Niall Handy BL

  • Junior Counsel: 2006

B.Sc, B.L., Dip. Arb.

Areas of Practice:
  • Administrative Law
  • Arbitration
  • Commercial/Chancery
  • Judicial Review
  • Data Protection Law
  • Environmental Law
  • European Law
  • Planning & Local Government Law
Niall Handy BL

Other Memberships:
Arbitration Ireland
Construction Bar Association
Irish Environmental Law Association
Irish Society of European Law
Planning, Environmental & Local Government Bar Association
Direct Professional Access:

Barrister regularly practising in following areas:

– Judicial Review / Local Government / Professional regulation
– European Union / Constitutional law
– Planning, environmental and energy law (onshore, foreshore, offshore)
– AIE & FoI law / Data Protection / technology
– Commercial matters, financial services and insurance defence litigation
– Construction disputes / Arbitration: private, CPO
– Active on State panels in commercial & constitutional, judicial review and European law matters

Active in commercial and judicial review matters. Significant experience with strategic infrastructure, housing, foreshore licensing, EIA and Habitats Directives and industrial emissions, Aarhus convention; Data protection, financial product ligitation, and software / technology arbitration.

Commercial Law Association of Ireland
Council member of the Irish Environmental Law Association
Planning, Environmental & Local Government Bar Association
Irish Centre for European Law
European Circuit
Professional, Regulatory and Disciplinary Bar Association
Arbitration Ireland
Construction Bar Association
British and Irish Commercial Bar Association (BICBA)

Ongoing work includes:

  • Currently acting for the State Respondents in several judicial review actions in which SHD permissions are challenged and where also the underlying legislation is challenged
  • Advising on compliance with requirements of Large Scale Residential Development Act 2021 and associated regulations (including transitional arrangements / amendments between SHD and LSRD permissions on same development sites)
  • Currently acting for several developers across multiple proceedings where grants of permission are under challenge
  • Advising on EIAR / AA compliance at pre-planning stage
  • Advising on cross-jurisdictional data protection issues for employers / commercial entities
  • Advising construction firms on civil and criminal liability for workplace fatalities
  • Acting on behalf of insurers in product liability claims

Recently completed work includes the following judgments / settlements:

Flannery & Ors. v An Bord Pleanála [2022] IEHC 83

Acted for neighbouring landowner in successful challenge to quash permission for large apartment scheme on GAA lands zoned for sporting use at Dolphin’s Park, Crumlin Road (led by Michael Cush SC)


Walsh v An Bord Pleanála [2022] IEHC 172

Acted for neighbouring landowner in successful challenge to SHD permission for additional stories atop permitted apartment development overlooking my client’s home (led by Neil Steen SC)

Trimbleston Owners Management Company CLG v An Bord Pleanála 2021/258 JR

Acted (as sole counsel) for apartment management company in successful challenge to permission for neighbouring student housing scheme on Goatstown Road, Dublin 14. Board conceded the case without full hearing.


Madden v An Bord Pleanála [2022] IEHC 257

Acted for developer in challenge to set aside refusal of permission. Case engaged O’Keeffe deference and tested Board’s jurisdiction to refuse permission for lack of bird survey in appropriate assessment; and unclear reasoning on consideration of AA mitigation measures.


Hibernian Networks v An Bord Pleanála & Cignal Infrastructure 2020/843 JR

Acted for telecoms infrastructure provider in successful challenge to grant of permission to competitor. Board conceded the case on the third day at hearing in High Court.


Bishara v An Bord Pleanála (2021/889 JR)

Acted for neighbouring landowner in challenge to permission for new DIT Campus on Kevin Street, Dublin. Proceedings settled without hearing.


Atlantic Diamond Limited v An Bord Pleanála [2021] IEHC 322

Acted for commercial applicant in securing an order of certiorari, quashing of planning permission for 336 apartments at East Wall (SHD case) (led by Micheál O’Connell SC)


C-619/19 Land Baden-Württemberg (Judgment: ECLI:EU:C:2021:35; Opinion delivered by AG Hogan: ECLI:EU:C:2020:590)

Acted for Ireland as intervener in a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice in matter concerning interpretation of Access to Environmental Information Directive 2003/4/EC and the Aarhus Convention. Instructed by AG’s office on behalf of the Department of An Taoiseach. (led by Patrick McCann SC)


McHugh v Minister for the Environment & Ors. [2020] IECA 128

Acted (as sole counsel) on behalf of State respondents in successful resisting appeals in three consecutive motions seeking inter alia to strike out the State’s defence to proceedings.


Coffey v Minister for Justice [2022] IECA 46; [2018] IEHC 62

Acted for Minister for Justice and State in successful defence of challenge to operation of legal aid scheme (led by Brian Murray SC (as he then was) in High Court; Micheál  P. O’Higgins SC in Court of Appeal).


