David Hercock
Call: 2001
Direct access

David specialises in all forms of regulatory and administrative law. He is ranked in the legal directories as a leading individual. David is recommended in the 2021 edition of Who’s Who Legal Global Guide as a global leader for environmental law and is highlighted in the 2021 edition of the UK Guide as one of only sixteen juniors recognised for their expertise in representing public and private sector clients in planning, environmental and administrative matters. The legal directories have described him as an “impressive courtroom performer” who is “exceptionally bright” and “authoritative yet approachable”. He has “garnered praise for his excellent knowledge of regulatory law” and “sources applaud his clear considered advice as well as his extraordinary attention to detail”.

David has experience across a broad range of disciplines with particular expertise in environmental & planning, energy & natural resources, food law, health & safety, consumer & products (including product recalls), licensing law, health & social care and administrative law generally (including judicial reviews, and advice to public and private sector clients on legal powers, duties and functions).

He has substantial experience of regulatory prosecutions, judicial reviews and High Court appeals, statutory appeals, inquests, inquiries, tribunal procedures and claims before the civil courts. He has acted in all levels of courts up to and including the Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

David was a contributing author to Judicial Review Law and Practice (1st Edition) published by Jordans.

Leading Individual
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Environmental & planning

  • Successfully represented a waste operator challenging the legality of a notice served on it pursuant to the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 requiring it to take back RDF material alleged to have been illegally exported to Poland.
  • Acted on behalf of a local authority in statutory nuisance proceedings relating to noise emanating from a motor racing circuit in North Yorkshire.
  • Successfully acted on behalf of a waste facility specialising in the recycling of plastics in an appeal against a notice revoking its environmental permit on alleged grounds of operator competence, nuisance from flies and environmental risks from fire.
  • Advising a local authority in relation to the clean-up of land polluted by the presence of radioactive substances.
  • Defending in significant environmental prosecutions, for example:
    • Acted on behalf of a waste operator in relation to the alleged unlawful storage of RDF material at a waste recovery site.
    • Defended a manufacturer and distributor of carpets in a prosecution relating to an incident in which operations at the site had led to the discharge of pollution into an adjacent river.
    • Defended an operator of a food business following an alleged contamination incident of the public water supply.
    • Represented a waste recovery business in a case concerning the alleged unauthorised discharge of leachate at a facility within a SSSI.
    • Defended the alleged commercial manager of a recycling business in a case relating to the unauthorised disposal and burning of waste.
    • Acted on behalf of a company in proceedings relating to the legality of its operations in irrigating waste liquids to a 160-acre site adjacent to controlled watercourses.
    • Advised an oil company following an oil spillage from a tanker in a UK port.
    • Acted on behalf of a construction company defending allegations that its operations on site had polluted a nearby watercourse.
  • Acted on behalf of a waste recovery facility appealing against a suspension notice which had the effect of ceasing operations at site based on alleged risks from fire.
  • Advised a multinational energy company as to its liability under environmental legislation for national scale remediation of contaminated land.
  • Advised the Environment Agency in responding to a proposed claim for judicial review and application for interim injunctive relief following the service of a statutory notice suspending operations at a waste facility
  • Successfully represented a local authority in defending an appeal against an abatement notice relating to emissions from industrial premises which manufactured latex products.
  • Acted on behalf of developers and landowners in challenging restocking notices served by the Forestry Commission following alleged unlawful felling of trees.

Energy & natural resources

  • Acted in proceedings concerning an application for urgent injunctive relief in relation to the commencement of operations at a fuel terminal.
  • Appeared on behalf of a multinational energy provider in judicial review proceedings relating to the statutory powers of entry conferred under the Gas Act 1986.
  • Advised a multinational energy provider in relation to its statutory powers under the Electricity Act 1989.
  • Advised a multinational energy provider in relation to the scope and extent of statutory transfers of liabilities under the Gas Act 1948 and the Gas Act 1986.
  • Acted on behalf of a food manufacturing facility defending proceedings concerning alleged defects in an industrial water system and the alleged contamination of a public water supply.
  • Acted in proceedings before the Planning Inspectorate seeking permission for the operation of a waste recovery facility designed to convert waste materials into fuel.
  • Acted in judicial review proceedings in a challenge relating to the legality of a decision to consent to the commencement of operations at a fuel terminal.

