Richard Hanstock

Call: 2012

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Richard is a public law barrister who enjoys applying the law to build and maintain sustainable communities. He advises and represents a wide range of public authorities, including local councils, government departments and police forces, as well as private individuals, companies and interest groups.

Having volunteered as a police officer for thirteen years, Richard is well-equipped to provide highly practical and realistic advice alongside robust and persuasive advocacy inside and outside court. He has extensive experience of managing anti-social behaviour, disorder within licensed premises and persistent breaches of planning control, supporting clients to navigate challenging legal landscapes to achieve a just outcome for communities, businesses and individuals.

Richard is a deep specialist in the regulation of investigatory powers, including confiscation proceedings and police law. He is an expert in computer misuse and cyber security, building on his academic research on denial of service attacks at the University of Cambridge.

Richard serves as a reservist in the Royal Air Force, where he is working towards a commission in the RAF Legal Branch. He aspires to complement his public law practice by delivering operational legal advice to military commanders, contributing to the development of international legal doctrine on the role of cyber capabilities in hybrid warfare.


  • Housing

    Richard has experience of working for landlords and tenants across a wide range of housing law issues, including social housing fraud, anti-social behaviour, unlawful evictions, closure orders, injunctions, committal applications, and improvement notices.

    Richard is able to offer a full service to housing professionals and tenants across the civil and criminal courts, taking particular pride in drafting notices, pleadings, advices, summonses and skeleton arguments as well as in his oral advocacy.

    Having spent time seconded to social landlords, Richard has a front-line insight into the pressures faced by public authorities in this area, and values the opportunity to see cases through from beginning to end.

    Richard has particular strengths in housing fraud, owing to his police experience in fraud investigation. He has civil and criminal experience in unlawful subletting and benefit fraud cases, and has acted in cases involving unlawful profit orders and confiscation proceedings. Richard has similar experience in succession and abandonment claims.

    Recently, Richard has produced skeleton arguments challenging prosecutions brought in default of housing notices, persuading the prosecution to withdraw proceedings altogether on evidential or public interest grounds. Richard regularly contributes to seminars and publications on housing law matters. He wrote a paper on investigating housing fraud for the last Cornerstone Housing Day and writes for the quarterly Cornerstone Housing Newsletter.

    Particular experience includes:

    • Succeeded at trial in defeating a fraudulent succession claim in possession proceedings brought by a social landlord.
    • Experience of claims raising issues of litigation capacity and specific capacity, with a particular focus on public authorities’ policies and duties towards vulnerable tenants.
    • Advised on charge, drafted pleadings and provided representation in dishonest subletting cases under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, in civil and criminal courts.
    • Achieved the first Unlawful Profit Order obtained by a prominent housing association in a subletting case.
    • Advice and representation in possession proceedings against non-secure tenants accommodated under homelessness duties, including pleadings, advice on merits, and advice on policy.
    • Appealed against possession order in a homelessness case involving reviews under sections 202 and 204 Housing Act 1996.
    • Obtained the first anti-social behaviour injunction ordered by Leicester County Court under the 2014 Act.
    • Successfully appeared in various inter partes, ex parte and interim injunction cases under the ASBCPA 2014 and other legislation.
    • Acted for a tenant raising Equality Act, Care Act and Disability Discrimination Act defences in proceedings for an anti-social behaviour injunction.
    • Research in litigation involving out-of-borough placements by local authorities in pursuit of homelessness duties.
  • Licensing

    Richard has considerable knowledge of licensing matters having spent time on secondment to both licensing authorities and a leading firm of licensing solicitors. He acts for both applicants and authorities in a range of licensing areas.

    Richard’s experience encompasses premises licensing (vertical drinking, public houses, restaurants, hotels, off licences and festivals), taxi licensing, sexual entertainment venues, tables & chairs, street trading, and house-to-house collection licences. In a national context, Richard has been seconded to the Gambling Commission, affording him a valuable insight into gaming regulation and remote betting operator licensing in particular.

    Richard accepts instructions to appear in courts of all levels, as well as at committee meetings and tribunal hearings. Drawing on his experience as a police officer, Richard is able to give practical advice on how best to prepare a case for hearing, as well as on the merits of further appeal.

