Guildford 01483 539131
London 0207 1526050

Dr Ashley Bowes

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Called to Bar:
2013 Gray’s Inn (Prince of Wales Scholar)

Practice Areas


Ph.D (Employment Law)
LLB (2:1 Hons)
BPTC (“Very Competent”)
Public Access Registered

Planning and Property Law

Ashley is the Assistant Editor of Sweet & Maxwell’s Journal of Planning & Environment Law, and is a contributor to the 13th edition of Moore & Purdue’s A Practical Approach to Planning Law, published by Oxford University Press. He was previously visiting tutor in property law at the University of Surrey and is also Chairman of the Planning Committee at Woking Borough Council, having previously served as the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Licensing, overseeing the preparation of the Core Strategy, Green Belt review and site allocations process. Prior to coming to the Bar, Ashley ran a planning consultancy representing clients in planning, village green, common land and rights of way inquiries.

He has been described by Barrister Inspectors as “covering everything of importance [for his client]” (Rydens Way, 2011), “very effective” (Sawpit Green, 2012) and “an experienced advocate” (Ash Meadows, 2013).

It was very comforting for us to have someone with such in-depth knowledge in this specialised area of planning helping and advising us. At the Inquiry itself our excellent choice of barrister was readily apparent. We were all very impressed with Ashley’s presence, the way he supported our witnesses, and his approach in dealing with any arguments raised by the objectors’ barrister” – Allan Jones, Founder member and a Director of Bryants Bottom Community Trust CIC.

His notable recent cases include:

  • A “significant Planning Court claim” concerning policies for the supply of housing in a 400 homes residential development on a Greenfield site in Surrey – R(Ash Parish Council) v Guildford Borough Council (CO/1871/2014) (led by Paul Brown QC)
  • A village green judicial review application described by Planning Magazine as a “test case” – about whether the “by right” doctrine applies to private land managed by a local authority, and the scope of s.15(6) Commons Act 2006 in Essex – R(Naylor) v Essex County Council [2014] EWHC 2560 (Admin.)
  • A judicial review of a decision to deregister and exchange common land in Surrey – R(Tadworth & Walton Residents’ Association) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (CO/4492/2014)
  • A tortious High Court claim against a highway authority for obstructing a private right of access without statutory authority – Lynchford Tyres Ltd v Hampshire County Council (Claim No. HQ14XO2804)

His notable recent inquiries include:

  • Currently representing parties in the Horsham and Arun local plan examinations.
  • Currently engaged representing the Appellant in an application for 90 residential units on the metropolitan Green Belt in Surrey.
  • Representing a consortium of Parish Councils and residents’ associations as a Rule 6 party in a “bespoke timetable” 6-day planning inquiry concerning a housing development on Green Belt and conflict with a neighbourhood plan (2014)
  • Successfully representing the British Horse Society to resist an application to downgrade a Restricted Byway to a footpath in a two-week public inquiry (2013)
  • Representing a neighboring landowner as a Rule 6 party to resist residential development of a reserve housing site prior to the release date (2014) (objection was withdrawn following a private agreement being negotiated with the appellant)
  • Representing the a Community Interest Company to register land in the village as a town or village green (2014)
  • Representing a residents’ association to resist the deregistration and exchange of common land at a 4-day public inquiry (2014)
  • Appearing at numerous other planning inquiries and village green non-statutory inquiries as a consultant 2011-2013.

His recent property work includes:

  • Representing a respondent in a claim to the Lands Tribunal for a right of way easement (2014)
  • Successfully representing respondents to a claim for adverse possession a mediation (2013)
  • Appearing (as a pupil) in a Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 claim, concerning commercial investments – Minstretta v Wood.


Ashley holds a PhD in Employment Law from the University of Surrey and has written and delivered academic papers on a range of employment law issues. He has a wide experience in all aspects of employment litigation and his recent work includes:

  • Currently engaged in a complex Tribunal hearing concerning the scope of a “worker” in EU law for the purposes of holiday pay, national minimum wage and daily rest periods. (2014)
  • Successfully arguing that to be on “garden leave” requires an employee to remain available to work at his employer’s direction – Jackson v Castle Vets Ltd (Case no. 2700273/2014) (2014)
  • Successfully negotiating a settlement package (including an agreed reference) for a head of department in a secondary school in a stress at work claim (2014)
  • Successfully negotiating a settlement package (including an agreed reference) for a sixth form college teacher in a constructive unfair dismissal and age discrimination claim (2013)
  • Successfully negotiating a receptionist in holiday pay claim a settlement package (2012)
  • Successfully representing a ferry steward at one day judicial mediation (2012)
  • Successfully negotiating a facilities manager in flexible working/sex discrimination claim a settlement package (2012)

Licensing Law

Ashley has a broad experience of licensing law having chaired a number of licensing sub-committees, which have considered, premises licenses, licensing reviews and applications, and taxi licenses reviews and applications.

His recent work includes:

  • Appearing (as a pupil) in a judicial review concerning whether a “best endeavors” condition was enforceable and consistent with other operating schedules – R(Star Oyster Ltd) v Guildford Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2174 (Admin.)
  • Appearing for a major night club owner in a judicial review concerning whether in resolving to adopt extended sexual entertainment venue powers, the licensing authority acted unlawfully in failing to consult only “local people”, irrationally in affording less weight to written representations, and in breach of a legitimate expectation not to consider anonymous representations – R(Extreme Oyster Ltd) v Guildford Borough Council (CO/4543/2014)
  • Successfully appearing for an applicant for a shadow premises license for table dancing (amongst other licensable activity) to demonstrate (i) a proposed condition concerning door staff should be removed and (ii) the proposed DPS was appropriate following Police and licensing authority objections.

Judicial Review:

With a growing High Court practice, Ashley welcomes instructions to advise and act in judicial review or statutory review proceedings in any of the above areas.



  • ‘The Localism Act 2011 and the General Power of Competence’ (with Dr John Stanton, City University) [2014] Public Law (Jul) 373-402.
  • ‘Determining a neighbourhood area’ [2013] 8 JPL 926-930′
  • “As of Right” the current conceptual crisis in the public law of prescription post Barkas‘ [2013] 5 JPL 495
  • ‘Delivering Housing Need: an assessment of the NPPF’ [2012] 10 JPL 1174
  • ‘The Uncertain Prescriptive Underpinnings of the Town and Village Green Regime’ [2012] 7 JPL 789
  • ‘The Registration of Town or Village Greens and the Res Judicata Myth’ [2012] 1 JPL 10-19
  • ‘The Rise of the Neighbourhood Triffids’ [2011] 4 JPL 386–391
  • ‘A Bright Future for BSF?’ [2011] 16(2) Judicial Review 156-162
  • ‘Revocation of Regional Strategies, a State Frontier Rolled Back too Soon?’ [2011] 2 JPL 137–142
  • ‘To Consider or not to Consider? – the Materiality of off-site Benefits in Compulsory Purchase Law’ [2011] 16(1) Judicial Review 60-65
  • ‘Can Religion be Racially Discriminatory?’ (2009) 10(3) International Journal of Discrimination and the Law 149–160

Further Information

Ashley enjoys playing the piano and organ, and walks with his dog, Boris.

Guildford Chambers Stoke House, Leapale Lane, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4LY