Simon Bell

Simon Bell

Membership Status: Barrister - Full Member Called in 2003 Public Access Accredited BSB Guidance for Public Access Authorised to Conduct Litigation
Bar Standards Board - Regulating Barristers
Barristers in England and Wales are regulated by the Bar Standards Board


General Information

As a Planning and Public Law Barrister and Litigation Specialist, Simon is passionate about good, fair decision making in public life. Called to the Bar in 2003, he has worked in many legal areas including criminal law, before specialising in planning and public law. Simon is a skilled litigator with experience of acting in all levels of courts in England and Wales.

During his legal career, Simon has been involved in advising on many high-profile projects including HS2, the expansion of the UK’s airport capacity and the effects of Brexit on the UK. Over the course of these projects, he developed his interest in planning and public law, infrastructure litigation, judicial reviews, resolving regulatory law issues, compulsory purchase and land use work.

Areas of law

  • Planning & Environmental Law
  • Public/Administrative Law
  • General Civil Litigation

Planning and Environmental Law

  • Assisting with (or objecting to) planning applications
  • Appearing at planning hearings, inquires, statutory appeals or judicial reviews
  • Infrastructure and major planning projects
  • Traffic Regulation Orders and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
  • Local and Neighbourhood Plans
  • Compulsory Purchase Orders
  • Development Consent Orders
  • Investigations and enforcement actions brought by, Local Planning Authorities, the Environment Agency or Natural England

Recent Cases:

Acting for the "Save Capel" residents association and Capel Parish Council in the 2022 examination of the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan Review

Acting for Lenham and then Harrietsham Parish Councils in the 2022 examination of the Maidstone Local Plan Review

Acting for a client concerning the responsibility of a Highway Authority for a private bridge over which a public highway passes

Acting for the Claimant in the first successful judicial review concerning a General Vesting Declaration issued by Birmingham City Council following the confrmation of a Compulsory Purchase Order - R(Dawes) v  Birmingham City Council [2001] EWHC 1676

Acting for a group of 11 objectors in the City of Westminister (Ebury Birgde Estate) CPO 2022 - successfully assisting all 11 to reach agreements to voluntarily sell their property to the Council.

Public/Administrative Law

  • Claims for judicial review
  • Appeals against decisions made by the Disclosure and Barring Service, the Information Commissioner, the HSE and other arms of Government
  • Investigations and sanctions (civil and criminal) brought by the Electoral Commission
  • Actions against decisions made by Local Government
  • Assisting with “Code of Conduct Complaints” brought against Councillors
  • Assisting with requests for information made under FOIA or the Environmental Information Regulations

Recent Cases

Acting of Tandridge District Council (led by Richard Clayton C) in R( D & R) v Tandridge District Council

General Civil Litigation

  • Property disputes involving trespass and nuisance
  • Landlord and tenant disputes

Direct access and solicitor appointed

Having completed the direct access course, Simon can be instructed directly by members of the public as well as by solicitors. Simon also provides advice and assistance to local authorities to help them make good public law decisions, as well as acting for individuals where they feel the wrong public law decisions have been made.


  • Planning and Environment Bar Association (PEBA)
  • Compulsory Purchase Association (CPA)
  • Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
  • Agricultural Law Association (ALA)
  • Kent Law Society


  • Bar Vocational Course - Inns of Court School of Law
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB Hons) – University of Kent

Personal interests

When not in court, Simon enjoys spending time with his two young children as well as gardening and cooking. He also has a cider press and makes his own Kentish cider.

Areas of Law

Simon Bell is happy to accept instructions as counsel who is:

  • Public & Administrative Law
  • Planning and Infrastructure
  • Land & Property
  • Media Law & Information Law
  • Education Law
  • Brexit Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Land & Property

Outside of these key areas of law, Simon Bell is always willing to consider any enquiry requiring the experience or knowledge needed to help you or your client. Please call Simon direct or the support team on 01823 247 247 if you would like to discuss any aspect of this profile.

