Landmark Chambers

The Legal Cheek View

Formed in 2002, Landmark Chambers has developed into a figurehead set for planning and environmental law, property, public, valuation and rating law. Based in London, the set now boasts a stellar 37 KCs and 65 juniors who take on work across the spectrum of these areas, though there is usually a property connection in some shape or another. It is no wonder then that one of the three pupils it takes on each year must want to specialise in property. Landmark Chamber’s team is bolstered by having former Supreme Court justice and planning law expert Lord Carnwath as an Associate Member.

The work taken on by tenants at Landmark is incredibly varied. One junior at the set tells us: “I have a fantastic range of work with different clients and colleagues in a variety of sectors across the country.” In addition to its staple planning, property, and environmental law work, the set has particular strengths in local government, real estate litigation, agriculture and rural affairs, and social housing work. Of course, much of this feeds into their planning, property, and environmental core. As one tenant puts it, “planning and environmental law picks up on so many fascinating tensions at the heart of government policy — whether it’s solving the housing crisis in a way that is environmentally sustainable, or the future of major infrastructure like Heathrow Airport or HS2”. The work is said to be highly-stimulating, with one junior explaining that “it involves difficult points of law on a daily basis, and my research often takes me to the library to uncover long-forgotten authorities”.

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Recent cases worked on by tenants at Landmark include Stephen Whale successfully representing the Forest of Dean District Council in a highly-reported case in which an accountant was jailed for building then refusing to demolish, “Britain’s biggest man cave” — featuring a cinema, bowling alley, and badminton court — in his back garden without planning permission, and Matthew Dale-Harris acting for the Environment Agency in a High Court case relating to the Agency’s approach to investigation and assessment of impacts caused by water abstraction on protected fenland habitats in the Norfolk Broads.

Meanwhile, Fiona Scolding KC, Miranda Butler, Hannah Gibbs, and Georgina Fenton represented a large number of infected and affected victims of the infected blood scandal in a public hearing, started in 2018 and concluding in 2023. Demonstrating the breath of work in chambers, Reuben Taylor KC secured a new Lidl for Brentwood after a successful appeal against refused planning permission, whilst Robert Walton KC successfully argued for new facilities to serve Lancashire Cricket Club. It’s also worth noting that Landmark was represented at the first sitting of the Supreme Court in Manchester over the summer of 2023.

It’s not all planning, property, and environmental law at Landmark Chambers, however. The set also has great strength in the field of public law, whether its members are challenging restrictive laws on the abortion services in Northern Ireland or defending the government in the Shamima Begum case. Members really do have “challenging, interesting and high-profile” caseloads. Landmark attracts public law work from all kinds of clients, including individuals, central government (around 30 of its members are on the Attorney General’s panel of counsel), local government, companies, and NGOs. “I have been genuinely surprised by how much good quality public law work there is,” says one rookie. “I don’t think there are many other sets professing to do public law where a junior can do this much interesting work.”

Recent public law cases worked on by tenants include Alex Shattock working on a challenge to an undisclosed Home Office asylum seekers accommodation policy, Julia Smyth and Yaaser Vanderman acting for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in a challenge to the law permitting abortion on the basis of disability, and Satya Jeremie playing an instrumental role in helping British gymnasts launch and pursue actions against British Gymnastics for the abuse they experienced. Yaaser Vanderman and Charles Bishop acted in one of the biggest cases of 2022: the claim for judicial review of various government policies on care homes during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another COVID-related case saw Natasha Jackson act for the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago in a challenge to the constitutionality of the COVID regulations in the country. That’s all without mentioning the sets role in the Rwanda policy ruling in the High Court, which saw two Landmark KCs take part. In an altogether different line of work, Alex Goodman excitingly recently acted as the legal adviser to a BBC documentary about Sir Mo Farah, in which he spoke about his history of leaving Somalia for the UK as a child. There is certainly a lot of high-profile work taking place at Landmark!

As well as the work at Landmark being high-quality, we hear that the tenants themselves are also wonderful. Senior members are said to go out of their way to nurture those starting out, with one junior saying they “have felt supported from day one of the tenancy”. There is very much an open-door policy throughout the set, and so there is always someone to go and speak to if you need help. Even if not physically in the set, help is available via email.

