Charles Morgan
Call: 1978

Charles Morgan’s practice is now entirely concerned with the use and management of water by the water industry, businesses, national and local public bodies and private individuals, in which areas he has been involved for over 35 years (since before privatisation). He is one of a very small number of practitioners with such specific experience and expertise. His work in this field has led to appearances before a huge variety of courts and tribunals all over England & Wales including the Magistrates Court, Government Inspectors, the County Court, the Crown Court, the King’s (formerly Queen’s) Bench Division, the Chancery Division, the Technology and Construction Court, the Administrative Court, the Business & Property Courts, the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and the Supreme Court. His established wider background in both environmental law and commercial Chancery practice renders him equally confident in addressing public law and private law issues, which often arise together in disputes concerning the use of water, notably in the context of property rights.

Whilst a member of the Attorney-General’s Regional Panel (between c.1985 and 2011) Charles represented the Environment Agency in numerous significant regulatory appeals before government inspectors involving the water industry, as well as advising upon all aspects of the Environment Agency’s functions in relation to the aqueous environment. He also represented and advised a large number of other manifestations of central government. He has long acted for local authorities, mainly in relation to compulsory purchase and compensation cases and other areas of environmental and property law.

Charles’ earlier career provided a thorough grounding in many aspects of commercial Chancery work including building and engineering contracts, insolvency, banking, insurance and sale of goods which render him an unusually versatile practitioner capable of recognising, understanding and advising fully upon all aspects of the real-life multi-faceted situations which affect businesses, individuals and public bodies.

Charles has been since 1992 a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has extensive experience of commercial arbitration and mediation, including in the context of the water industry.

Water & water industry

  • Regulation of the water industry
  • Statutory charging, licensing and permitting régimes
  • Statutory appeals to the Secretary of State
  • Water resources, abstraction and supply
  • Sewage and trade effluent disposal
  • Water pollution
  • Sewer flooding
  • Water escapes, leaks and discharges
  • Land drainage
  • Flooding and flood defence
  • Bridges, weirs, sluices, fish passes and similar structures in, over or under water
  • Rights in pipes and to supply or flow of water
  • Mooring and navigation rights

Recommendations

"He has encyclopaedic knowledge of water law, good judgement and is approachable."

― Legal 500 [2023]

"His knowledge and experience of environmental law is unsurpassed, he is energetic and productive, and he has great charm."

― Legal 500 [2022]

"He really knows his stuff on the Water Act. He is very responsive and helpful on tricky water supply issues."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2022]

“A go-to barrister for environmental work, he is an expert on water and drainage law.”

― Legal 500 [2021]

“Deeply experienced in environmental law, in particular waste and water. He provides practical and creative advice."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2021]

"What he doesn't know about water and sewage law is scarcely worth knowing."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2020]

"He is very, very sharp and accessible, and has a crystalline mind.”

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2018]

"The reference brain for water regulatory work, while practical and superb to work with."

― Legal 500 [2017]

"He brings natural enthusiasm to projects and cases. He is a very solid professional who communicates well, is an excellent technician and has an excellent brain."

"He is an expert in water and drainage law. A great man for attention to detail and he really gets to the bottom of arguments."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2017]

"...comes highly recommended for his vast experience in land restoration and flood defence related issues."

― Who’s Who Legal UK Bar [2022]

"Charles Morgan is known for his “intricate knowledge” of water industry law. He also advises clients on cases regarding contaminated land, noise pollution and statutory nuisances."

― Who’s Who Legal UK Bar [2016]

"...Charles Morgan, whose work relating to water resources, land restoration and aftercare, flood defence and contaminated land offers him a ‘formidable reputation’."

― Who’s Who Legal UK Bar [2015]

Education

  • MA (Clare College, Cambridge)
  • Astbury Scholar and JJ Powell Prizewinner (Middle Temple)
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

Publications

  • Cost-benefit analysis – is it worth it?” (2017) 25 Water Law 172
  • Property Insolvency Butterworths, March 2015 Author of chapter on “Environmental Liabilities”
  • “The fallout from the falling-out over the outfalls. The Manchester Ship Canal decision in the Supreme Court”(2014) 24 Water Law 15 (republished in UKELA e-law November/December 2014 issue #85)
  • “The Right to Connect to A Public Sewer – A Moot Point.The Barratt Homes Decision in the Supreme Court”(2009) 20 Water Law 28
  • “The Year’s Hottest Cases Reviewed – Part 3 – Water – Sewerage – Pollution” (distilled content of lecture delivered to UKELA 2009 Annual Conference at Durham) (2009) 21 ELM 230