Cases and Publications

R (Zoe Dawes) v Birmingham City Council

Mr. Justice Holgate has today handed down judgment in R (oao Zoe Dawes) v Birmingham City Council [2021] EWHC 1676 (Admin) a claim brought by Miss. Dawes in respect of Birmingham City Council’s decision to execute a General Vesting Declaration (the “GVD”) on 13th August 2020 to vest the title of her property in the Council.  The GVD was executed in furtherance of the Birmingham City Council (Acocks Green, Hodge Hill, Handsworth, Kings Heath, Selly Oak, Yardley, Moseley, Tyseley and Sutton Coldfield) (Empty Properties) Part II Housing Act 1985 Compulsory Purchase Order (No. 13) 2018, which was confirmed by the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government on 4th June 2019.  This CPO was confirmed as part of a city-wide policy to bring dilapidated and uninhabited houses back into occupation.


The claim concerned the Claimant’s attempts to bring the property into a reasonable state for occupation or a habitable condition to allow the property to be used as a family home for her and her disabled son following the confirmation of the CPO.  As of the date of the execution of the GVD the Claimant and her son were occupying the property as their family home.


The claim before Holgate J was that the Council had been wrong to execute the GVD on three grounds:


  1. that the Council had failed to take reasonable steps to obtain information regarding the condition and occupation of the property (as per the principle set out in Secretary of State for Education and Science v Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council [1977] AC 104 and summarised in R (Balajigari) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] 1 WLR 4647),
  2. that the Council had failed to consider the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”) in s.149 of the Equality Act 2010
  3. that the Council had failed to assess whether the GVD would breach the Article 8 rights of the Claimant and her son.


The Claimant succeeded on the first ground and as such, her claim has been allowed.  As the Claimant succeeded on the first ground, the remaining grounds added nothing further.


It should be noted, however, that in respect of challenges brought to GVDs seeking to rely on grounds raising the PSED or Article 8, Holgate J expressed reservations in his judgment as to whether or not such grounds can form the basis of challenging a GVD or, indeed a Notice to Treat, where such issues had not been raised in relation to the CPO itself.  The Court considered this to be an issue that will need consideration in future cases, and in more depth.


Simon Bell acted for the successful Claimant in this matter under a direct access instruction via Clerksroom Direct.


Fees and Feedback


Details regarding our approach to fees can be found at the following link:


Please see “profile” tab for a description of the legal services provided by this barrister.

We aim to complete and return all paperwork within 14 days (2 weeks) of receipt if no specific deadline is provided. We can work to much faster timescales if requested or we can agree a specific target date for each individual circumstance. We will always advise at the outset if counsel is unable to meet any deadline.

Each barrister has a standard hourly rate for their work. The individual hourly rate can be agreed when instructions are acknowledged if preferred. We welcome early discussion as to the suitability of a specific barrister for a specific case. The right barrister will have the relevant expertise to deal with the case but will not be too junior, or too senior depending on the complexities.

We aim to allocate all cases to the correct level of experience & seniority which we believe will prove most to be the most cost-effective solution for our clients.

If, due to urgency, we allocate paperwork to a more senior member of Clerksroom, we will charge the appropriate hourly rate for the work, not for the barrister. We welcome early discussion to ensure the correct fee is applied to the case at the outset.


All our barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and hold a current practising certificate, details can be found at the following link Barristers’ Register

Complaints information

If you are not satisfied with the service provided, you can make a complaint to Chambers. Information on the chambers’ complaints procedure is available at the following link:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from my chambers, you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. You must contact the Legal Ombudsman either within 6 months following the conclusion of our handling your complaint, within 6 years from the date of the act/omission, or 3 years from the date that you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago).

The Legal Ombudsman’s details are as follows:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333

Privacy Notice

ICO Reference A8724787

1.              This is a privacy notice that describes how, why and for how long I will process or keep your personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’).

2.              The GDPR governs how an individual’s personal data is used, and your rights in relation to that data.

3.              I, Simon Bell, have been instructed by you or your litigation friend (usually a parent), through your solicitor or agent, or via the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

4.              It is necessary for me to process your personal data in order for me to provide you with legal services, for example:

·   Advise on the prospects of litigation;

·   Advise on the value of your claim;

·   Representation at a court hearing;

·   Representation at trial;

·   Advise, review or comment on legal issues or evidence.

5.              Processing means anything done to data such as: recording, organising, adapting, altering, copying, consulting, transmitting, combining, erasing or storing it.

6.              The processing for the purposes listed above will take place in accordance with either Article 6(1)(a) GDPR or Article 6(1)(b) GDPR, depending on how you instructed me.

