Legal Matters Q&A: Alison Ogley, partner in the planning and environment team at law firm Walker Morris

Alison Ogley.
Alison Ogley.
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What’s the biggest development you have seen in the legal world during your career?

This would have to be the impact of technology on how, where and when we work. This has revolutionised the legal world even within the relatively short time I have been practising. Most excitedly it is opening the door to more flexible ways of working, which is challenging the old culture of ‘presenteeism’ and creating more opportunities for lawyers who have other important commitments, outside of their ‘day job’, that they want to see flourish.

What law would you like to see changed?

This won’t mean much to practitioners outside of the planning and environment sphere, but I would really like to see appeals against section 215 notices (untidy buildings/land) and abatement notices (statutory nuisance) transferred to either the Planning Inspectorate or the First Tier Tribunal. Currently, in England these appeals are dealt with by the Magistrates Court and unfortunately the system does not work effectively, particularly as these appeals often involve highly technical cases and neither lay magistrates or District Judges have specialism or expertise in planning and environment law.

What’s the most exciting work you have ever done?

I find so many aspects of my work exciting, however I would probably have to pick appearing as an advocate before a Special Joint Parliamentary Committee into the Development Consent Order granted in respect of the Energy from Waste facility at Rookery Pit.

Who do you admire most in the legal world?

Andrew Williamson, who was the head of the planning and environment team at WM, and who still works side by side with us as a consultant. He has been an inspirational and supportive mentor throughout my career, and continues to generously share his wealth of experience and advice with me. I admire him greatly.