Peter Lockley has a broad practice spanning Public, Information and Employment Law. He has a keen interest in campaigining environmental law, drawing on his long experience of environmental politics and policy as well as law. He has often acted for the Information Commissioner and draws on this experience when representing individuals and public authorities in information and data protection matters. He regularly appears for both claimants and respondents in the Employment Tribunal.
Peter has a thriving practice representing green groups in high-profile environmental litigation. He successfully represented Good Law Project in the landmark Net Zero Case that forced the Government to address – and publish – how we meet our climate targets in far greater detail. He has acted in judicial review claims for campaigners against road-building on several occasions, for an anti-fracking group and for Friends of the Earth in extensive litigation about the third runway at Heathrow. He is currently acting in cases concerned with sewage discharges, with the Government’s Food Strategy, with the ‘Jet Zero’ aviation strategy, and with agricultural pollution in the River Wye. He has also assisted a client focused on the damaging impacts of burning forest biomass, bringing an OECD complaint alleging misleading green claims by Drax and assisting with a complaint to the CJEU against the ‘Taxonomy’ rules on biomass.
Prior to joining the bar, Peter worked for a major environmental NGO. He is keen to work with individuals and public interest groups to find creative legal ways of strengthening environmental protection
Recent cases include:
- R (Boswell) v Secretary of State for Transport (CO/2837/2022 & Ors): three joined cases about related schemes to develop the A47 that raise an issue under the EIA Regulations about the assessment of cumulative carbon emissions arising from the three schemes together. If successful, the challenge will require National Highways to amend its approach to cumulative carbon assessment in other future road-building schemes. Decision awaited.
- R (Global Feedback) v Secretary for State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (CA-2022-002370): permission granted on 16 July 2023 by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal to bring judicial review of the Government’s Food Strategy. Case raises issues about the on-going nature of the duty under the Climate Change Act to prepare policies for meeting carbon budgets: how is that duty to be discharged during the period between five-yearly reports required by statute? Claim to be heard by the Court of Appeal.
- R (Marine Conservation Society & Ors) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (CO/4445/2022): Acting for a marine conservation NGO, a surfer, and an oyster fisher, who claim that the Storm Overflows Reduction Plan, the Government’s plan to reduce sewage discharges, fails to meet discharge statutory duties and breaches Convention Rights. The case also raises novel legal issues concerning the Public Trust Doctrine, an ancient public right to fish in coastal waters which the Claimants contend requires those waters to be kept in fit ecological condition. Government has already responded by consulting on extending the Plan to cover all costal overflows. Claim listed for hearing on 4-6 July 2023.
- R (Good Law Project) v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  EWHC 1841 (Admin), Admin Ct, July 18 2022  ACD 107 – Secretary of State had failed to comply with obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008 in relation to the government’s Net Zero Landmark case that forced publication of the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, an updated report under s.14 CCA 2008 that includes far greater detail on policies to meet carbon budgets and the Net Zero target.
- Lifescape v Drax – complaint to OECD that claims by Drax about the climate change benefits of burning forest biomass are seriously misleading.
- Robin Wood and Others v European Commission (Case T-575/22) – assisted in drafting a request for review by the European Commission, and now a claim before the CJEU, alleging that the rules on forest biomass under the so-called ‘Taxonomy’ – technical rules drafted by the Commission for establishing the sustainability of products – fail to meet minimum thresholds of environmental protection set out in the parent legislation.
- R (Goesa) v Eastleigh BC  EWHC 1221 (Admin), Admin Ct, May 23 2022  PTSR 1473;  JPL 1309 – Local authority’s decision to grant planning permission for an extension of the runway at Southampton Airport was upheld.
- R (Transport Action Network) v Secretary of State for Transport  EWHC 2095 (Admin), Admin Ct, July 26 2021,  ACD 105 – The court refused an application for judicial review of the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision to set a road investment strategy.