7.              If you have instructed me on a direct access basis, or engaged a solicitor (or legal agent), to assist you in bringing or defending a claim then the processing is necessary to perform a contract to which you are a party (Article 6(1)(b) GDPR). To give effect to that contract (i.e. to bring a claim) it is necessary for me to process your personal data for litigation purposes.

8.              If I am assisting you on a pro bono basis, it will be necessary for me to seek your consent to be able to represent you (Article 6(1)(a) GDPR). In this scenario, you will be sent a consent form.

Recipients of your data

9.              I may also be required to share your data with others, depending on the nature of your case. This may include:

(i)                  Courts and other tribunals to whom documents are presented;

(ii)                Your solicitors, or agent representing you, through whom I have been instructed;

(iii)               Potential witnesses, experts and other persons involved in the case;

(iv)               Solicitors, barristers, or other legal representatives;

(v)                Ombudsman and regulatory authorities;

(vi)               Education and examining bodies; and

(vii)             Current, past or prospective employers.

Special Categories of Data

10.          In some cases I will have been given your personal data that is within the ‘special categories’ of data described in GDPR Article 9(1). For example, personal data that reveals your race, ethnicity, sexual preferences, political or religious beliefs, trade union membership or health. There are also restrictions for processing information regarding criminal convictions.

11.          This type of personal data will only be processed where it is necessary in order to represent you in your legal claim, or advise on the prospects of a legal claim.


12.          I will retain your personal data for no longer than is necessary, and where it is possible, I will anonymise your data.

13.          How long your personal data is kept will depend on a number of factors. The retention period will be reviewed when the service I am providing you with is complete. However in general, I am obliged by the Bar Code of Conduct to retain records of my cases, and by HM Revenue and Customs to retain records for 6 years.

14.          Once your case has concluded and fees have been paid, I shall retain only the personal data necessary for the following purposes:

(i)                  The legal and professional obligation to retain information relating to my cases;

(ii)                To check for any potential conflict of interests that may arise in the future when I am instructed on other cases;

(iii)               For use in the defence of potential complaints, legal proceedings or fee disputes;

(iv)               To refer back to in future cases which raise similar legal, factual, or procedural issues.

15.          The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14 (ii), (iii), and (iv) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(f) GDPR. That is, for the purposes of legitimate interests that are not outweighed by your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms.

16.          The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14(i) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(c) GDPR. That is, the processing is necessary for me to comply with a legal obligation. 

Your Rights

17.          Where processing of your personal data was based on your consent (see paragraphs 6 and 8) you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. This does not affect the lawfulness of the processing based on consent before its withdrawal.

18.          Withdrawal of your consent to process such data will most likely mean that I am no longer able to provide you with the legal services you seek.

19.          You may request confirmation that your personal data is being processed by me and details about the personal data, the source, the processing, the purposes of the processing, the recipients and the retention period.

20.          You may request a copy of your personal data that is being processed by me. You may also request rectification (i.e. correction) where there are inaccuracies in the personal data.

21.          You have the right to object, on grounds relating to your particular situation, at any time, to processing of your personal data in paragraph 14 of this privacy notice. Should you object, the processing will only continue where there are compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests. 

22.          Where the processing or retention of your data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, it will not be possible to object. 

23.          You have the right to request that your personal data is erased where any of the following apply:

(i)                  The personal data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed;

(ii)                You withdraw your consent where the basis of processing was based on consent and where there is no other ground for the processing;

(iii)               Where your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests override the legitimate interests of processing in paragraph 14;

(iv)               The personal data has been unlawfully processed; or

(v)                The personal data have to be erased to comply with a legal obligation.

24.          You have the right to request that your personal data is restricted from processing, so that it is simply stored, for the following reasons: as an alternative to deletion; so that it can be corrected; for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; to verify if a legitimate ground exists (paragraph 14).

25.          Where it is necessary to correct your personal data, or you have requested the restriction or erasure of your personal data, I shall endeavour to contact the recipients of the personal data, unless this involves disproportionate effort. 


26.          I take appropriate physical and technical procedures to safeguard your personal data to prevent it from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way. The I.T. systems used by Clerksroom are ISO27001 compliant.

Complaints or Queries

27.          If you have any questions regarding this privacy notice, or how I use your personal data please email me:, or my clerks: mail@clerksroom telephone 01823 247 247.

28.          I shall aim to respond as soon as possible, and within 30 days.

29.          You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) if you believe I have not handled your request in an appropriate manner. For information on contacting the ICO please go to:



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