Adrienne Copithorne


Adrienne Copithorne

"Sensible, supportive and diplomatic; quietly effective." 

"Up and coming" in claimant environmental lawyers Chambers & Partners 2017

"Associate to Watch" Chambers & Partners 2014

Adrienne became a partner at Richard Buxton in October 2014, having joined the firm as a trainee in 2008. She has a particular interest in cases involving public open space, energy infrastructure, climate change and public law principles such as the need for effective consultation. She became a solicitor-advocate in 2011. In August 2018, Adrienne relocated with her family to Vancouver Island, Canada, from where she continues to work for the firm as a consultant solicitor. 

Adrienne represented clients in Wales who succeeded in having permission quashed for a wind turbine that would have been highly visible from the Boat House where Dylan Thomas wrote many of his poems, causing serious harm to the historic and cultural landscape, R (Davies) v Carmarthenshire County Council. Another success is in R (Nicholson) v Allerdale Borough Council, where the High Court was persuaded that a noise condition attached to a motorsport track was unlawful in that it failed to adequately protect the public from maximum noise levels.

Adrienne read Law at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, where she was awarded the Sir David Williams Prize for the highest final exam results at the college in the Law tripos. Prior to qualifying as a solicitor, Adrienne worked for several years in the charity and NGO sector. She was a caseworker at Refugee Legal Centre, representing clients in hearings before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Before moving to the UK in 2000, Adrienne worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kashmir. She acted as an advocate on behalf of the detainees with the Indian authorities, an experience which convinced her to begin a legal career. Adrienne has a Masters' degree in South Asia Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where she held a Hewlett Foundation Fellowship and a BA (Hons) in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Adrienne represents residents' groups, parish councils, NGOs and individuals in planning and environmental judicial reviews, statutory nuisance (including successfully defending recipients of abatement notices) and private nuisance.  She has had wins in the High Court and Court of Appeal in claims relating to the need for effective consultation during the planning process (R (Halebank Parish Council) v Halton Borough Council), fairness in the 'written representations' procedure before a planning inspector (Ashley v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) and the proper approach to "lack of promptness" (R (Macrae) v Hereford Council).

In R (Prideaux) v Buckinghamshire County Council, Adrienne represented local residents who were concerned that the construction of an access road to a proposed waste incinerator would damage the habitat of protected species, including rare butterflies and great crested newts. The case has resulted in Natural England changing its standing advice to developers regarding the impact of development on protected species. Adrienne also represented a coalition of residents' groups and Hatfield House, a Grade 1 listed Jacobean manor and grounds, at an inquiry into a proposed waste incinerator in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. She has successfully represented farmers whose land has been wrongly designated a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone by the Environment Agency.

Adrienne has negotiated settlements for clients afflicted by nuisance arising from a tyre fire, out-of-hours construction and PA announcements at a London railway station. A recent mediation for clients disturbed by odour from a neighbouring waste facility also was concluded on favourable terms, as was a claim in noise nuisance arising from a single wind turbine.

Her work also includes advising a range of clients on environment related issues, including a foreign jurisdiction on the law relating to waste.

Adrienne wrote a biannual update on environmental law for the Solicitors' Journal, until that publication ceased in 2017. Examples of those articles are reproduced with kind permission on our articles page, for example here and here. She is a member of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association, the Administrative Law Bar Association and the Association of Lawyers for Animal Welfare.

In June 2017, Adrienne was pleased to be appointed a non-executive director of Sandbag, a not-for-profit thinktank which researches and campaigns for smarter climate policy. 

Adrienne was named an "associate to watch" by Chambers & Partners Legal Guide 2013-2014  and an "Up and Coming" environmental claimant lawyer in the 2015-2017 guides.

Adrienne’s twitter feed about law and the environment can be found here