- R (Friends of the Earth) v Heathrow Airport  UKSC 52 – Supreme Court held that the Secretary of State for Transport had taken into account the Paris Agreement on climate change when setting the Airports National Policy Statement (“ANPS”), which supports a third runway at Heathrow and accordingly the designation of the ANPS was lawful. The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal ( EWCA Civ 214), although only the airport operator, not the Secretary of State, appealed and Friends of the Earth was awarded its costs in the Court of Appeal and below. See also  EWCA Civ 13, confirming that Aarhus cost caps under CPR Part 45 are inclusive of VAT. Peter acted throughout for Friends of the Earth Ltd, which was the lead claimant advancing climate change grounds. Led by David Wolfe KC, with Andrew Parkinson.
- R (AD) v Hackney  EWCA Civ 518, CA, April 8 2020,  ELR 374; (2020) 23 CCLR 253 – A local authority’s decision to reduce funding for special educational needs provision did not engage the substantive or consultation duties in the Children and Families Act 2014
- R (AD & Ors) v LB Hackney  EWHC 943 (Admin)  ELR 296 – represented defendant local authority in a challenge to its approach to funding Special Educational Needs provision. Led by Jonathan Auburn.
- R (Stephenson o.b.o Talk Fracking) v SoS Housing and Communities and Local Government  EWHC 519 (Admin) – the Government had purported to consult on the merits of fracking policy when adopting the revised National Planning Policy Framework). It had failed to consider scientific evidence supplied by Talk Fracking, including the effects of fracking on climate change, and consulted unlawfully. Led by David Wolfe KC.
Peter has also appeared as an expert witness on aviation and climate change policy issues on behalf of Stop Stansted Expansion at a planning inquiry into proposed expansion at Stansted airport.
Information and Data Protection
Peter has acted for the Information Commissioner in more than 70 FOIA/EIR appeals in the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals. From these cases he has gained a deep working knowledge of the information access regimes. This allows him to offer highly practical advice and representation to requesters and public authorities on information matters.
Peter has acted for and against the Commissioner in data protection enforcement matters. He also advises public and private sector clients on data protection and privacy issues – including a celebrity client on reputational issues following an information leak. He also has significant experience advising clients on GDPR compliance.
Recent cases include:
- Montague v Information Commissioner and Department for International Trade  UKUT 104 (AAC) – acted for the Information Commissioner in a high-profile appeal concerning post-Brexit trade working group papers, including those relating to the US-UK negotiations. Department’s appeal against the Upper Tribunal’s decision on aggregation of public interests against disclosure – an important issue of principle under FOIA – will be heard by the Court of Appeal in July.
- DSG Retail v Information Commissioner (EA/2020/0048): acted for Information Commissioner in factually and technically complex 7-day case in the FTT, defending appeal by a retailer issued the maximum £500k penalty under the DPA 1998, following a cyber-attack. Fine reduced but Commissioner’s penalty notice upheld in part. Decision awaited on DSG’s appeal to the UT on issues relating to the definition of personal data.
- Helen Johnson v Sanlam Private Investments (F90NE027): successfully defended a data breach claim against an international financial institution in a five-day high court trial. Factually complex case that also raised consequential issues about Qualified One Way Costs Shifting in cases where personal injury damages are only one remedy sought.
- General Dental Council v Information Commissioner v O’Hooley (EA/2021/0156) – acted for GDC in a successful appeal against an ICO Decision Notice requiring disclosure of internal e-mails between Chair and Council members.
- Doorstep Dispensaree v Information Commissioner (EA/2020/0065/V) acted for Information Commissioner in first appeal against a GDPR/DPA 2018 Penalty Notice. Penalty reduced on the basis of agreed new factual information, but penalty notice and enforcement notice otherwise upheld. UT decision awaited on Doorstep’s appeal (UA-2021-00263-GIA), which raises broad issues about the burden and standard of proof in penalty notice cases.
- Cabinet Office v Information Commissioner and Corderoy (EA/2020/0240) – Cabinet Office eventually disclosed large majority of information about the ‘Round Robin’ list requested by a journalist for opendemocracy.net. The Round Robin list was operated by the controversial Clearing House unit, set up to co-ordinate responses to cross-Whitehall FOIA requests. Acted for the Information Commissioner.
- Davies v The Information Commissioner (GIA)  UKUT 185 (AAC) – Upper Tribunal case on the duty to give reasons a case in which a closed procedure has been adopted. Confirms that the Upper Tribunal can take an inquisitorial approach and identify potential grounds of appeal not raised by any party. Acted for the Information Commissioner.
