Michael Fry

Call: 2011  
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Practice Profile

Michael Fry is an administrative and public law barrister with a strong specialism in planning and environmental law. He is ranked consistently in the leading legal directories and legal publications.

Michael is particularly well known for his major infrastructure planning work and his cutting-edge injunction practice. In the past year, Michael has appeared in the Supreme Court, several Court of Appeal hearings, promoted three Development Consent Orders, acted in over 30 judicial reviews, appeared in numerous planning hearings and inquiries, secured an anti-trespass injunctions over the land required for the HS2 Scheme and the M25 and Kent motorways and A roads, and committed to prison a number of people found in contempt of court. 

Michael is instructed regularly to lead teams of junior counsel and solicitors. He practiced previously as an employed barrister at a global elite law firm for 5 years, and has also spent a 9 month secondment in house, so understands the pressures and level of service required by professional and lay clients. 

He is currently a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel, in which role he has delivered advice directly to Secretaries of State and Ministers in conference. 

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Michael is an expert in promoting major infrastructure projects. His experience is wide ranging, and he has been instructed to advise on projects including nuclear power stations, nuclear waste facilities, gas fired power stations, roads, railways, onshore wind, tidal range generating stations, oil and gas pipelines, airports, ports, and waste treatment facilities.

He has particularly strong experience in projects promoted under the Planning Act 2008. He has been instructed in over a dozen DCO applications. Although he mostly promotes projects (as one of the few junior barristers who have led DCO applications and examinations under the 2008 Act), he has also acted for interested parties such as local authorities, statutory undertakers and objectors. 

Present instructions include linear infrastructure DCOs, water company development, and advising a major statutory undertaker on development and maintenance of its critical assets across a 100 year window.

Michael is ranked as a leading junior. He accepts instructions in all areas of planning and development work.

Recent work includes: 

  • advising on the promotion of major housing, university accommodation, private members clubs, research/medical facilities, retail and warehouse development;
  • regular planning hearings and inquiries;
  • acting in enforcement appeals for unauthorised development;
  • advising on Community Infrastructure Levy policy and acting in CIL enforcement proceedings in the Magistrates’ and on appeal in the High Courts;
  • Local Plan work include promoting Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan and the West of England Combined Authority Joint Spatial Plan (led by Suzanne Ornsby KC); and
  • advising a committee of backbench MPs on planning legislation, explaining the potential impact of legislation and drafting amendments.

As a senior planning lawyer in a busy City practice, Michael advised corporate and private clients on a wide range of matters under the Town and Country Planning regime. Due diligence and planning reports for major property acquisitions, and reviewing the planning position of assets was a large part of Michael's practice. He has particular expertise in statutory interpretation, and advises regularly on permitted development and CIL issues. He has drafted many complex section 106, 38 and 278 agreements so is well versed in the construction of planning conditions. 
Michael has a particular interest in heritage issues, and regularly advises in relation to Conservation Areas and listed building consent. Clients have included the Government of Afghanistan, high net-worth individuals and the Imperial War Museum. 
Michael is also familiar with more niche planning regimes, and advises regularly on advertisement consent, proceedings of crime, trees, and assets of community value.

Michael is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of junior counsel to the Crown, and advises Government on a wide range of issues. He has developed a broad public law practice and accepts instructions in related areas. He is most active in public law judicial review, and advises regularly on scope and implementation of local authority powers. He is frequently instructed in relation to procedural issues, costs protection and the availability of strike out/summary judgment.

Recent work includes references to the local government ombudsman, proceedings arising out of notices of entry, information law, car registration, public sector equality duty, disability claims and local authority duties regarding online portals. 

Michael is an experienced environmental lawyer, and advises on EIA and SEA particularly in relation to major infrastructure planning. He has a particular interest in long-term environmental planning and supporting infrastructure. 

He advises Government departments and regulators in respect of environmental issues. Recent instructions include extensive advice to Government on the environmental impact of certain fisheries policies and the introduction of alien species, advising a statutory undertaker on climate change issues, advising National Highways on air quality assessment, and the approach to habitats and protected species.

Ranked in the major legal directories, Michael is one of the leading claimant junior barristers in injunction and committal cases arising out of protest activities. He has acted or advised in relation to the most significant recent cases involving anti-trespass injunctions, advises the Government on injunctions, and undertakes training of Government Departments.  

While the focus of his practice is injunctions under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, anti-social behaviour injunctions, and anti-trespass injunctions, Michael has wide-ranging experience within the jurisdiction and has acted in injunction and committal proceedings arising from shareholder disputes, parking disputes and industrial action.

Michael holds a MA (Hons) in Social and Political Sciences from Christ's College, Cambridge. He was graded Outstanding on the Bar Professional Training Course, and received a Commendation for his Graduate Diploma in Law. He is a Major Scholar and Exhibitioner of the Inner Temple and received a BPTC Outstanding Award.

Michael completed the commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and holds a City and Guild Graduateship in Leadership and Management.

Before starting his career at the Bar, Michael was an Army officer for almost a decade, serving in the Blues & Royals. He continued in the Army Reserve for a further four years. Away from legal practice, Michael chairs a medical charity, Nerve Tumours UK, is a governor of Tonbridge School, and a liveryman of the Skinner's Company.

Michael had a wide variety of roles before joining the Army, including running nightclubs, analysing public policy and working as a lobbyist.

  • PEBA (Planning and Environmental Law Bar Association)
  • NIPA (National Infrastructure Planning Association)
  • CPA (Compulsory Purchase Association)
  • SAL (Society of Asian Lawyers)

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Latest from Michael
Oct' 22
A47 – A11 Thickthorn Junction Development Consent Order Granted

The Secretary of State for Transport has approved a nationally significant infrastructure project providing extensive improvements to Thickthorn junction in Norfolk, including a single-lane free-flowing link road connecting the A11 northbound to the A47 eastbound. 

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Sep' 22
HS2 – Route Wide Injunction Granted

The High Court (Mr Justice Julian Knowles) has granted High Speed Two (HS2) Limited an interim injunction against four categories of person unknown, and several named defendants, which covers the route of the HS2 railway.

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Aug' 22
A47 Tuddenham to Easton Development Consent Order Approved

The Secretary of State for Transport has approved the duelling of 9km of the A47 carriageway between North Tuddenham and Easton. The Secretary of State’s decision letter, the Examining Authority’s report and other associated documents are available on the National Infrastructure Planning website.

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Jul' 22
Significant Sanctions for Contempt against HS2 Tunnel Activists

Michael Fry and Michael Brendan Brett have been successful in a multi-handed committal application against seven anti-HS2 activists. The Claimants were complimented on their “studious” compliance with the onerous procedural requirements on a committal application. 

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Back to Barristers

“An exceptionally bright mind with innovative outlooks – a renaissance barrister”

Legal 500

“Michael is always extremely personable and unflappable even under pressure. His advice and advocacy is clear and concise and delivery was pitch perfect, never over the top but always firm and to the point.”

Legal 500

“He combines a tremendous intellect with exceptional knowledge well beyond his call and his tactical and strategic nous is extremely impressive. He has a fantastic manner with clients.”

Legal 500

“Michael Fry is renowned for his work in transport infrastructure, representing a number of large-scale clients in their pursuit of injunctions. He frequently acts for National Highways and HS2.”

Chambers and Partners

"Michael is a very clear and effective advocate."

Chambers and Partners