Professor Richard Macrory CBE

Year of Call: 1974

Clerk: Kate Trott

Professor Richard Macrory CBE

Year of Call: 1974

Clerk: Kate Trott



Richard Macrory is one of the most distinguished and experienced environmental lawyers in the country, who has pioneered the development of the field of law. He was the UK's first professor of environmental law, and currently is director of the Centre for Law and the Environment at the Faculty of Laws, University College London.  In 2006 he was appointed by the Cabinet Office for lead a Review on Regulatory Sanctions covering nearly all areas of business regulation.  All the recommendations in his Review were accepted by Government.  Important new powers for regulators resulting from his Review are now contained in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.

practice areas


Richard Macrory's legal practice is focussed largely on national and European Community environmental law. His direct high level experience of the policy and regulatory world gives his advice work, both written and in conference, particular weight, and he has been involved in a number of key reported environmental cases.

  •  R v S of S ex parte Friends of the Earth (1995) 7 Ad. LR 3617 (EC drinking water; advice and pleadings only)
  • R v Environment Agency ex parte Dockgrange (1997) Env. LR 415 (EC waste; junior)
  • R v S of State for Trade and Industry ex p Greenpeace (1998) Env. L.R. 415 (Habitats directive, territorial application; advice and pleadings only)
  • British Waterways Board v Severn Trent [2001] Ch. 32 (High Court) (2001) Env. LR (Court of Appeal) (water law, junior to Michael Beloff QC)
  • Transco v Environment Agency [2007] UKHL 30  (House of Lords 2007),  (liability for contaminated land, junior to Richard Gordon  QC)


Selected Recent Publications

National Courts and EU Environmental Law Europa Law Publishing, 2013  (ed with J Jans and A Moreno Molina)

‘Environmental Enforcement and Sanctions’  International Comparative Guide to Environment Law 2013  Global Legal Group, London

‘The Role of the First Tier Environment Tribunal  [2012] Judicial Review  54-60

‘The UK Climate Change Act – Towards a Brave New legal World?’  In  Backer, Fauchald, and Voight   Pro Natura  University of Oslo 2012

The Environment as an Instrument of Constitutional Change in Jowell and Oliver (ed) The Changing Constitution, Oxford University Press , 2011

Consistency and Effectiveness – Strengthening the New Environmental Tribunal  UCL Centre for Law and the Environment , 2011

Legal Aspects of Carbon Capture and Storage  (ed with Stewart R and Havercroft I) Hart Publishing, Oxford

‘Reforming Regulatory Sanctions’ in Oliver, Rawlings and Prosser (eds) The Regulatory State (Oxford University Press) ISBN13: 9780199593170

Regulation, Enforcement and Governance of Environmental Law   Hart Publishing, Oxford , 2010


MA (Oxon)

Called to the Bar, Grays Inn 1974

Hon. Q.C. (2008)

Bencher Grays Inn 2010

Current position

Professor of Environmental Law, University College, London

Legal Correspondent  ENDS Report

Former academic appointments

Professor of Environmental Law, Imperial College, London (1991-1994 and 1995-1999)

Professor of Environmental Law and Director of Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford, UK (1994-1995)

Former external appointments

Led Cabinet Office Review on Regulatory Sanctions  (2005-6)             

Board  Member, Environment Agency, England and Wales (1999-2004)

Member, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1991-2003)

Specialist Advisor in Environmental Law, House of Commons Select, Committee on the Environment, Transport, and Regions (1997-2001)

Specialist Advisor, House of Lords Select Committee on the European  Communities (1991-1992)

First Chairman, UK Environmental Law Association (1989)

Editor in Chief, Journal of Environmental Law (1988-2007)


  • CBE  for services to environment and the law
  • Hon Fellow, Chartered Institute of Wastes Management
  • Patron, UK Environmental Law Association
  • Vice-President  Environmental Protection, UK

Directory Quotes

  • Richard Macrory CBE is a distinguished environmental lawyer who boasts “an excellent reputation in the field”. He stands out in our research as the foremost junior in the field at the Bar. (Who's Who Legal - UK Bar: Environment 2018)
  • "Has a huge reputation. He's fantastically knowledgeable and his views on environmental law are always good to hear." "He is a huge name in environmental law, who is very experienced." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
  • "A first port of call on tricky public law issues." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
  • “Richard Macrory CBE at Brick Court Chambers was the UK’s first professor of environmental law, and he impresses peers with his “encyclopaedic knowledge” of the field. As one respondent put it: “He truly is an all-time great.” (Who's Who Legal UK Bar 2015)
  • Chambers & Partners 2013  “…praised for being very strong academically and for having a superior knowledge of environmental law and regulations.”
  • Chambers & Partners 2012 "As a pre-eminent and pioneering academic in environmental law, Richard Macrory remains a leading authority on the subject in both a domestic and international context. One source says: If there's anybody who knows their stuff, it's him." "
  • Chambers & Partners 2009 " "helped mould environment law as a discipline," according to sources. Although very much active in practice, his strong academic background and "detailed, knowledgeable" approach make him a go-to figure for advice on technical points of law."
  • Chambers & Partners 2008  "enjoys tangible critical acclaim"; "With experience that covers environmental law on a domestic and international level, Macrory 'does everything to a high standard and is able to utilise his strong academic knowledge of the subject.'";
  • Chambers & Partners 2003 "When it comes to opinions ‘you would not expect to go to anyone better than' Richard Macrory claim solicitors";
  • Chambers & Partners 2001 "There are few people with such broad familiarity with the people and issues relating to the environment"
  • Legal 500 2006 "Commended for his authoritative opinions."

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