Food

  • Successfully represented a slaughterhouse operator challenging a prosecution under legislation relating to the killing of animals for the production of food on the basis that the proceedings had been commenced outside the statutory time limit.
  • Prosecuting and defending in significant food hygiene prosecutions, for example:
    • Representing a slaughterhouse operator challenging the lawfulness of a prosecution concerning warm meat transport authorisations.
    • Defended a food wholesaler and its managing director in a prosecution concerning multiple alleged breaches of food safety provisions.
    • Represented a national manufacturer of bakery products following the identification of mice activity at one of its bakery production premises.
    • Prosecuted a company and its director involved in the manufacture of kebabs and meat products using a concrete mixer modified for food production at an unapproved facility.
    • Defended a national food retailer of handmade products such as sandwiches, salads etc in proceeding alleging breaches in respect of pest control and cleaning.
    • Represented a poultry slaughterhouse in proceedings concerning the alleged contamination of poultry meat during production.
    • Advising a national restaurant chain in relation to a prosecution following mice activity being identified at one of its restaurants.
    • Defended a bakery business following the identification of an infestation of beetles at its bakery premises.
  • Defended a national UK confectioner in criminal proceedings in respect of allegations relating to misleading marketing and labelling of food products.
  • Representing a national manufacturer of bakery products challenging the service of an emergency prohibition notice precluding the company from operating.
  • Acted on behalf of a red meat slaughterhouse appealing against statutory notices served on it alleging deficiencies with its food safety management procedures.
  • Advised a food business operator in proposed judicial review proceedings against the Food Standards Agency challenging the lawfulness of the Agency’s auditing process.
  • Successfully represented a slaughterhouse in judicial review proceedings challenging the legality of a decision to withdraw the provision of official controls from its establishment.

Health & safety

  • Advising and representing a corporate core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
  • Prosecuting and defending in significant health and safety prosecutions, for example:
    • Prosecuted a care home provider following the death of a 91 year-old resident from hypothermia. The defendant company was fined £1.6 million.
    • Defended a manufacturing facility following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease arising from the release of bacteria from its cooling towers.
    • Represented an international hotel chain following the death of a guest from hypothermia after becoming trapped in part of the hotel’s accommodation.
    • Defended a hotel following a fatality when a guest at the hotel fell from a first-floor window.
    • Represented a COMAH regulated facility following a fire at one its chemical manufacturing facilities.
    • Defended a national UK healthcare provider in proceedings involving unsafe medical devices and practices alleged to have led to the death of a patient.
    • Defended specialist rock drilling and quarry blasting business following an explosion at a quarry in which rock was blasted beyond a designated safety zone.
    • Defended a multinational manufacturing company alleged to have manufactured unsafe technology which caused an accident resulting in the amputation of fingers.
    • Acted on behalf of an engineering business following the collapse of tower crane at a housing development site in Belfast.
  • Acted on behalf of a supplier of medical devices involved in an Inquest following the death of a child in the care of a hospital.
  • Successfully acted on behalf of a statutory body defending alleged health and safety offences relating to the control of legionella bacteria. The case involved complex legal issues concerning the scope and extent of statutory transfers of liabilities to a successor organisation.
  • Advised a multinational chemical manufacturing company regulated under COMAH in relation to the potential criminal liabilities of parent companies for the acts of subsidiaries and the potential liabilities of individual directors within the corporate group.

Consumer & products

  • Advised a multinational manufacturer of computer technology in respect of the use of such technology in medical facilities and hospitals and the scope and application of the Medical Devices Directive
  • Prosecuting and defending in significant product compliance prosecutions, for example:
    • Prosecuted a UK national retailer in respect of the supply of dangerous children’s products.
    • Defended on behalf of an international wholesaler of consumer goods in respect of products imported from the Far East which were alleged to have contravened gas and electrical safety regulations.
    • Acted for a wholesaler of motorcycles in a trading standards prosecution following the importation of motorcycles from the Far East which had been falsely branded and were allegedly unsafe.
  • Advised a company in relation to the seizure of imported self-balancing boards and challenges to withdrawal notices.
  • Acted on behalf of business that designs and installs fitted kitchens defending proceedings under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 in relation to alleged breaches of consumer protection legislation.
  • Advised a construction company as to compliance with the Gambling Act 2005 in respect of a national prize draw competition in which entrants to the competition could win a house built by the company.