    Richard has worked to train local councillors on their powers and duties in taxi licensing appeals, and recently contributed to a ‘ready reference’ guide to reforms to regulated entertainment.

  • Planning and Environment

    Richard has been involved in a number of planning law matters, particularly in relation to planning enforcement, on behalf of local authorities, landowners, objectors and developers. His experience spans enforcement notices, injunctions, prosecutions, and confiscation proceedings.

    Richard has assisted with reviewing chapters of Cornerstone on the Planning Court. He has an active interest in the merits of planning decisions and continues to build on his exposure to planning law during pupillage.

    Recent experience includes:

    • Enforcement notices, stop notices and injunctions under sections 172, 183 and 187B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
    • Prosecuted a 5-handed planning enforcement matter, advising on merits, drafting summons and a skeleton argument, achieving convictions at first instance and appearing in confiscation proceedings.
    • Advice on review of six-figure confiscation order following breaches of planning control.
    • Noting brief in a Planning Court appeal related to development affecting a listed building.
    • Research for leading counsel on preclusive provisions in a judicial review of a draft local plan.
    • Experience of the use of Grampian conditions to mitigate development affecting the integrity of a protected site in compliance with the Habitats Regulations.
    • Research on points of law relating to town and village greens and local heritage sites.
    • Considered the interpretation of planning permissions dating back to the 1950s and ’60s.
    • Recently assisted Robin Green on a planning inquiry concerning joined appeals by gypsy travellers against refusal of permission for pitches in Green Belt sites, raising matters of policy and planning merits.
    • Assisted in an enforcement inquiry relating to the applicability of permitted development rights under the GPDO.
  • Public Law and Judicial Review

    Richard has an active interest in judicial review claims and is able to advise on public law challenges in a range of contexts.

    Richard has assisted with advice on a judicial review of the Cabinet Office relating to a licensing decision, and on reviews of decisions taken on homelessness applications.

    Richard’s local government experience spans a range of sectors including real property, highways, traffic regulation, and infrastructure. His experiences on secondment to local authorities equip him well to understand the competing priorities and political dimensions that shape Council decision-taking.

    During pupillage he assisted with advice to a local authority on a contentious issue arising from a conflict between its duties to a leaseholder and its responsibility to preserve a vibrant cultural establishment. He assisted with advice to a Borough Council on to the extent to which it can compel the highway authority to make traffic regulation orders, and on the legal consequences of breaching of a long-standing but informal arrangement with a private company. Richard also conducted research behind Westlaw Insight articles on a range of topics in the local government sphere.

    Owing to his PhD research in computers and law, Richard is particularly well-placed to advise on freedom of information and data protection requests to public authorities, as well as breaches of data security and privacy.

  • Property

    Richard has experience of a range of property law issues including adverse possession, forfeiture, service charges, leasehold enfranchisement, sale of land, and derogations from grant.

    Richard is able to bring his understanding of planning, licensing and public law to property litigation. During his pupillage, Richard worked with Ranjit Bhose QC and Jon Holbrook on a number of property matters, with a particular focus on local authority duties towards leaseholders and licensees.

    Recent experience includes:

    • Advice and representation in forfeiture claim by commercial landlord under threat of planning enforcement proceedings.
    • Advice on recovery of overpaid service charges by leaseholder facing limitation issues.
    • Acted for tenant seeking to enfranchise, achieving an order under section 39 of the 1993 Act.
  • Commercial and Regulatory

    Richard has experience of advising on, bringing and resisting appeals against decisions taken by a range of national and local public authorities, including the Cabinet Office, the Metropolitan Police Service, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Security Industry Authority. He has acted in environmental health matters and has an active interest in health and safety prosecutions: during pupillage he wrote an advice on conflicts of interest in fire safety prosecutions, and assisted with the environmental health prosecution of a tattoo parlour.

    Richard has extensive experience of police discipline proceedings brought by the Metropolitan Police Service, British Transport Police and Kent Police, as well as related criminal proceedings. He has contributed to the upcoming second edition of Beggs and Davies on Police Misconduct, Complaints and Public Regulation, the main textbook in the police misconduct arena. He draws on insight from his experience as a police officer to provide informed advice on police powers, culture and policy.