Notable Cases

  • Office for Environmental Protection statutory investigation into the regulation of sewerage undertakers by Defra, Ofwat and the Environment Agency. External counsel in this ongoing investigation, the first ever undertaken by the OEP pursuant to its powers in the Environment Act 2021.
  • The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and United Utilities Water Ltd [2022] EWHC 3282 (Admin); [2023] Env LR 24 (Administrative Court) – challenge to confirmation of a compulsory purchase order creating the grant of a new right of discharge of sewage effluent into the Manchester Ship Canal, the first CPO of its kind since the privatisation of the water industry.  Now awaiting a hearing in the Court of Appeal.
  • R (Wild Justice) v The Water Service Regulation Authority [2022] EWHC 2608 (Admin) (Administrative Court) – attendance on behalf of the Office for Environmental Protection in an application for permission to seek judicial review of Ofwat’s approach to regulation of the water industry. The OEP’s first ever appearance in court.
  • The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v United Utilities Water Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 852; [2023] Ch 21 (Court of Appeal, appeal to Supreme Court heard by a seven-Justice bench in March 2023, judgment awaited) – scope of principle in Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd – application to polluting discharges made in the absence of statutory authorisation.
  • The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v United Utilities Water Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 852; [2023] Ch 1 (Court of Appeal) – discrete issue in related proceedings re terminability of contractual licences granting rights of discharge expressed to be terminable on notice – vires of local authorities to enter into such agreements in respect of their sewerage functions under the Public Health Acts 1875 and 1936.
  • Easteye Ltd v Malhotra Property Investments Ltd [2020] EWHC 2606 (Ch) (Business and Property Courts) – successful challenge to the assertion that two ancient alleyways between mediaeval burgage plots in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne had become public highways by long use. The trial before HHJ Kramer (sitting as a judge of the High Court) lasted for 13 days, received evidence from over 50 witnesses and examined over 200 years of local records; the judgment runs to 210 pages.
  • Easteye Ltd v Malhotra Property Investments Ltd [2019] EWHC 2820 (Ch); [2019] Costs LR 2181 (Business and Property Courts) – costs budgeting, instruction of leading counsel, adequacy of reasoning by District Judge below.
  • The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v United Utilities Water Ltd [2019] EWHC 1495 (Ch) (Business and Property Courts) – cause of action estoppel, issue estoppel, Henderson v Henderson abuse of process in the context of longstanding litigation over rights of discharge of sewage into the Manchester Ship Canal.
  • Sheffield v Kier Group plc and others [2019] EWHC 986 (Ch); [2019] 3 All ER 1086; [2019] Pens LR 16 (Business and Property Courts) – Local Government Pension Scheme – jurisdiction of Pensions Ombudsman. Successful appeal to the High Court against the determination by the Ombudsman of an issue beyond the limits of the disputes referred to him.
  • Environment Agency v Dugbo and Jordan (2016) unreported (Crown Court at Leeds) – successful defence of the former director of a waste recycling company following a 7 week trial for alleged conspiracy to defraud producer compliance schemes by the large-scale production of false WEEE evidence notes and supporting documentation; co-accused received on conviction the longest sentence for environmental crime ever secured by the Environment Agency (7½ years). Specialist junior counsel on the regulatory and corporate aspects. Per His Honour Judge Neil Clark in his sentencing remarks: “What I found really amazing was the amount and complexity of the false paperwork. The scale of the investigation here was enormous.
  • The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v United Utilities Water plc (Middle Level Commissioners and others intervening) [2014] UKSC 40; [2014] 1 WLR 2576 (Supreme Court) – existence and extent of implied rights of discharge into private watercourses for sewerage undertakers following privatisation of the water industry in 1989. Leading counsel for the Middle Level Commissioners (a statutory water level management organisation and internal drainage board) as interveners.
  • Electrical Waste Recycling Group Ltd and City Electrical Factors Ltd v Philips Electronics UK Ltd and others [2010] EWHC 2064 (Ch); [2011] PTSR D5 – WEEE Directive and Regulations – compliance schemes – nature of producers’ obligation to finance the cost of collection and recovery of their waste products – scope of Directive entitlement to “conclude agreements stipulating other financing methods” – whether UK Regulations properly implemented the Directive in this respect. Other interlocutory proceedings are also reported at [2011] EWHC 3747 (Ch) and [2012] EWHC 38 (Ch).