Licensing

  • Successfully represented a local authority in respect of judicial review proceedings considering the interrelationship between the Licensing Act 2003 and other overlapping areas of regulatory control (R (on the application of Kelly) v Liverpool City Council [2009] LLR 761 and [2009] EWCA Civ 191, [2009] LLR 541).
  • Represented a licensing authority in judicial review proceedings in respect of an EU law challenge (concerning the free movement of goods) to licensing restrictions which had the effect of precluding vehicles manufactured in France from being used as taxis in part of the UK (R (on the application of Lunt) v Liverpool City Council [2009] EWHC 2356 (Admin)).
  • Advised a local authority in respect of a challenge to the lawfulness of a fixed penalty notice scheme which the authority had introduced to enforce breaches of taxi legislation.
  • Represented a local authority in judicial review proceedings in respect of a challenge to a permit system introduced to control and regulate street entertainment in a city centre.
  • Advised a city council in relation to the licensing of the open-air spaces of a city centre.
  • Acted in significant cases under the Licensing Act 2003, for example:
    • Successfully appeared on behalf of a nightclub operator in obtaining a premises licence for a nightclub in cumulative impact zone. The application was strongly opposed by the Police.
    • Acted in proceedings relating to the licensing of an open-air Music Festival in North Yorkshire (anticipated audience of 30,000 people). The application was opposed by local residents and the Police.
    • Successfully represented a sporting venue and stadium in licensing proceedings defending allegations of noise nuisance emanating from the stadium and allegedly impacting on the surrounding locality.
    • Represented a city council in appeal proceedings successfully resisting a challenge to the grant of a premises licence for large scale open air events at a public park in the city.
  • Appeared in a public inquiry before the Office of the Traffic Commissioner on behalf of a waste management company facing revocation of its operators’ licence following environmental offences.

Care standards

  • Acted for a UK healthcare provider of mental health hospitals in criminal proceedings brought by the Care Quality Commission alleging 63 charges relating to alleged risks posed to patients.
  • Advised a national care provider in respect of injunctive relief in relation to action by the Care Quality Commission and the application of policies relating to the issuing and publication of warning notices.
  • Advised a national care provider in relation to a judicial review challenge to an inspection report.
  • Represented a NHS Trust in judicial review proceedings which challenged a policy decision in respect of the allocation of resources and funding for gender re-assignment treatment.
  • Acted on behalf of a care provider in proceedings before the First Tier Tribunal challenging the decision of the Care Quality Commission to cancel the service provider’s registration.
  • Advising a care provider on a challenge by way of the “independent review” procedure to ratings awarded following a statutory inspection carried out by the Care Quality Commission.

Recommendations

"An absolutely brilliant advocate for his clients." "Incredibly helpful and pragmatic in his approach."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2022]

"He is an excellent environmental and regulatory specialist. He's focused and very bright." "He's incredibly helpful and pragmatic in his approach."

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2022]

"Extremely hardworking, diligent and reliable, he has a keen eye for spotting even the most technical of arguments."

― Legal 500 [2022]

“David Hercock is a distinguished junior with a remarkable understanding of environmental regulation.”

― Who's Who Legal [2021]

"Has a great depth of knowledge, and is very highly respected in the sector." "He is extremely approachable no matter how little or large the issue." "He works really hard on cases and is technically superb." (Consumer - Leading Junior)

"David is down to earth and technically excellent, and he gets every point across in a simple but powerful manner. He can deal with everything holistically." (Environment - Leading Junior)

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2021]

"Very good barrister and excellent service. Attention to detail is second to none. Extremely thorough. Very safe pair of hands." (Consumer - Leading Junior)

"He is very likeable and explains complicated issues in simple terms, so clients have confidence in his abilities." (Environment - Leading Junior)

"Very bright, very composed and always reasons in a way that inspires confidence." (Health & Safety - Leading Junior)

― Legal 500 [2021]

"David Hercock is “very thorough and well informed” in his approach to environmental planning matters.”