One junior tells us: “If you e-mail your colleagues, then despite everyone appearing so busy, you get multiple response within minutes, even for the most minor or stupid junior barrister queries. This level of support for the most junior members of chambers baffles me, frankly. I can only assume that, contrary to appearances, there are lots of people in chambers with very little to do.” The clerks are also praised, with one tenant telling us they are “excellent and unstinting in their support and dedication”. Landmark has been there in times of need on a personal level for one member recently who praises the set for going “above and beyond when I had a health issue”. Wellbeing initiatives are in place such as the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is in place to help barristers, pupils, and staff with personal and professional problems.

This support is sometimes especially important as high-level work can often mean long hours. One tenant tells us: “I’ve had a lot of high level cases on hand recently, which has made balancing work and life a little bit more tricky than usual but my clerks are really helpful in supporting me through difficult times and keeping my work diary sensible.” It seems that pressure usually comes from the barrister themselves rather than Chambers or colleagues. This perhaps makes it all the more important to unwind. It’s common for members of Chambers to meet together for lunch or for cake on Mondays — sounds lovely! We hear there are “fairly frequent” social events, but other tenants tell us that, because everyone is so busy, “post-work casual social activity is limited”.

At least Landmark’s location means it is easy to pop out for a quick lunch or post-work drink. Based on Fleet Street, it is nicely situated near the Royal Courts of Justice and lawyer-y drinking holes such as El Vino. Whilst it’s safe to say it lacks the historic grandeur of those Chambers that find themselves in the Inns, the inside of the building is well-equipped. The client-facing side of Chambers is said to be “well-presented” and there are “well-equipped conferencing facilities” with “decent air conditioning and heating”. The IT receives fairly mixed reviews, with the team apparently not being as responsive as they might be. The move to a new platform has also been a challenge for some members. In terms of the barrister’s rooms, we are told there is an endless supply of tea and biscuits on each floor — this can only be a positive! Apparently, the lifts are quite interesting. One tenant reveals: “The lifts have clearly been possessed by a wayward sprite or djinn — mischievous rather than malevolent — who enjoys toying with pupil and KC alike. How his antics make us chuckle!” As one tenant puts it: “It’s not the most impressive building, but who cares? Are the barristers in it impressive? Oh yes” — nuff said.

Landmark recruits up to three pupils per year, one specialising in property. Pupillage is divided into four seats: planning and environment, property, public law and a fourth of the pupil’s own choosing. Pupils complete three written, and one advocacy assessment with feedback being provided on all. One former pupil says: “I had an absolutely lovely pupillage. Assessment and results were clear, supportive colleagues and interesting work where I learned a lot.” Pupils are encouraged to work with other members on their cases throughout the year, and Landmark arranges for them to work with a KC or senior junior on more complex cases. In the second six months, pupils will be given their own cases and dispatched off to court — usually the county court or first-tier tribunal — on small applications. The overall training process clearly worked well for one insider, who tells us: “Being on your feet for the first time is nerve-wracking for every new second six but I felt ready to rise to the challenge. It helped that my supervisors were always on hand to provide last-minute assistance.”

Those wishing to apply for pupillage should apply through the Pupillage Gateway. Those scoring highest in the written application will be invited to complete an hour-long written assessment, for which no prior preparation is required. Those scoring highest in this assessment will be invited to an interview in front of a panel. Offers will be made based on the scores from the written application, assessment, and interview. The pupillage award is a generous £75,000.

Landmark states that they are committed to improving equality and diversity at the Bar. In association with Cornerstone Barristers, Falcon Chambers, Field Court Chambers, Francis Taylor Building, and Kings Chambers (all sets with similar specialisms), they run a mentoring scheme for under-represented groups at the Bar. They also support Bridging the Bar and 10,000 Black Interns.

What The Junior Barristers Say

Georgina Fenton

Your journey to pupillage

I came to the Bar as a non-law undergraduate having studied English Literature at Durham University after finishing my A-Levels. Prior to starting my degree, I had done some work experience in a local solicitor’s firm and at the Crown Prosecution Service. I was interested in a career in law, and specifically at the Bar, but knew how competitive the process is, so I decided to choose a non-law undergraduate degree in a subject I loved and told myself that if after three years I was still interested in pursuing a career in law I would look to convert to law after my degree.