  • R (oao REPIC Ltd) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Environment Agency [2009] EWHC 2015 (Admin); [2010] Env LR 24; [2010] PTSR 550 (Administrative Court) WEEE Directive and WEEE Regulations 2006 – whether Regulations properly implemented Directive – whether Environment Agency obliged to enforce Regulations – construction of Regulations. Acted for a compliance scheme as an interested party.
  • Graham v Council of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne [2009] UKUT 281 (LC) (Upper Tribunal, Lands Chamber) – compulsory purchase – acquisition to assist supermarket site assembly within an inner urban ‘Action Area’ – character of ‘no scheme world’ – Pointe Gourde principle.
  • United Utilities Water plc and others v Environment Agency (2008) (Government Inspector) – statutory appeals under the Water Resources Act 1991 by six sewerage undertakers in 2008 following the final determination of c.4000 “deemed consents” granted on privatisation of the water industry in 1989.
  • United Utilities Water plc v Environment Agency (2007) (Government Inspector) -test appeals under the Water Resources Act 1991 against conditions imposed by the Environment Agency upon discharge consents relating to wastewater treatment works in implementation of the Dangerous Substances Directive.
  • United Utilities Water plc v Environment Agency (2007) (Government Inspector) -test appeals under the Water Resources Act 1991 against conditions imposed by the Environment Agency upon discharge consents relating to combined sewer overflows in implementation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.
  • United Utilities Water plc v Environment Agency (2007) (Government Inspector) – test appeals under the Water Resources Act 1991 against conditions imposed by the Environment Agency upon discharge consents relating to combined sewer overflows in implementation of the Bathing Water Directive.
  • Yorkshire Water Services Ltd v Environment Agency (2006) (Government Inspector) – test appeals under the Water Resources Act 1991 against conditions imposed by the Environment Agency upon discharge consents relating to combined sewer overflows with pumped offline storage.
  • Poon v Bon Appettito Ltd. (2005) Lawtel LTL 27/1/2005 L. & T. Review 2005, 9(3), 75-78 (Newcastle County Court, Judge Behrens) – ‘management agreement’ between tenant of a restaurant and occupier – whether in substance an unlawful sub-tenancy – whether remediable breach – whether relief from forfeiture should be granted. Despite its humble origins and obscurity, described by Mark Pawlowski in L. & T. Review 2006, 10(1), 19-22 as “an important county court ruling”.
  • Yorkshire Water Services Ltd v Environment Agency (2002) (Government Inspector) – appeal under the Water Resources Act 1991 in respect of the first licensing by the Environment Agency of an aquifer storage and recovery scheme for public water supply.
  • Roberts v Howlett [2002] 1 P&CR 19 (p.234) (Ch.D.) – construction of restrictive covenant to use premises only as a single private dwellinghouse – letting to students for profit – whether breach of covenant.
  • Environment Agency v R Newcomb & Sons Ltd [2002] EWHC 2095 (Admin); [2003] Env LR 12 (p.288) (Administrative Court) – Environmental Protection Act 1990 section 33 – offence of deposit of controlled waste – construction and scope of exemption contained in paragraph 19 of Schedule 3 to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 – incidence of burden of proof of availability of exemption.
  • Public inquiry into applications by Northumbrian Water Ltd for consent to make discharges into the North Sea at Sunderland (2001) (Government Inspector) – representation of the Environment Agency at a “call in” inquiry ordered by the Secretary of State into the adequacy of the proposed new sewerage system for Sunderland following public concern over the likely frequency and quantity of storm discharges from combined sewer overflows.
  • Colvin v Watson [2001] PLSCS 130 (Ch.D.) – construction of restrictive covenants binding a residential estate – covenant against building on less than quarter of an acre – criteria for determining area of plot – extent of power of estate committee to withhold consent to development.
  • Duffy v Newcastle United Football Co Ltd (2000) “The Independent” 7 July (Court of Appeal) – the “Save Our Seats” litigation – construction of “bond” entitling holder to seat in stadium – redevelopment of stadium – circumstances in which seat could be changed – Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.
  • Royal Insurance Property Services Ltd v Cliffway Ltd [1996] EGCS 189 (Ch.D) – construction of rent review clause – whether clause permitted downward review – whether tenant entitled to initiate a review.
  • National Rivers Authority v The Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company [1991] RVR 48 (House of Lords) – legality of charging scheme for water abstraction licences.

