Celina Colquhoun specialises in all aspects of Planning, Environmental and Compulsory Purchase Law; Highways, Local Government and Public and Administrative Law as well as Licensing Law. She has extensive experience appearing as an advocate in public inquiries and hearings as well as in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Celina acts for and advises a wide range of public bodies and private parties addressing planning consents, appeals as well as enforcement. She has a depth of experience in handling landscape and environmental issues such as Green Belt; AONB; heritage; listed buildings flood risk; air quality; and ecology.
She is an active member of Women in Planning and the Bar Council. She speaks regularly at No5 Seminars on the latest planning issues. In September 2019 she also addressed the European Circuit of the Bar’s annual conference in Rome on “Issues of judicial protection post-Brexit”.
National and Major Infrastructure
Her career had a significant grounding in national infrastructure planning and highways projects and in particular represented the Highways Agency and the Government’s Airports Policy Division at the 1995-99 Heathrow Terminal 5 inquiry and she has continued such work which includes the first appointment under s.101 of the Planning Act 2008 by the Planning Inspectorate in 2013/14 together with Martin Kingston QC and Ian Dove QC (as he then was) from No5. This work comprised providing legal advice and assistance to the Examining Authority appointed to examine the NSIP DCO for the cross- London Thames Tunnel Tideway (or “Super Sewer”) application. She advised the Examining Authority throughout the examination itself and subsequently through the reporting period. She represented the objecting landowner of Manston Airport in the Manston Airport DCO again led by Martin Kingston QC. More recently she has been acting for and advising a major waste developer and operator in respect of judicial review proceedings as junior to Martin Kingston QC and James Strachan QC of 39 Essex Street (see UBB Waste Essex-v-Essex County Council  EWHC 1924 (Admin)) together with parallel TCC proceedings and an lawful certificate appeal.
She is regularly instructed by the major housing developers including Redrow, David Wilson SLP and Bellway Homes both in respect of promoting housing sites through appeal where necessary and in s.288 challenges but also in respect of CIL and Local Plan examinations. She equally advises and appears for a large number of smaller developers in respect of housing schemes.
She has particular experience in advising and representing Planning Authorities through to the adoption of Local Plans. A recent example is Canterbury City Council whose plan was adopted in 2017. She is currently instructed by 2 other authorities in respect of their own local plans. She successfully challenged a Neighbourhood Plan in 2015 on behalf of a local landowner and developer(see Maynard-V-Chiltern DC  EWHC 3817(Admin)).
She is a specialist in highways law having promoted and opposed highways and footpath orders as well as seeking orders for and against highways authorities where there has been an obstruction to the highway. She advised a number of Highway Authorities upon the submission and drafting of the London Permit Scheme for Road Work and Street Works (LoPS). In Summer 2012 it became a London wide scheme, operating in every London borough. She recently represented the promoting authority in respect of the County of Herefordshire DC Southern Link Road Orders at the end of 2018.
She regularly advises on and represents Promoters of and Objectors to CPOs (e.g. under the Housing Act 1980 for Leicester City Council 2015) as well as addressing compensation and issues of blight (e.g. HS2). Notable work also includes representing Manchester City Football Club and Manchester City Council led by Ian Dove QC in relation to the CPO of land for MCFC’s new football academy in 2012.
Celina has advised parties affected by HS2 and petitioned the Commons Select Committee on behalf of a village in 2014. She is a member of the Bar Parliamentary Mess.
Statutory and Judicial Review
She appears regularly in the High Court and Court of Appeal in respect of planning related judicial reviews, s.288 and s.289 challenges (see e.g. Binning Property Corp Ltd v SSCLG  EWCA Civ 250 28 and is currently involved in an ongoing s.113 challenge involving interpretation of the Air Quality Directive).
“She is very personable and is involved in high-profile cases.”
Chambers UK 2020
“Highly competent when faced with challenging circumstances.”
Legal 500 2020
“She is extremely knowledgeable and personable and is our go-to barrister for disputed planning matters.” “She has been approachable, friendly, committed and effective. She has provided accessible and clear advice to clients. Her knowledge of the law is exemplary and she displays huge stamina during a case.”
Chambers UK, 2019
“Unfazed by a challenging situation.”
Legal 500, 2019
“She is extremely good, particularly with clients and consultant teams, and deals with substantial volumes of work diligently.” “She has an excellent sense of judgement and is excellent at dealing with senior players in the industry.“
Chambers UK, 2018
“In court, she has an ability to withstand quite intense questioning. She doesn’t get flustered, she is very calm, and she stands firm.”
Chambers UK, 2017
“Tenacious and incredibly bright.”
Legal 500, 2016
Focuses on large infrastructure projects, particularly highways work. She also has an extensive caseload of planning matters as diverse as town and village greens and compulsory purchase orders. “She is absolutely tenacious.”
Chambers UK, 2016
"She is a good and determined advocate, who prepares thoroughly and shows a good mastery of technical information."
BAR COUNCIL – Law Reform Committee and EU Law Committee