- Information Commissioner v Malnick and ACOBA  UKUT 72 (AAC) – three judge panel of the Upper Tribunal considered the correct approach to the Qualified Person’s opinion required by s.36 FOIA; also decided that the Information Commissioner is functus office once she has issued a decision notice, so that issues cannot be remitted to her from the Tribunal. v.
- Cabinet Office v IC and Morland  UKUT 67 (AAC) – key appellate decision in a long series of ‘medals’ appeals raising issues about the scope of s.37 FOIA (honours). Acted for the Information Commissioner in this case and several related appeals.
Peter appears regularly in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal, acting for both Claimants and Respondents across the full range of employment law claims.
Recent Cases include:
- Clark v SS Home Department & Derbyshire Police (2603987/20; on appeal EA-2022-000021-OO): case raising jurisdictional issues about whether the Employment Tribunal can hear a discrimination complaint arising out of the Police Injury Benefit Regulations 2006. Appeal by Home Department and Derbyshire Police listed for EAT hearing in July 2023.
- Yusuf v London Borough of Brent (3304263/2020 & 3314631/2021): acted for local authority in 15-day hearing of wide-ranging discrimination claim. All 116 allegations dismissed.
- Phelan v Richardson Rogers Ltd  WLR(D) 305,  ICR 1164 – Acted for the Respondent employer in a case concerned with the Tribunal’s discretion whether to postpone a hearing when a party is unfit to attend on medical grounds, and the proper standard or review for the EAT on appeal of such a EAT held that it could only intervene with the ET’s decision on Wednesbury grounds. Appeal dismissed.
- Aarons & Ors v (1) National Police Chiefs Council & (2) Secretary of State for the Home Department – Act for NPCC in long-running group litigation concerned with 2015 reforms to public sector pensions. Following the decision in relation to judges’ and firefighters’ pensions in The Lord Chancellor & Anor v McCloud & Ors  EWCA Civ 2844, the Respondents have admitted that the transitional provisions in the Police Pensions Regulations 2015 are discriminatory. The police cases will proceed to a hearing of test cases on non-pecuniary losses (injury to feelings) in December. Led by Clive Sheldon KC and Patrick Halliday.
- Biggs v Bilbrough 3201280/2017 and 3200123/2018 – Acted in a 12-day hearing for the Claimant, who succeeded in claims of equal pay, sex discrimination, whistleblowing detriment and unfair dismissal against her former employers, a shipping insurance firm, in a case that attracted national media attention.
- Brettle v Dudley EAT (UKEAT/0103/17/JOJ) – acted for the Respondent in an appeal concerning amendments to a claim form, and the proper approach where one Employment Judge is asked to interpret the decision of another in the same claim.
- Reuters Ltd v Cole (UKEAT/0258/17/BA) – whether Claimant adding claim for direct discrimination to a claim for discrimination arising from disability amounts to a ‘mere relabelling’ if the factual background is the same. Acted for the Claimant.
Peter is a co-editor of the data protection chapter of Tolley’s Employment Law Handbook.
“He’s very personable, easy to work and speak with and provides very clear written advice.” Chambers & Partners
“He’s comfortable in court, very much in command of the material, and has a very good manner.” Chambers & Partners
“He handles difficult situations really well and puts a lot of thought and preparation into cases” Chambers & Partners
“He’s a real expert on GDPR and is a pleasure to work with” Chambers & Partners
“He explains issues in an accessible way” Chambers & Partners
“Very organised, proactive, detail-oriented, on the mark on the law, and well prepared for hearings. He thinks a few steps ahead, has a practical approach, and will push points as far as he can to achieve results” Legal 500
“He performs incredibly well under pressure and gets to grips with complex issues in a short time frame” Legal 500
University of Cambridge, MA (Cantab)
Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding)
Graduate Diploma in Law in (Distinction)
Peter is a member of the UK Environmental Law Association.
Prior to commencing his legal career, Peter was the Head of Transport Policy at WWF-UK, where he was involved in high-profile environmental cases: (R (Hillingdon) v Secretary of State for Transport  EWHC 626 (Admin) (Heathrow third runway); (Case C-366/10, Air Transport Association of America,  2 CMLR 4) (Emissions trading for foreign airlines).