Heather Hill Management Company v An Bord Pleanala

  • [2019] IEHC 450 Secured order of certiorari, quashing planning permission for 197 units in Galway (drafted and commenced proceedings as sole counsel, led by Neil Steen SC at hearing)
  • [2020] IESCDET 39 Successfully resisted application by An Bord Pleanála for leave to appeal in substantive matter (led by Neil Steen SC).
  • [2019] IEHC 186 Secured a Protective Costs Order (“PCO”) at outset of proceedings in the commercial list, in a significant judgment which has since had very wide-reaching application. This judgment established the PCOs currently controversial in planning and environmental judicial review proceedings (drafted the pleadings and commenced proceedings as sole counsel, subsequently led by Neil Steen SC at hearing and appeals).
  • [2021] IECA 259 PCO overturned by Court of Appeal (led by Neil Steen SC) in circumstances where the appeal is moot but Court of Appeal accepted that matter is of systemic importance, and where the appellant indemnified the residents’ costs in order to provide a legitimus contradictor.
  • An appeal is pending before the Supreme Court.


Kelly v An Bord Pleanála 2021/43 JR

Acted (as sole counsel) for neighbouring landowners challenging grant of permission for large apartment scheme in Clontarf, Dublin. Developer immediately settled the proceedings without hearing – positive outcome for client.


Tarpey v An Bord Pleanála 2020/243 JR

Acted (as sole counsel) for developer in successfully challenging refusal of permission for one-off house in County Galway. Board conceded the case without full hearing.


Halpin v An Bord Pleanala [2019] IEHC 352

Acted (as sole counsel) for successful applicant in securing an order of certiorari quashing a grant of planning permission for biogas plant in County Meath.


Halpin v An Bord Pleanala, Judgment delivered on 15 May 2020 (Simons J)

Acted for appellant in successfully resisting application by An Bord Pleanála for leave to appeal. Submissions and judgment engaged with the scope of O’Keeffe deference in judicial review (led by Neil Steen SC).


Callaghan v An Bord Pleanala [2018] IESC 39; [2016] IECA 398

Acted for renewable energy developer (led by Jarlath Fitzsimons SC) in successfully resisting appeal of dismissal of challenge to planning permission for strategic infrastructure wind farm development


O’Toole v Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Record No. 2020/309 JR

Acted for State Respondents in challenge to grant of a foreshore licence for a transatlantic submarine data cable (led by Ciarán Toland SC).


Waterford City and County Council v Centz & Ors. [2020] IEHC 540 (judgment 27 November, 2020)

Acted for Respondents to planning injunction proceedings. Planning authority had secured “ex parte” orders requiring immediate closure of three large retail stores, all opened without necessary planning permission.

  • Succeeded in having High Court orders set aside within days (led by Martin Hayden SC), allowing them to reopen / commence trading before the full, contested hearing of applications for orders restraining unauthorised development (applicant succeeded:
  • Substantive judgment: [2020] IEHC 634;
  • (in further judgment, one respondent acted as a lay litigant in an unsuccessful attempt to change the content of evidential finding of the court: [2021] IEHC 174))

[Various different matters, 2018 – 2020]

Acted for State Respondents in

  • challenges to grant of permission for strategic housing development, alleging failures in transposition of various European environmental law directives (led by Ciarán Toland SC);
  • advising different Ministerial departments on application of Habitats Directives to various Ministerial development consent procedures;
  • acting for State in ongoing judicial review proceedings where Applicants are challenging quarry development consents and simultaneously challenging legislation giving effect to EIA and Habitats Directives;
  • Advising State respondents on legality of responses to data subject requests made under FoI / AIE legislation.

er FoI / AIE legislation.

  • Chapter 8A, Environmental and Planning Laws

    Mar 1, 2017  Doing Business in Ireland (Lexis Nexis) (Release 28, March 2017)

    Contributed a new chapter 8A to this well established, multi-author publication which provides wide-ranging treatment of the legal background to business in the Republic of Ireland. The chapter considers the key environmental law issues arising in the context of planning law in Ireland. It focuses on the Planning and Development Act 2000 (PDA), as amended, and covers such topics as the principal regulatory authorities in Ireland that come into contact with the planning and development system; the enforcement provisions of the PDA; judicial review of planning decisions; and possible implications of Brexit for planning and environmental law in Ireland.

    General Editor: Christian Campbell, Director, Center for International Legal Studies, Austria.

  • The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive amended: Signposts On The New Path To Development Consent

    Oct 15, 2014  Irish Planning and Environmental Law Journal (2014) I.P.E.L.J. 21(3) at pp.100-108

    The purpose of this article is identify and consider, at an outline level, the scope of potential impacts which may result from recent amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2011/92/EU , as amended by Directive 2014/52/EU . It will consider the date by which the said amendments are required to take effect, and in particular the steps which will trigger compliance with the terms of the amended directive, in the absence of further national legislation. Broad issues for consent authorities and developers alike are identified and flagged for further consideration upon the commencement of any national legislation to implement the changes into domestic law.