In the summers during my undergraduate degree, I completed three mini-pupillages (in wide-ranging areas of law, including both civil and criminal), marshalled a judge at the Court of Appeal, and attended a number of legal career insight events. I decided I did want to pursue a career in law and specifically at the Bar, but first I needed a break from study so I worked for six months (I volunteered three days a week with the legal charity Reprieve, volunteered one day a week for my local Citizens Advice and waitressed in a local pub to earn some money) and then I travelled for 6 months.

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When I returned from my travels, I started the GDL in London. I worked as a waitress part time alongside this to help fund my studies, and also undertook four more mini pupillages at a variety of sets. By this time, I had a better idea of the type of practice wanted to pursue, so I focused on obtaining mini-pupillages at sets specialising in public law. During my GDL, I also undertook some pro bono written advocacy for Amnesty International and took part in a number of mooting competitions for the first time which was a brilliant introduction to legal advocacy and fantastic preparation for pupillage interviews. I applied for pupillage for the first time while doing the GDL to 7-8 sets and got through to a handful of first round, and a couple of second round, interviews but received no offers. Going through the process was an invaluable experience, and I learnt such a lot from this which helped me in my preparation for applying the following year.

Following completion of the GDL, I started the BPTC having obtained a scholarship from Gray’s Inn. During my BPTC, as well as continuing with mooting, I volunteered with Communities Empowerment Network, where I was given the opportunity to represent the parents of children who have been temporarily or permanently excluded from school, to help them to challenge the exclusion. It was incredibly rewarding to gain experience of “real-world” advocacy alongside more formal, legal advocacy on the BPTC. I applied for pupillage for the second time during my BPTC (this time applying to 11-12 sets) and obtained an offer from Landmark which I accepted.

In the year between finishing the BPTC and starting pupillage at Landmark I worked as a Judicial Assistant in the Court of Appeal, most notably working on the Heathrow Airport expansion appeal.

The pupillage experience

I was drawn to Landmark for two main reasons. First, when I attended an open day there prior to applying for pupillage I was struck by how genuinely friendly and approachable everybody was, whatever level of seniority. While everyone is exceptionally talented and impressive, no one made me feel intimidated. This held true at the interview stage which made what is undoubtedly a stressful and anxious experience that little bit easier. Second, as well as the warmth of Chambers, Landmark’s prominence in public law, with barristers appearing in all the major and constitutionally significant cases each year – Begum, Miller, Heathrow Airport to name but a few – was indicative of the quality of work Chambers produced and the opportunities available.

Pupillage is split into four seats, each of three months, with a different supervisor for each seat. The first three seats are in each of Chambers main practice areas: Planning/ Environmental, Public and Property. At the end of each of those seats you undertake an assessed written exercise in that area of law. For your final seat, you can request to repeat whatever practice area you most enjoyed or would like to gain more experience in. You are set work mainly by your supervisor, but there are also opportunities to do work for other members of Chambers. There are also two advocacy assessments which take place during the year, before the tenancy decision.

While there are opportunities to take on your own work during the second six of pupillage at Landmark, you are encouraged up until the tenancy decision to focus on work for your supervisor to maximise your chance of successfully obtaining tenancy. However, the tenancy decision is usually taken after your first three seats, so people typically take on much more of their own work in the final seat which is brilliant preparation for when you become a tenant.

My experience of pupillage was unlike most (and hopefully not one which will be repeated) as I was a pandemic pupil so spent most of the year at home during a lockdown rather than in Chambers with my supervisor. Landmark made every effort to ensure I still had the fullest experience possible, for example I was able to assist with and observe the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, a case in the Supreme Court concerning child tax credit and a number of planning inquiries.

Finally, and importantly, Landmark make clear that there is space for all its pupils to be offered tenancy so the only person you are in competition with is yourself. In other words, provided you meet the standard required for tenancy, you will be made an offer, regardless of the decision made in relation to your co-pupils. This is so important because the only people who can truly empathise with you during pupillage are you co-pupils, and so to feel you can fully support each other rather than being in competition with each other is extremely valuable.