 

Latest news

30th April 2024

9 Members Recognised in Who’s Who Legal Environment

Following the release of the Who’s Who Legal UK Bar rankings this week, we are delighted to announce that 9 members of Six Pump...

10th March 2023

Three members of Six Pump Court appear in one of The Lawyer’s Top 10 Appeals of 2023

At this week’s ground-breaking sitting of the Supreme Court in Manchester, three members of Six Pump Court Chambers appeared in the first case to be listed. The case raises topical issues of fundamental importance in relation to the operation of the sewerage system in England and Wales and the liability of undertakers for polluting discharges.

20th July 2022

Charles Morgan and Nicholas Ostrowski appointed to advise the Office for Environmental Protection

Charles Morgan and Nicholas Ostrowski have been appointed as external counsel advising the Office for Environmental Protection in an investigation under section 33 of the Environment Act 2021.

8th July 2022

Important judgment by the Court of Appeal on the scope of nuisance claims for water pollution

The Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in Manchester Ship Canal Company Limited v United Utilities Water Limited [2022] EWCA Civ 852

26th June 2022

Environmental and Health & Safety Regulatory Issues in Arbitration Webinar

Six Pump Court Chambers will be hosting a webinar on international arbitration webinar next month.

11th May 2022

Six Pump Court barristers ranked in Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2022

Members of Chambers have been recognised in the new 2022 edition of Who’s Who Legal (WWL) UK Bar rankings.

18th June 2021

UKELA Conference 14 -18 June

On 14th -18th June the UKELA conference will take place and we are delighted to be one of the sponsors once again.

16th March 2018

Chambers UK Guide to Environmental Law 2018

The Chambers UK Guide to Environmental Law 2018 was published this week. The Guide has been written by members of the Six Pump Court Environmental Law Team.

17th November 2017

Environmental Law Practice Guide 2018: UK Chapter written by Six Pump Court

The Chambers & Partners Environmental Law Global Practice Guide 2018 is now available online. The UK chapter has been written by Six Pump Court barristers

9th October 2017

Regulatory and Planning Law Conference 2017 (Leeds)

Six Pump Court presents a Regulatory and Planning Law Conference to be held on 20th November in Leeds.

11th July 2017

The use of cost benefit analysis in environmental regulation

In a recent article for the Journal of Water Law, Charles Morgan addresses the challenges of cost-benefit analysis in the context of environmental regulation and private nuisance claims.

16th May 2017

Flood Defence and Pollution Control: Statutory Powers and Compensation

Six Pump Court presents the second in our series of environmental and public law seminars to be held this year: Flood Defence and Pollution...

1st November 2016

Six Pump Court welcomes new Environmental Law specialist Charles Morgan

Chambers is pleased to welcome Charles Morgan to the Planning & Environmental Law team at Six Pump Court. Charles’ principal areas of practice are...

Events

13th July 2022

Environmental and Health & Safety Regulatory Issues in Arbitration Webinar

The webinar - entitled - Environmental and Health & Safety Regulatory Issues in Arbitration Webinar will take place on Wednesday 13th July 4-6pm

14th June 2021

UKELA Conference 14 -18 June

We are delighted to be one of the sponsors once again at this year's event. Members of Six Pump Court will be taking part and presenting some of the sessions.

17th June 2020

Webinar: Piercing the Corporate Veil: the Principle of ‘Separate Legal Personality’

Six Pump Court Chambers is delighted to be able to host a re-run of our very popular ‘Piercing the Corporate Veil’ seminar as part of our series of 2020 webinars.

20th March 2019

Piercing the Corporate Veil: The Principle of ‘Separate Legal Personality’

Six Pump Court presents the third in our series of Environmental Law Seminars to be held this year.

28th February 2019

Company Directors and Environmental Responsibilities

Six Pump Court presents the second in our series of Environmental Law Seminars to be held this year.

13th November 2018

Litigation and Dispute Resolution Annual Conference 2018

Kent Law Society together with Six Pump Court are hosting the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Annual Conference 2018 which will take place on Tuesday 13th November in Rochester.

Blog

7th September 2022

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Brendon Moorhouse and Natasha Hausdorff consider DEFRA's plan for storm overflows, water discharge permits in the Hinkley C Appeal, and how companies can improve their ESG data for effective decision-making.

