BMT and Magdalen Chambers: Collaborative Environmental & Safety Expertise

In response to the increasing need for stringent environmental legislative compliance in the defence industry, BMT Cadence is pleased to announce that we shall be working collaboratively with Magdalen Chambers. Based in Exeter, Magdalen Chambers are a legal chambers offering experienced barristers with a focus on the provision of environmental and safety expertise.

Together we can offer a comprehensive service to ensure that organisations can demonstrate and have assurance of their compliance to environmental legislative requirements throughout the project cycle. In combining both companies’ strengths we can offer the right balance of defence environmental management and thorough interpretation of legislative requirements.

Collectively we can provide:

  • Security Cleared barristers and environmental practitioners
  • Safety and Environmental compliance strategies
  • Arbitration and stakeholder management
  • The ability to compile and promote the evidence base for the demonstration of compliance.

Baz Flower, Marketing and Sales Director at BMT Cadence, commented:

“I am delighted that both organisations have engaged to support each other in providing unique service offerings to the defence market and beyond. Whilst we shall retain our distinct market capabilities we can now provide our clients with access to SC-cleared barristers as well as our experienced defence environmental practitioners, in order to satisfy their needs in mitigating delivery and operational risks. We are looking forward to collaboratively supporting existing and new clients.”

Michael Berkley, Joint Head of Chambers at Magdalen Chambers, commented:

‘On behalf of Magdalen Chambers, I am delighted that we have been asked to collaborate with BMT Cadence to provide bespoke legal assistance within the constant evolving environment of the Defence Industry. This is a very exciting prospect, which will result in providing the clients of BMT Cadence with a complete compliance package from inception to project finalisation.

For more information, please contact James Perry, Environmental Practitioner at BMT Cadence, via

james.perry@bmt-cadence.com or James Basden, Senior Clerk at Magdalen Chambers, via james@magdalenchambers.co.uk.

The Village Green is dead, long live the Village Green….

After a series of high profile cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in the last 2 years, together with recent legislative changes which appeared to reduce the chances of land acquiring Town or Village Green (TVG) status, the first high profile TVG case to be heard in the High Court in 2015 offers a glimmer of hope.

As promised on LinkedIn in July, I said I would post the decision of Mr Justice Dove in my long running case of R (Goodman) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs once it had been approved. And here it is.

In summary the Inspector rejected the application to register following a public inquiry in 2013 because the landowner, Exeter City Council

  • had “impliedly appropriated” land from employment use so that the land became held as recreational open space (and therefore subject to a public trust) and that any recreational use was “by right”; alternative);
  • as the city council had allowed fairs and a circus on part of the land, any recreational use of it for sports and pastimes had been by implied permission following the decision in R (Mann) v Somerset County Council[2012] EWHC B14.

Dove J quashed the decision on the grounds that;

  • for an “appropriation” to have occurred (implied or otherwise), there must be evidence that the local authority directed its mind to, and answered, the statutory test for appropriation set out in s.122(2A) of the Local Government Act 1972. Simply managing land as recreational open space was not of itself sufficient to give rise to an implication that an appropriation had occurred; and
  • relying upon the decision in Mannitself, Dove J emphasised the fact sensitive nature of any inquiry. Further the status of the application land publicly owned (as opposed to privately owned as was the case in Mann) was a material consideration which the Inspector failed to have regard to bearing in mind the use put forward by the landowner was not inconsistent with a public entitlement to use the land.

It is clear that Goodman  provides a number of potential new lines of argument for those seeking to register land as a TVG especially when facing a local authority landowner who seeks to rely upon Mann.

Importantly Dove J emphasised that where land is held by a public body the initial focus must also establish the power under which any land is held.

I represented the Applicants at public inquiry in 2013 (instructed direct) and in 2015 was led by Douglas Edwards QC of Francis Taylor Buildings in the successful Judicial Review. We were instructed by Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law for the Judicial Review claim which was initially stayed pending the outcome in Barkas v North Yorkshire County Council [2014] UKSC 31.

Exeter City Council did not participate in the Judicial Review.

Please contact my clerks for further details on (01392) 285200 or clerks@magdalenchambers.co.uk

I am happy to be instructed by members of the public direct on TVG matters in appropriate cases.