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David Hart QC

Call:  1982 
QC: 2003


David Hart practises in environmental law, professional negligence, construction and medical law.  He has also appeared at a number of major public inquiries. 

His environmental work covers the whole range of issues - litigious, regulatory, planning, public law, criminal and transactional work – over all subject areas including water (Cambridge Water), waste (SRM, REPIC), air (Coalite), odour (Dobson), noise (Dennis, Watson), fishing (cockles, polluted trout streams, and Mott about salmon licences), windfarms (Macarthur and public inquiry). He also has a wide contaminated land practice, including two leading appeals (Sevenoaks and Sandridge). He has appeared in courts at all levels, including the European Court of Justice (Bromley) and House of Lords (Cambridge Water, UU), and Supreme Court (E).  He also appears in the criminal courts on environmental matters. 

His professional negligence work has involved lawyers (Morgan v. Mace & Jones, on planning advice, and more generally solicitors giving planning and environmental advice) and construction professionals, as well as planning and environmental consultants (Chatham Dock).  He is instructed on insurance policy issues in the professional indemnity and environmental insurance contexts. 

His construction law work has concerned landfill sites, nuclear and other power stations, and Mechanical and Electrical disputes.
The mainstay of his healthcare work is clinical negligence. He has acted in many cerebral palsy cases over the last 25 years. He has also appeared for healthcare professionals in various disciplinary tribunals, and in the Alder Hey and Nationwide Organ Retention Litigation. He acted for the CQC in the Francis Inquiry and for Sellafield Ltd in the Redfern Inquiry into the retention of tissue samples in the nuclear industry.  He regularly appears at inquests. 
He has particular experience of group actions, in the environmental field (8 group actions alleging odour nuisance, 4 alleging dust & noise and a petrol contamination claim) and in medical cases. 


David is named as a "leader in his field" by the Chambers & Partners and
Legal 500 Directories as follows - environment (Chambers and Partners and Legal 500); clinical negligence (Chambers and Partners and Legal 500); and general professional negligence (Legal 500).

Clinical Negligence

"He is always in total control of his material, which is very impressive. He is brilliant at putting clients at ease and supporting them through the process." (Chambers and Partners 2016)

“He brings a common-sense approach to cases and is always thinking ahead.” (Legal 500 2015)

"He is good at discussing complicated cases with witnesses. He doesn't take over; he works with you, which is useful. He is very bright and approachable." (Chambers and Partners 2014)

David Hart QC is particularly recommended for his work on cerebral palsy cases, and combines his clinical negligence work with a strong environmental practice. (Chambers and Partners 2013)

Known for being “intellectually incisive.”  “He is particularly noted for his work in cerebral palsy cases.” (Chambers and Partners 2011)

David Hart QC is recommended as a reliable advocate on high-value catastrophic cases, including cerebral palsy claims. His instructing solicitors believe him to be "phenomenally bright."  (Chambers and Partners 2010)

Environmental Law

"He is user-friendly and simplifies very complex issues." "He has excellent technical knowledge." "He has a good grasp of the issues and you know you are in good hands when working with him." (Chambers and Partners 2017)

"A very impressive, responsive and personable barrister who's extremely knowledgeable on contaminated land litigation." "He is highly experienced and at all times calm and collected." (Chambers and Partners 2016)

“He is a leader in the field, and is incredibly hardworking” (Legal 500 2015)

"Enormously bright and knowledgeable about the practice, he is a true environmental lawyer. He is always on top of current case law and he has a very thorough approach." (Chambers and Partners 2014)

“The “technically brilliant” David Hart QC is the set’s leading light, and provides “very robust advice”” (Legal 500 2013)

Class act" David Hart QC produces "excellent environmental and planning work" and is known for his "brilliant written submissions." He has considerable experience across the full gamut of environmental law, and tackles both regulatory issues and transactional matters (Chambers and Partners 2013)

“excellent bedside manner and clear and concise approach to matters.”  Hart remains a luminary in the field and enjoys an excellent reputation in nuisance, pollution, waste and contaminated land matters. (Chambers and Partners 2012)

“always has the commercial aspects in mind when advising clients.”  He is particularly recommended for his knowledge of nuisance, pollution and contaminated land matters, (Chambers and Partners 2011)

“a very quick reader of a case who provides expert opinions promptly" on all manner of environmental matters. He has a dazzling track record in nuisance, pollution and contaminated land cases, and is a "talented and compelling" advocate. Clients say his "understated courtroom demeanour and mastery of intricate detail" make him an ideal selection for long-running environment tribunals.  (Chambers and Partners 2010)

General Professional Negligence

“He consistently delivers” (Legal 500 2015)

“A star performer” (Legal 500 2014)


Editor, Burnett-Hall on Environmental Law, Third Edition, 2012, and author of chapters on water pollution, abstraction, flooding and waste.

Frequent contributor to 1COR Human Rights Blog: over 200 posts on environmental, medical, human rights and public law issues

For a selection of his articles on environmental cases, please click here.


EU Emissions Trading Scheme Appeals Officer (2005-present) and CRC Appeals Officer (2012- present)

Lay member and deputy Chair of the St Thomas' Local Research Ethics Committee (2002-2012)

Accredited mediator (May 2003). Experience of mediations (as mediator or advocate) involving environmental, commercial, employment, construction matters, and including multi-party actions

Committee member/adjudicator on LAB/LSC appeals (particularly Special Cases Unit) since 1995, and member of LSC Special cases Review Panel to 2012. 

