Ben Thomas

Ben Thomas
Year of call:



2008 - University of York, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) History

2009 - College of Law, PgDip Law

2010 - College of Law, BVC ('outstanding')


2011 - Pupil of Gill Batts at New Park Court Chambers, Leeds

2012 - Tenant at New Park Court Chambers, Leeds

2015 - Tenant at Park Square Barristers, Leeds

2016 - CPS Level-3 prosecutor

2019 - List C of the Panel of Specialist Regulatory Advocates

2022 - Joint Head of the Consumer Protection Team


2019 - List C of the Panel of Specialist Regulatory Advocates


North Eastern Circuit Criminal Bar Association Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association Liberty


2009 - Middle Temple, The Benefactors Scholarship

2010 - Middle Temple, Rose Scholarship

2010 - Middle Temple, The Baron Van Der Heyden De Lancey Prize Middle Temple, Certificate of Honour

‘Ben is tenacious, approachable, and detail oriented. A persuasive advocate in court.’ Legal 500 (2024)

‘Ben communicates well and has a very calm manner with clients. He quickly identifies the key issues in a case.’ Legal 500 (2023)

Ranked as a Leading Junior for Business and Regulatory Crime (Health & Safety) in Legal 500 (2024), a C-List Specialist Regulatory Advocate and Joint Head of Chambers Consumer Protection Team.

Ben is a specialist Regulatory and Public Law Barrister who is often asked to advise early on in proceedings and has developed excellent relationships with those instructing. He has a nationwide practice.


Ben is regularly instructed in prosecutions brought by the Environment Agency; and is often instructed to advise pre-charge. Instructions have included significant illegal waste sites, complex issues regarding prior insolvency and the ownership of the site. He is currently instructed to defend in a prosecution following a major tyre fire that occurred in Bradford in November 2020.

He has experience of advising on civil orders relating to environmental risk, and has been involved in several applications for Restriction Orders in relation to illegal waste sites.

Ben has a niche practice in cases investigated by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under the Forestry Act 1967, and other similar enactments. He is often asked to advise on jurisdictional issues regarding such cases and in relation to the time limits for commencing proceedings. He was instructed in the first ever prosecution under The Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2021 in relation to unlicenced burning on deep peat. This case was widely reported in the national media.

Ben has been involved in several prosecutions relating to fishing law, both at sea and inshore and has a detailed knowledge of the legislation involved. These cases have been brought by the Marine Management Organisation, Inshore Fisheries Authorities, and the Environment Agency

Recent cases have included:

Environment Agency v Matthew Leiper (October 2023)- Prosecution for burning of waste causing risk of pollution and harm to human health during the COVID-19 lockdown. The Defendant was convicted by the jury following an eight-day trial.

R (Forestry Commission) v Barney Smith (September 2023)- Prosecution for failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice requiring restocking of the land following illegal tree felling. An application to stay the proceedings as an abuse of process was successfully resisted.

Environment Agency v Munir and Yusuf Muhammed (September 2023)- Successful prosecution for running a regulated facility without a permit. The case was complicated due to insolvency of a previous permit holder and involved detailed consideration of the law on insolvency.

Marine Management Organisation v Guiding Light Limited, Livingstone Fishing LLP and Falcon Fishing Limited (June 2023)- Successful prosecution of three fishing vessels and the Masters operating them regarding the misdeclaration of fishing.

R (Natural England) v Dunlin Ltd (May 2023)- First ever prosecution under The Heather and Grass etc Burning (England) Regulations 2021 in relation to unlicenced burning on deep peat.

Peak District landowner admits illegal peat burning on moorland – BBC News

Real estate company fined for burning peatland in protected area | The Independent

Environment Agency v Clifford Shee (January 2023)- Successful prosecution of a repeat environmental offender relating to the operation of an illegal waste site where a significant fire occurred.

Birtley waste site blaze caused huge disruption after owner repeatedly ignored fire warnings – Chronicle Live

Birtley waste plant owner given suspended jail sentence over fire – BBC News

Marine Management Organisation v Ocean Fleet Seafood Limited and Others (December 2022)- Prosecution of both the owners and masters of four fishing vessels arising from inaccurate logbooks and landing decelerations. Involved dealing with a company entering administration, legal argument as to the interpretation of the legislation and jurisdictional issues.

Environment Agency v Danny Thorpe (August 2022)- Successful application for a Restriction Order under Section 109D Environment Act 1995. Notwithstanding a large-scale fire at an illegal waste site the respondent had continue to undertake illegal waste activities. Applications successfully made in February and August 2023 to extend the order. Also instructed in prosecution arising from breaches of the Order, currently listed for trial in March 2024.

Dozens of firefighters tackling blaze near King’s Lynn | Eastern Daily Press (

Health and Safety:

Ben has significant experience of prosecuting and defending case brought by the Health and Safety Executive and Local Authorities under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and associated regulations.

Notable cases have involved prosecution of a building contractor who was convicted of health and safety breaches concerning a household extension which exposed the occupants to carbon monoxide poisoning. A prosecution of the owners of a hotel for injuries sustained by a guest while using the fitness facilities at the premises and the defence of an engineering company relating to works undertaken involving asbestos.

He recently successfully prosecuted a case where the Defendant was represented by Leading Counsel.

He is currently advising a local authority pre charge in relation to a significant incident resulting in several injuries and potential for significant harm to the public.