The transition from pupil to tenant

My transition from pupil to tenant was more challenging than most because I had spent the majority of my pupillage year in a lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, which restricted my ability to take on my own work during the second six.

However, the support of members of Chambers made the transition far easier than it would otherwise been. Landmark genuinely does have an open-door policy; I have never knocked on the door of a member of Chambers – however junior or senior – and been turned away. Everyone is always willing to offer you their time to sense-check some advice, to ask a question or to ask where to find the best textbook/ resource. Even now, over a year into practice, members still knock on my door regularly to check-in and ask how I am getting on. Opportunities to be a junior to more senior members of Chambers – and observe how they run a case – are also incredibly helpful learning experiences in the early stages.

What is your practice like now?

I have a broad practice focused on public and planning law. Landmark encourages it’s juniors to maintain a broad practice in the early stages which has lots of benefits: it makes you more marketable, it helps you to work out what you enjoy most and what you may like to specialise in, it gives you the opportunity to work with a wide range of solicitors and more senior barristers, and it makes your work life interesting and varied as no two days are the same.

The balance of court and advisory work depends a lot on the area of law you’re working in, but I enjoy the balance I have. Some weeks I will have a planning inquiry which will involve travelling to somewhere in the country for a hearing; other times, I have SEND hearings which mostly take place remotely; more recently I have been attending Infected Blood Inquiry hearings in London. Other weeks will be spent doing written advocacy in the form of an advice or opinion. It really is the variety of both the content and form of work at the Bar, and specifically at Landmark, which is, in my view, its greatest appeal.

In terms of hours and work/life balance, I feel very lucky to be at a Chambers where work/ life balance is respected by both the clerks and other members. Others may have a different view on this, but I try to be firm with myself about not working weekends and would prefer to start working early on a weekday to protect my weekends as much as possible. My biggest advice is to set your non-negotiables early on and feel able to say no when you are genuinely at capacity. My view is it is far easier to build a sustainable practice, and avoid burn-out, if you do this from day one.

What is the culture of chambers?

As previously stated, it was the culture at Landmark which was one of the biggest draws for me to the Chambers, and my experience since starting practice has only proven that impression to have been correct. The Bar survives and thrives on its collegiate nature, and I have always found everyone at landmark to be friendly and happy to offer you their time and help.

Chambers is also very sociable with internal team parties/ drinks, cakes every Monday (encouraging everyone to come together once a week), and a Chambers’ football and (soon to be) netball team. Chambers also organises a number of well-being events, most recently including sessions on diet and nutrition, fitness, and managing stress and resilience, as well as free sessions with an osteopath and a yoga instructor. There is a particularly strong collegiate relationship between the women in Chambers which I personally really value, and which is encouraged by our monthly female members lunches.

Finally, the clerks and staff at Landmark are simply first class. They make you feel truly supported, they listen carefully to your individual fears and ambitions, and they are always supportive and helpful in a moment of crisis. They can help manage tricky encounters with clients, they notice and celebrate your success, and they are always looking out for new opportunities to put you forward for.

Top tips for those wanting to become a barrister/secure a pupillage at your chambers

My top tips for securing pupillage at Landmark are:

1. Be concise. Try to communicate your point in the fewest words possible. This demonstrates good written advocacy and means your answers will be focused and clear.

2. Do your research. Invest time in understanding the type of work we do at Landmark by talking to our members and researching the cases we are involved in. Explain to us why it is that the type of work we do, is the type of work you want to do.

3. Be honest. Do not try to write the answer you think we want to read. We want to know who you are, what you are interested in and what you are capable of.



Taking place in October and November 2024
Applications open 01/03/2024
Applications close 31/07/2024


Taking place in February and March 2025
Applications open 01/08/2024
Applications close 30/11/2024

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Work/life balance
Social life
Legal Tech

Insider Scorecard grades range from A* to C and are derived from the Legal Cheek Junior Barrister Survey completed by barristers at the set.

Key Info

Juniors 65
KCs 37
Pupillages 3
Oxbridge-educated new tenants* 4/5

*Figure is for the five most junior members of chambers; does not include postgraduate studies


Pupillage award £75,000
Bar course drawdown £30,000


Female juniors 39%
Female KCs 22%
BME juniors 10%
BME KCs 8%

The Chambers In Its Own Words