Significant cases include the following

Please click on printable version of the CV for a more detailed list

Forthcoming Court of Appeal hearing about liability for Japanese Knotweed. 

Acting for cockle fisherman in claim against London Gateway Port. 

Forager v. Natural England [2017] UKUT 0148 (AAC) first appeal to Upper Tribunal about stop notice affecting forager. 

Environment Agency v. SITA (2014 - 2017) Truro Crown court proceedings concerning environmental offences at landfill; hearing before HHJ Carr QC, 2-3 February 2017. 

SGN v. Thames Water: (2015-2016), TCC, ongoing proceedings about recoverability of sums incurred by gas transporter in respect of water ingress

Environment Agency v. Mott: (April 2016), CA, judicial review of catch limitation on salmon licence, plus A1P1 claim for damages

States of Guernsey v. 3M (January/February 2016), Commercial Court: £20m+ product liability claim concerning PFOS used in fire fighting foam

LBD v. Thames Water (July 2015), TCC: £20m flooding claim settled just before trial

Appeal under Water Fittings Regulations before John Uff QC concerning marinas: 2014

Appeals by South West Water, Anglian Water, and Yorkshire Water against conditions in environmental permits: Inspector Grantham, January 2014

Waterdance v. Kingston Marine [2014] EWHC 224, TCC – damages claim for engine failure in beam trawler: should decommissioning grant be taken into account? 

R (UK Recyclate et al) v. Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [2013] EWHC 425 (Admin) Hickinbottom J

Macarthur et al. v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWHC 3 (Admin) Lang J

Felpham footpath diversion inquiry 2012

Sir Robert Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffs Hospital; acted for CQC in 2011-2 

R v. V [2011] EWCA Crim 2342 transfrontier shipment of waste appeal

2011, gave evidence on deposition in US in environmental warranty dispute

Winwood & Ors v Biffa Waste Services Ltd & Anor [2011] EWCA Civ 108 

Dobson v. Thames Water, Ramsey J, TCC, [2011] EWHC 3253 (TCC)

Austin v. Miller Argent [2011] EWCA Civ 928

D Morgan Plc v Mace & Jones (a firm) [2010] EWHC 3375 (TCC) (22 December 2010)

R (Ali Zaki Mousa et al) v. SoS Defence, [2010] EWHC 1823 (Admin) (16 July 2010)

Crest Nicholson Residential Ltd, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs & Ors [2010] EWHC 561 (Admin)

E, R (on the application of) v Governing Body of JFS & Anor [2009] UKSC 1 (14 October 2009)

Repic Ltd, R (on the application of) v The Scottish Environment Protection Agency & Anor [2009] EWHC 2015 (Admin) (31 July 2009)

Morgan & Baker v Hinton Organics, CA, February 2009

Dobson v Thames Water [2009] EWCA Civ 28, CA,

Watson v Croft Promosport [2009] EWCA Civ 15, CA,

Redfern Inquiry into Tissue Sampling in UK Nuclear Facilities (2008-09)

R (Testwood) v Environment Agency, November 2008

R (Thames Water) v Environment Agency [2008] EWHC Civ 1763, Div. Ct

R (McCaw) v Westminster City Magistrates Ct [2008] EHWC 1504 (Admin)

United Utilities v Environment Agency [2007] 1 WLR 2707

The Bromley ECJ reference: Thames Water & Environment Agency (C-252/05) January 2007

SRM v Environment Agency [2006] EWHC 3023 Admin

3C v Mersey Waste [2006] EWHC 2598 Comm

Lennie v Royal Victoria Infirmary [2006] EWCA Civ 975

AB v Leeds Teaching Hospitals [2005] QB 506 retained organs litigation arising out of Bristol Heart and Alder Hey Inquiries

Dennis v Ministry of Defence [2003] Env LR 34

Bowden v South West Water [1998] Env LR 445 (Carnwath J), (CA), [1999] Env LR 438 - Shellfisherman claims for breach of EU environmental directives

Urban Regeneration Agency v Mott Macdonald [1996] NJ 736, HHJ Thornton Q.C. – multi-million pound Chatham Dock decontamination claim against environmental consultants

Middleton v Wiggin [1996] Env LR 17, CA - Environmental insurance coverage dispute

The Coalite litigation: pollution claims by local farmers and inhabitants, environmental insurance coverage dispute and Health and Safety at Work Act prosecution

Webb v Barclays Bank (2000) – contribution and loss of a chance in clinical negligence

Johnson v John & Waltham Forest H.A. (CA), 4th April 1998: costs in multi-defendant clinical negligence case

Jacobs v Morton 43 Con LR 124 - 'complex structures' exception to Murphy, engineers negligence

Danns v Department of Health [1996] PIQR p69 (Wright J), [1998] PIQR p226 (CA) - No duty on SoS to warn public about vasectomy risks

Kirby v Department of Health (1998, CA) - No duty on Defendant to warn about hepatitis risks from infected clinician

R v Secretary of State for Education ex parte S [1995] FCR 225 - No duty on SoS to disclose internal dyslexia reports before determining appeal

Cambridge Water v Eastern Counties Leather [1994] 2 AC 264, HL

Maquire 7 inquiry by Sir John May: for Forensic Science and for officials who did not refer case to Court of Appeal

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