― Who's Who Legal [2020]

"He is very clear with his advice, very knowledgeable and has great skills on the regulatory side." "One of the most diligent practitioners I have ever come across and very strategic in his approach to a case." (Environment - Leading Junior)

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2020]

"A real star of the future. Bright and enthusiastic, strong in waste and environmental permitting matters. The definitive team player and will spot things which are often missed by others." (Environment - Leading Junior)

"His attention to detail and willingness to prepare, even in the face of near impossible deadlines is massively impressive and, not to say, comforting at the same time." (Health & Safety - Leading Junior)

― Legal 500 [2020]

""David Hercock is a favourite among clients, who praise his "thorough and diligent preparation” and his “approachable manner””.

― Who’s Who Legal [2019]

"Very focused and bright." "He is very capable on his feet and has attention to detail." (Environment – Leading Junior)

― Chambers UK Bar Guide [2019]

"Thorough and clever, he applies himself to solving the issues with vigour and enthusiasm." (Environment – Leading Junior)

― Legal 500 [2019]

"He thoroughly handles complex legal interpretations." (Health & Safety - Leading Junior)

― Legal 500 [2019]

"He is exceptionally bright and leaves no stone unturned." (Environment - Leading Junior)

"A diligent, skilful and bright advocate, who leaves no stone unturned." (Health & Safety - Leading Junior)

― Legal 500 [2017]
Leading Individual
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Appointments

Appointed to the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health & Safety and Environmental Law (List A).

Notable Cases

  • Advising and representing a corporate core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
  • Appeared in the Supreme Court, and currently acting in the proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union, on behalf of a trade association in a judicial review claim concerning whether slaughterhouse operators have a right to challenge the decisions of the Food Standards Agency to declare meat of carcases as unfit for human consumption (Association of Independent Meat Suppliers & Cleveland Meat Company Limited v Food Standard Agency [2019] UKSC 36, [2017] EWCA Civ 431 and [2015] EWHC 1896 (Admin)).
  • Acted in proceedings before the Supreme Court and Divisional Court in a case involving important issues relating to the scope of the legal duties on business operators under an EU Regulation which lays down rules for the killing of animals for the production of food and the legal criteria for the enforcement of those duties in the national legal order (R v Highbury Poultry Farm Produce Limited [2020] UKSC 39 and [2018] EWHC 3122 (Admin)).
  • Successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal in relation to an appeal against a fine for health and safety offences which established a number of important principles when sentencing for regulatory offences including the importance of expert evidence when determining risk of harm under the Sentencing Guideline for health & safety offences and food safety & hygiene offences (Faltec Europe Limited v Health and Safety Executive [2019] EWCA Crim 227).
  • Successfully represented a waste operator in the Court of Appeal in a case relating to the meaning of “recovery” in the phrase “prior to recovery” in an environmental permit (Neal Soil Suppliers Limited & Others v Natural Resources Wales [2017] EWCA Crim 645).
  • Successfully represented a slaughterhouse operator in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning whether the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2010 created an obligation on operators to assist inspectors in taking samples for the purpose of a programme for TSE monitoring (R v M Najib & Sons Limited [2018] EWCA 909 Crim).
  • Acted on behalf of a food business operator in a case concerning whether the Food Standards Agency had the power to refuse to provide official controls at an operator’s premises on the basis of unpaid official control charges levied against a previous operator of the premises (R (on the application of Agro Foods (Ashford) Limited v Food Standards Agency [2019] EWHC 2718 (Admin)).
  • Successfully acted on behalf of a local planning authority in judicial review proceedings which challenged its decision to grant full planning permission to a waste operator for the construction of a facility for the recycling of incinerator bottom ash (R (on the application of Surringer) v Vale of Glamorgan Council & Others [2016] EWHC 494 (Admin)).
  • Successfully represented partners in an unincorporated partnership which ran a slaughterhouse in a case before the Divisional Court concerning whether offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 required proof of culpability on the part of an individual partner (Riley & Others v Crown Prosecution Service [2017] 1 WLR 505).
  • Successfully acted on behalf of a waste operator in establishing that judicial review was the appropriate forum to challenge a take back notice under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 on the basis that the statutory right of appeal in the 2007 Regulations did not apply to such notices (Atlantic Recycling Limited v Natural Resources Wales [2018] (unreported) 14 June 2018 CO/1329/2018).
  • Acted in judicial review proceedings for a real estate business in a case concerning whether landowners neighbouring a major hazardous facility have a right to participate in a statutory process under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations which examines the operational safety of that facility (R (on the application of Peel Investments (North) Limited) v HSE [2013] EWHC 1012 (Admin)).

