation of government grant.
  • H J Banks Ltd – Public inquiry into major waste disposal and land restoration scheme outside Wigan.
  • H J Banks Ltd; R & A Young Ltd: inquiries into various opencast mining proposals.
  • Various minerals operators – Inquiries relating to sand, gravel and other minerals.
  • Advice to P&O (on different occasions) relating to different aspects of Shellhaven proposals (new port on Thames).
  • Proceedings in Royal Court and Channel Islands Court of Appeal relating to proposals for redevelopment of St Helier harbour.
  • Arbitration and Royal Court proceedings in Jersey relating to compulsory purchase of land for major housing development.
  • Wiggins Group – London City Racecourse (High Court challenge).
  • Various Objectors – Challenge in High Court to legality of Compulsory Purchase Order to facilitate new stadium for Arsenal FC.
  • Country & Metropolitan, Chancery trial (breach of contract, overage) relating to major residential development on land owned by Ministry of Defence.
  • Country & Metropolitan Highlands Hospital (arbitration re: breach of contract).
  • Michael Rubinow – Dispute with NHS and Crest Homes re liability to overage payments. Successful in opposing overage claim in High Court. Further proceedings in prospect.
  • Long advice for a housing association regarding liability for overage.
  • Frequent consideration of development agreements relating to major projects as part of overall conduct of cases promoting or opposing them.
    Britannia Assets Ltd – Opposing at public inquiry enforcement proceedings to close substantial trading estate (currently on appeal in High Court).
  • Alpaca Industry – Various inquiries into Alpaca farming enterprises.
  • Lydd Airport Action Group – Opposing proposals for expansion of Lydd Airport.
  • Lincolnshire County Council – Advising on continuing basis on proposals for Lincoln Inner Relief Road.
  • Ozanne (a private trust) Lands Tribunal, Court of Appeal, House of Lords, ransom value compensation dispute in relation to road scheme.
  • Birmingham City Council (reference to Lands Tribunal, acting for BCC re: compensation for major road scheme).
  • Merseyside Waste, Foul Lane, Southport, Merseyside (Lands Tribunal compensation acting for Acquiring Authority)
  • Rhondda Borough Council (Lands Tribunal acting for Rhondda as Acquiring Authority in relation to road scheme to facilitate residential development).
  • HJ Banks Mining (rating of coal mines – Lands Tribunal).
  • Wessex Water (proposals to lay pipes for disposal of trade effluent – Magistrates Court and Judicial Review).
  • Advice to Shadow Attorney General and others within the Conservative Party about its constitution (three separate matters).
  • Leader of Conservative Party – advice on sex discrimination issues.
  • Pharmaceutical Society Negotiating Committee (advice on legality of its conduct).
  • Standards Board for England – Proceedings for misconduct against chairman of Camden Council’s Planning Committee.


Matthew is recommended for Planning law in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.
Planning Magazine lists Matthew as one of the country’s top-rated silks.

“Very experienced in public inquiries and local government/CPO matters.” Legal 500 2015
“I rate his advocacy highly. He is very thorough.” Chambers & Partners 2015
“A very experienced advocate who comes across with gravitas.” 
Chambers & Partners 2015
“Recommended for his experience in public inquiries”
Legal 500 2014
“He presents a client’s case in the most effective way.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“He is a formidable advocate.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“expert cross-examiner” Legal 500 2013
able to maximise the benefits a point in his favour may yield” Legal 500 2009
a details man – his preparation skills are second to none.” Chambers & Partners 2009
brilliant heavyweight advocate, who has a great presence and thinks outside the box” Chambers & Partners 2008
He can turn a case around and has a way of uncovering points which others would have let go” Chambers & Partners 2008
intellectually astute” Chambers & Partners 2006
great strategic vision” Chambers & Partners 2006

Matthew's Practice Areas

Matthew's Sectors

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