23rd August 2022

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Gordon Wignall and Christopher Badger consider toxic algae in Lake Windermere, challenging an environmental regulatory notice by way of a judicial review rather than statutory appeal and, two recent Environment Agency enforcement cases.

4th August 2022

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Gordon Wignall and Nicholas Ostrowski consider the measures being undertaken by the government and water companies to mitigate the effects of drought in the UK, a report into global trends in climate change litigation, and a successful challenge to the government’s net zero strategy.

16th February 2022

Environmental Law News Update: Feb 16, 2022

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, William Upton QC, Charles Morgan and Christopher Badger consider the UK's national reporting requirements for disclosure of climate change risks, a European study of the impact of Brexit on fisheries and aquaculture and an interesting decision on water rights in Mauritius.

9th November 2021

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Gordon Wignall and Brendon Moorhouse consider sewage discharges from overflows, the role of the Human Rights Act in the Silverdale Quarry case, and the need for climate policy to be built into the planning process.

16th July 2021

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, William Upton QC and Charles Morgan consider consider a case concerning the consensual disposal of judicial review proceedings, developments near COMAH sites, the Southern Water saga and announce a new book on flood claims.

15th June 2021

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, William Upton QC, Charles Morgan and Natasha Hausdorff consider lawful development certificates, the Environment Agency's National Waste Crime Agency and the dangers of sewage sludge.

25th January 2021

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Nicholas Ostrowski and Mark Davies consider disputes over riparian rights and related land drainage issues, more public interest litigation from environmental groups and charities and the news that the US will re-join the Paris Agreement.

11th January 2021

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Christopher Badger and Nicholas Ostrowski consider some environmental predictions for 2021, whether an Environmental Impact Assessment should consider ‘indirect’ emissions and a further case dealing with the complexities of assessing bathing water quality.

2nd November 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Gordon Wignall and Christopher Badger consider the NCC’s Final Response to the 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report, the legal arrangements between water companies and local authorities for payment for the supply of mains water to tenants, and funding shortages – the effect on the Environment Agency, inspection, enforcement, end-of-waste and the new Office for Environmental Protection.

23rd October 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Christopher Badger and William McBarnet consider amendments to the Environment Bill, sludge disposal regulation and government commitments to a more comprehensive Net Zero Strategy.

14th October 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Christopher Badger and Mark Davies consider the new Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill 2019-21, proposed regulations on ecodesign requirements for household appliances and refrigeration and the launch of the Green Homes Grant scheme.

17th July 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan and Mark Davies consider ongoing worries over water supply, delays to the planned incorporation of sewage sludge use within permitting regulations and plans to ‘build back greener’ after the lockdown.

8th July 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Gordon Wignall and Natasha Hausdorff consider the extent of overflows from the sewerage system, the assessment of waste within the Transfrontier Shipment Regulations and new legislation making e-scooters legal.

24th June 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Christopher Badger and Mark Davies consider the effectiveness of the Bathing Water Directive, the UK Citizens Climate Assembly's efforts to explore how the UK can achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and further caselaw on Aarhus costs capping orders in judicial review.

16th June 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Christopher Badger and Mark Davies consider mustard gas dumped in a Nottinghamshire lake, a challenge to the Department for Transport’s ‘Road Investment Strategy 2’ and COVID-19 waste in the seas and on the beaches.

9th June 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Gordon Wignall and William McBarnet consider whether a green industrial revolution is on the horizon, another case dealing with the treatment of waste material on shipment and a useful report on the economic regulation of the water industry in England and Wales.

2nd June 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Nicholas Ostrowski and William McBarnet consider development consent orders for nationally significant infrastructure projects, further clarification of the circumstances in which an Environmental Impact Assessment (‘EIA’) will be required and the practical ability of the water industry to react to supply shortages.

1st May 2020

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Christopher Badger, and Natasha Hausdorff consider the refusal of the High Court for a judicial review of the HS2 decision, the Supreme Court's judgment on the proper ambit for “ESG” considerations in relation to public pension schemes, and the powers of the Environment Agency regarding 'fish passes'.

18th December 2019

Environmental Law News Update

In this latest Environmental Law News Update, Charles Morgan, Christopher Badger and Gordon Wignall assess our blog predictions made back in January, the progress of the European Green Deal and this year's selection of Christmas songs for environmental lawyers.

Contact my clerks

Ryan Barrow

Ryan Barrow

First Junior Clerk