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A. John Williams

Call 1983

"He is extremely approachable, highly intelligent and a ferocious cross-examiner."
(Chambers & Partners 2016)

Criminal Regulatory & Environmental

John has substantial experience of work for local authorities in licensing matters (public entertainments, sex shops, street trading etc). Recent work includes advising on the Licensing Act 2003.

Statutory Nuisance work (appeals and prosecutions) under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 with particular emphasis on noise nuisance in domestic and commercial premises and at concert venues.

Health & Safety

John has extensive experience of cases involving the following: the primary duties under the 1974 Act; prosecutions for contravening statutory regulations; the “reasonable practicability” defence; risk assessment; the provision of training and information to employees and HSE ACOPs and Guidance Notes. Work undertaken includes pre-charge advice (s20 powers / interviews etc); advice on plea and the basis for any guilty plea and mitigation.

Defence cases handled in recent months include: gross negligence manslaughter case for director of a plastics factory involved in a legionnaire’s outbreak; electrocution of an employee working in a sub station; and serious spinal injuries suffered by an employee who fell from a ladder.

Prosecution cases handled in recent 12 months for local authorities include: methane poisoning of an employee at work; and serious head injuries sustained by a customer visiting a restaurant.

Statutory Nuisance

John has extensive experience in statutory nuisance cases acting predominantly for local authorities but also private clients. Work undertaken includes: (1) advising on & drafting Abatement Notices in complex cases; (2) acting in appeals against Notices & (3) prosecuting & defending alleged breaches of the terms of Notices.

 Local Authority Instructions

 Instructed by London Borough of Camden; Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea; London Borough of Lewisham; London Borough of Ealing & other London Boroughs in statutory nuisance cases. Cases undertaken include:

 LB Camden (1990-2004)

John acted as standing Counsel for the London Borough of Camden in statutory nuisance cases for over 10 years.

Instructions included the following:

  • noise nuisance allegations in a wide range of premises including: theatres; music venues (e.g. Camden Palace; Jazz Café; Forum; Dublin Castle); pubs; lap dancing clubs e.g. Spearmint Rhino & Secrets) & commercial premises.
  • noise nuisance from public events (Kenwood Music Festival)
  • noise nuisance from lifts at Russell Square Underground Station
  • noise & dust nuisances on construction sites operated by major construction companies
  • noise nuisance in domestic premises
  • smell nuisances from restaurant & other commercial premises

Private Clients

John has acted for a wide range of private clients in statutory nuisance cases.

John has undertaken advisory & litigation work for Poppleston Allen, one of the country’s leading specialist licensing solicitors. These cases commonly involve complaints of noise nuisance from pub gardens; music played inside licensed premises & noise from deliveries & collections.

John has also recently acted for railway operators defending statutory nuisance claims for alleged noise nuisance from PA systems at major railway stations such as Waterloo East.

Licensing Work

John has undertaken a wide range of licensing work & much of this work includes the enforcement of licence conditions relating to noise & fire safety.

John also drafted Camden’s first Licensing Policy under the Licensing Act 2003.

Selected Cases

  • Camden London Borough Council v Gunby [2000] 1 WLR 465 – Service of notices under the EPA 1990.
  • AMEC Building Limited v Camden London Borough Council [1997] Env LR 330 (first instance)
  • Camden London Borough Council v London Underground Limited [2000] Env LR369
  • Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (2000 – 2010)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea v London Underground Limited (2008/2009, West London Magistrates’ Court): John acted for the Council in a number of high profile noise nuisance cases. By way of example:6 day appeal by LUL against the terms of a noise abatement notice relating to the PA system on the District & Circle lines at Earls Court station. LUL withdrew the appeal just before the Court was due to give judgment and paid the Council’s costs.
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“Always calm and level-headed under pressure, and inspires complete confidence in his ability to master fact-heavy and complex scenarios. Very good with clients and witnesses.” “A brilliant trial advocate who is superb at cross-examination.” “Incredibly persuasive and makes clients quickly feel comfortable.”

Chambers & Partners 2018

“He has a wonderful ability to reduce complex law into easy-to-understand bite-sized pieces.” “A formidable trial advocate and ruthless in cross-examination.”

Legal 500 2017

“He’s excellent, a formidable opponent” “He is extremely robust; as a trial advocate he can really go for the jugular when called for”

Chambers & Partners 2017

“He is extremely approachable, highly intelligent and a ferocious cross-examiner.”

Chambers & Partners 2016

“An outstanding advocate, who is also client-focussed and a joy to work with.”

Legal 500 2016

“He’s very bright, misses nothing, and is very easy to work with and approachable.”

Chambers & Partners 2015

“An experienced health and safety barrister….An extremely robust cross-examiner.”

Legal 500 2015

“He is very analytical in his approach and also communicates effectively to juries.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“He considers everything in detail.”

Legal 500 2014

“A preferred counsel on all asbestos-related matters.”

Legal 500 2014

“A brilliant and very thorough lawyer who has an understated style.”

Chambers & Partners 2013

Has “an exceptional eye for detail.”

Legal 500 2013

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