Eminent Queen’s Counsel Stuart Gale, whose particular specialism lies in town and country planning law and land use, has joined leading Isle of Man-based law and professional services group Cains as a consultant.
His appointment, which took effect from 1 June, is seen as a major coup for Cains as it brings back to the Isle of Man a highly experienced and respected Senior Counsel. Stuart, who was born in Ramsey, left the Isle of Man in 1972 when he went to university and for the past 35 years has practised in Scotland although he made regular visits back.
Stuart became a QC in 1993 and has been a Senior for more than 20 years. He has acted in a number of judicial review applications, principally in relation to planning and related land issues, but also in the allocation of public resources, particularly medical and drug treatment.
He has a particular interest in land form and geology and has acted for UK parliamentary promoters of major transportation infrastructure projects, such as the Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill, the Port of Cairnryan Harbour Empowerment Order and more recently for the objectors to the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.
An expert on the legal and technical implications of offshore incidents, in particular in relation to gas escapes and explosions, Stuart has also acted in inquiries and prosecutions for several of the major oil companies operating in the North Sea. This includes the Ocean Odyssey blow out in 1988 and the Brent Bravo incident in 2005.
Stuart’s arrival at Cains comes at a time when planning dominates Government announcements, which include former Minister Chris Robertshaw MHK becoming the new chairman of the Isle of Man’s planning committee. Only a week earlier it was revealed that the Department of Economic Development will be leading a new team focussed on getting Government working together better to deliver development of some of the major sites across the Isle of Man. The move comes less than a month after Chief Minister Allan Bell said that planning was out of balance with the needs of the economy.
“There has always been conflict between planning and economic growth, something one has to deal with, certainly that is the case in Scotland,” said Stuart, whose publications include ‘The Human Factor in Planning Law’ 2004 SLT 153.
He added: “In Scotland and the rest of the UK there is always the difficulty of marrying up development pressures and the conservation aspect, coupled with European legislation which is a difficult and ongoing subject and I am sure the same issues arise in the Isle of Man.”
“While I specialise in planning law, I have also dealt with an array of legal work from criminal prosecutions in the 1990s and more recently have been involved in high profile sexual abuse cases. I also have experience in personal injury claims and arbitration.”
Stuart, who has been chairman of the Police Appeals Tribunal Scotland since 2003, added:
“Over the years I have maintained a close interest in Isle of Man affairs and it is my impression that the Isle of Man now presents as a highly pro-active and well regulated international financial centre. I am therefore delighted to be joining Cains – a firm that is so clearly associated with the provision of high quality legal services.”
Peter Clucas, Cains Director, is delighted that Stuart has agreed to work with Cains, stating that “Stuart’s knowledge and experience across a variety of legal subject matters is impressive and he is a welcome addition to Cains’ existing strength and depth within our litigation team. His expertise in matters involving public and administrative law and in arbitral proceedings in particular will enhance Cains’ existing offerings in these areas, whilst his knowledge in planning law and procedure allows Cains to offer specialist advice from Leading Counsel in this area to our existing and new clients alike.”
Andrew Corlett OBE, Cains Managing Director, added “I have known Stuart as a friend for over thirty years and it is great to have him return home and join Cains.”