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Victoria is an associate in our admin law, environment and planning team. She advises public bodies on their statutory duties and powers, constitutional and administrative law, vires, decision making and judicial review. Victoria is a specialist environmental lawyer who advises statutory nature conservation bodies, local planning authorities, other public bodies, registered providers, and developers on their environmental and planning obligations.
Having worked in the Civil Service for more than a decade before joining Browne Jacobson, Victoria is deeply committed to and a passionate advocate for the public sector. Her public sector clients benefit from Victoria’s unique insight into the sector’s priorities, ways of working and culture and her ability to provide pragmatic advice that reflects the particular challenges they face.
Victoria has a particular specialism in environmental law, including environmental assessment, the Habitats Regulations, and SSSIs. Her clients include statutory nature conservation bodies, local planning authorities, arm’s length bodies and NDPBs as well as developers, registered providers of social housing and corporates.
Victoria is a natural litigator, and her broad contentious practice includes judicial review, procurement challenges, public inquiries, and statutory appeals. She has acted for clients in the High Court, County Court, Technology and Construction Court and the Court of Appeal, and she has an appeal pending in the UK Supreme Court.
Victoria is recognised as a key planning lawyer in the West Midlands by The Legal 500.
Working with the UK’s aviation regulator to assess the environmental implications of the airspace change masterplan – a single coordinated implementation plan for airspace changes in the UK to 2040.
Acting for the London Borough of Croydon in the Court of Appeal in the joined cases of R (Elkundi) v Birmingham CC and R (Imam) v LB of Croydon on the nature of the main housing duty and the circumstances in which a court should grant mandatory relief.
Supporting Natural England to deliver statutory advice to local authorities on the impact of new residential development on protected sites and the mitigation of adverse effects through nutrient neutrality.
Working with the Welsh Local Government Association and Lawyers in Local Government (Wales) to draft a new model constitution and constitution guide for local authorities in Wales.
Victoria Searle was a pleasure to work with, she is efficient, responsive and very helpful, and I really valued her willingness to talk-through and explain complex issues.
On 2 November 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the much awaiting case of Hillside Parks Ltd v Snowdonia National Park Authority  UKSC 30. The Court’s judgment suggests that the long established practice of using drop-in applications is in fact much more restricted than previously thought. This judgment therefore has significant implications for both the developers and local planning authorities.