Latest news

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.

30th November 2021

Six Pump Court barristers listed in Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2021

Stephen Hockman QC, David Hercock and Christopher Badger are been included in the WWL UK Bar 2021 list of leading barristers in Environmental Law.

29th July 2019

Supreme Court refers important food safety case to the Court of Justice of the European Union

On 24 July 2019 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in R (on the application of Association of Independent Meat Suppliers and Another) v Food Standards Agency [2019] UKSC 36.

31st May 2019

Supreme Court grants permission in R v Highbury Poultry Farm Produce Limited

Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock, instructed by Hannah Leese of Roythornes Solicitors, act on behalf of Highbury Poultry Farm Produce Limited.

28th March 2019

Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock succeed in the Court of Appeal in reducing a fine for health and safety offences by £420,000

Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock successfully represented the Appellant in an appeal against sentence in Faltec Europe Limited v Health and Safety Executive.

7th March 2019

Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock appear in the Supreme Court in important food safety case

On 5 March 2019 Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock appeared in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers.

19th November 2018

Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock appear in the Divisional Court

On 16 November the Divisional Court handed down judgment in Highbury Poultry Farm Produce Limited v CPS [2018] EWHC 3122 (Admin).

2nd November 2018

Six Pump Court ranked Band 1 Set and barristers ranked in twelve practice areas in 2019 Chambers UK Bar Guide

Six Pump Court Chambers is delighted to be ranked as a Band 1 Set with Set rankings in Crime, Consumer Law Environment, Health & Safety and Planning in the new 2019 Chambers UK Bar Guide.

26th October 2018

Six Pump Court wins Health & Safety Set of the Year at Chambers UK Bar Awards

Last night at the Chambers UK Bar Awards, Six Pump Court was delighted to be named as the Health & Safety Set of the Year.

2nd July 2018

Court of Appeal ruling on the meaning of the term “recovery”

Neal Soil Suppliers Limited & Others v Natural Resources Wales [2017] EWCA Crim 645 involved an appeal arising from a Crown Court ruling in the course of a preparatory hearing in relation to the meaning of the term “recovery”.

27th April 2018

Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock successful in the Court of Appeal

Stephen Hockman QC and David Hercock represented the appellant company and successfully overturned a conviction for an alleged offence under the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2010.

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.

26th May 2017

Court of Appeal hears food safety appeal

Stephen Hockman QC, and David Hercock appeared in the Court of Appeal last week in judicial review proceedings on behalf of a trade association and slaughterhouse operator.

10th May 2017

CTSI Conference 2017 – Sentencing in Food Cases

Members of the Six Pump Court Chambers Food Law Team will host a session at the CTSI Conference taking place this week in Harrogate.

7th June 2016

Environmental Permitting Masterclass – Seminar

Six Pump Court presents the first in our short series of ‘Masterclass’ Environmental Law Seminars to be held this summer: Environmental Permitting Masterclass: ‘Hot’...

15th March 2016

Six Pump Court hosts Health & Safety Prosecutions seminar for LBLA practitioners

On Monday, Six Pump Court Chambers hosted a seminar for London Boroughs Legal Alliance (LBLA) practitioners on ‘Health and Safety Prosecutions’. At this event,...

29th September 2014

Six Pump Court Chambers present Health & Safety Seminar

Six Pump Court Chambers, recently awarded the Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession's  “Health and Safety Chambers of the Year 2013” joined with...

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Michael Hearn

Michael Hearn

Second Junior Clerk