  • The legal landscape of the Garth Brooks licensing debacle

    Jul 5, 2014  Irish Independent

    My opinion piece for Irish Independent on the licensing issues surrounding the Garth Brooks concerts, and why nothing more could be done once the licence had issued (please disregard the slightly misleading headline, subsequently added to the finished piece)

    The legal landscape of the Garth Brooks licensing debacle

  • Developments in European Environmental Law

    Mar 26, 2014  Irish Planning and Environmental Law Journal (2014) 21(1) I.P.E.L.J. 37

    This Spring 2014 update considers two significant decisions of the European courts, and outlines notable developments from the EC environment Council of Ministers. One decision of wide effect concerns “environmental harm” injunctions and property rights. In another perhaps surprising decision from the General Court, it held that an unincorporated eNGO had not legal personality to maintain proceedings before the court, notwithstanding the provisions of the Aarhus Convention and Public Participation Directive and where the court refused to consider a relevant, recent Irish Supreme Court decision.

  • Developments in European Environmental Law

    Nov 1, 2013  Irish Planning and Environmental Law Journal (2013) 20(3) I.P.E.L.J

    Matters considered in this update include the adoption by the EC of the 7th Environmental Action Programme, an amended ship recycling regulation, a revised directive on batteries and accumulators, and an amended a proposal to amend the Shipment of Waste Regulation. Judgments from the Court of Justice in C-260/11, Edwards v Environment Agency and Others, and C-258/11, Sweetman and Others v An Bord Pleanála are also considered.

    Developments in European Environmental Law

  • Developments in European Environmental Law

    Jul 18, 2012  Irish Planning and Environmental Law Journal (2012) 19 (2) IPELJ 94

    Ireland has again been referred to the European Court of Justice for alleged failure to properly transpose provisions of the EIA Directive, with significant lump sum and daily fines being sought by the European Commission. Elsewhere, despite pressure from the European Council and Parliament, a reluctant European Commission continues to drag its heels over the Council’s plans for a 7th Environmental Action Plan. In the meantime, the Council celebrates 20 years of natural habitat protection. In caselaw, At 10 of the Landfill directive held directly effective, Strategic Environmenal Assessment Directive considered in context of Habitats directive. More within.

  • Electronic Discovery: the Tension Between Proportionality and Perfect Justice

    Oct 18, 2011  publication descriptionCommercial Law Practitioner (2011) 18(9) CLP 202

    This article considers the background to electronic discovery; the application of Ord.31 r.12 of the Rules of the Superior Courts as substituted in 2009 to incorporate electronic discovery, in the context of the relevant case law to date; and finally, it draws conclusions from the foregoing and from developments in other common law jurisdictions, to argue the case for the introduction of a comprehensive practice direction or an amendment to the existing rules.

    Electronic Discovery: the Tension Between Proportionality and Perfect Justice

  • Developments in European Environmental Law

    Aug 1, 2011  Irish Planning and Environmental Law Journal (2011) 18(3) IPELJ 134

    Recent decisions of the ECJ are analysed, which matters include the scope of public access to environmental information, and a ruling on the access of Environmental NGOs to challenge a planning consent notwithstanding specific national laws precluding such challenges. The final assessment of the 6th Community Environmental Action Programme, an EU consultation on improving air quality, a new ban on the use of industrial creosote and wider restrictions on the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment are also among the matters considered.

    Developments in European Environmental Law

  • Substitute Consent: The New Form Of Retention Permission For EIA Development

    Apr 7, 2011  publication descriptionIrish Planning and Environmental Law Journal (2011) 18(1) I.P.E.L.J.

    The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 introduced new provisions to facilitate the grant of substitute consent to existing developments subject to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Directives. This article outlines the procedures involved in the application process, discusses significant new mandatory powers of enforcement afforded to planning authorities and an Bord Pleanála to issue cessation and/or remediation orders, and finally examines weaknesses in the extensive new enforcement provisions.

  • June 2022: CPD lecture on “Offshore Development and the Maritime Area Planning Act 2021” to Planning, Environment and Local Government Bar Association
  • October 2021: lecture to Irish Planning Institute’s Autumn law briefing on the “Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021”
  • March 2021: “Planning Injunctions: Law & Practice”, lecture delivered to National Solicitors Alliance meeting
  • Guest lecturer, Advanced Diploma in Planning and Environmental Law (Kings Inns)
  • Former tutor/examiner of planning and environmental law elective module at the Kings Inns
  • Former tutor/examiner of planning and environmental law elective module at the Law Society of Ireland.
  • Frequent speaker at legal seminars and industry events

  • Acted on a voluntary basis for indigent clients in need of legal advice and advocacy in court, appointed by request from the Voluntary Assistance Scheme of the Bar of Ireland
  • Acted in successful challenge to a local authority for failure to rehouse council housing tenants forced to abandon their home on a delapidated housing estate, and simultaneously challenging State’s implementation of Limerick Regeneration (led by Michael Cush SC and Brian Kennedy SC) (proceedings compromised with successful outcome for applicants)

Please note: I do not accept direct requests for pro-bono work – only through the Bar of Ireland’s Voluntary Assistance Scheme.

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01-817 7378
087-230 4550
Suite 2.41.1 Distillery Building 145-151 Church Street Dublin 7
LinkedIn: Twitter: @niallhandy
@Niall Handy

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