Recent Cases have included:

Middlesbrough Council v Stark Building Materials Limited (September 2023)- Prosecution following lengthy failure to manage asbestos at the Jewsons Store in North Ormesby. Ben was instructed from an early stage, advised on presenting the case and drafted a detailed case summary. The Defendant having pleaded guilty at an early stage was fined a total of £400 000. The Defence were represented by a leading Kings Counsel.

Middlesbrough builders merchant fined £400k over asbestos lapses – BBC News

Selby District Council v Queens Staith Leisure Ltd and Philip Smith (February 2023)- Successful prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 of a hotel and the managing director following an incident in the spa which resulted in significant injuries to a customer.

Woman ‘significantly’ injured at spa of Parsonage Hotel in Escrick | The Northern Echo

Health and Safety Executive v T W Steam & Heating Services Ltd and Park View Academy (November 2021)- Defence of TW Steam who were prosecuted for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in respect of work undertaken at a Park View Academy, which resulted in disturbance and exposure of others to asbestos. Park View Academy were a school and charity sensitive submissions on the financial implications of sentence had to be made on behalf of TW Steam. Following written and oral submissions the Judge imposed a fine that was significantly below the range in the guidelines.

School and contractor fined for mishandling asbestos | Construction News

Health and Safety Executive v David Coulson and Coulson Construction (May 2021)- Prosecution of a building contractor who had been engaged by a householder to build an extension. He failed to comply with the regulations in relation to such work and allowed gas work to be undertaken by unqualified individuals. As a result, the householder and her two children were exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning with the children requiring hospital treatment. When this was discovered by the Defendant, he put pressure on her not to report the matter to the authorities and engaged unqualified individuals, in an unsuccessful attempt to remedy the breaches. When the matter was eventually reported an inspection also revealed, multiple electrical faults with a high risk of fire or electrocution.

Builder error in Newcastle leaves kids with carbon monoxide poisoning | UK | News |

Craven District Council v Bizzie Lizzies (January 2020)- Instructed to advise on charge and prosecution of a well-known local fish and chip business for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, arising out of an incident when a staff member was badly injured by hot oil.

Craven District Council : Prosecution of Bizzie Lizzies for health and safety breach (

Bizzie Lizzie’s fined £75,000 at court after spilled oil | Bradford Telegraph and Argus (

Food Hygiene and Abattoirs:

Ben is regularly instructed in cases brought by the Food Standards Agency and Local Authorities in relation to breaches of food hygiene regulations. These have included prosecutions of abattoirs, takeaways, and cafes. They included a high-profile prosecution where an individual suffered a life-threatening reaction to a takeaway that contained peanut powder.

He also has experience on advising on Hygiene Improvement Notices and other ancillary orders.

He is regularly instructed in prosecutions for offences under The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015. He is currently conducting a case alone when the other party is represented by both Leading and Junior Counsel.

Recent Cases have included:

R (FSA) v Leansale Limited (May 2023)- Successful prosecution of owners of an abattoir for eight offences under The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015, which dated from November 2021 and January 2022. The offences arose out of the handling and treatment of sheep and cattle prior to slaughter. The offence was aggravated by relevant previous convictions.

Birmingham abattoir fined for causing distress to animals – BBC News

Newcastle City Council v Samir Najeeb (October 2022)- Prosecution under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 following a customer had placing an order for a takeaway, and due to a serious peanut allergy, a request was made that the order be free from peanuts. Unfortunately, the dish supplied contained peanuts (due to the use of mixed nut powder) and as a result the customer suffered an anaphylactic reaction. Complex legal issues regarding the identity of the correct Defendant and who can be a Food Business Operator. The Defendant was convicted after trial.

Newcastle restaurant fined after peanut allergy teen suffered shock – BBC News

Derby City Council v Good Mood Food (January 2020)- Defence of restaurant for breaches of food hygiene regulations.

Local Authority:

Ben is also regularly instructed by local authorities and other regulatory bodies to advise and represent in relation to all other areas of their work.

These include trading standards prosecutions, alcohol licencing appeals, taxi licencing appeals, abatement notices, closure orders, defective properties, tree preservation orders, fire enforcement notices and planning enforcement injunctions.

He also is instructed in proceedings brought by tenants against landlords under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in respect of alleged statutory nuisances.

Recent Cases have included:

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council v John Jones, Thomas Jones, and John Burnside Jones (November 2023)- Successful prosecution of £600 000 conspiracy to defraud involving rogue traders who targeted vulnerable customers. Ben was instructed to advise pre charge.

Family trio’s £600k scam left OAPs ripped off as fraudsters splashed on homes and luxury lifestyle – Teesside Live (

Stuart Snell v City of Wakefield Council (October 2023)- Successful resistance to application brought under Section 130B Highways Act 1980 regarding alleged obstruction on a right of way.

Selby District Council v Herbert Timm (February 2023)- Prosecution for offences of breading dogs without a licence.

Herbert Timm sold puppies and dogs illegally in Monk Fryston | York Press

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council v James McDonagh (January 2023)- Prosecution of trader for offences of Fraud and under the Consumer Protection Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Redcar tradesman sentenced for ‘ripping off’ householders – BBC News

Harrogate Borough Council v Malcolm Grange (November 2022)- Successful Prosecution for breach of Enforcement Notice. Instructed to advise in ongoing application for planning enforcement injunction. Site had a significant planning history.

Man fined for breaching Harrogate council order over scrap cars – The Stray Ferret

Nasir Ali v Craven District Council (November 2017) Successfully resisted the appeal against the revocation of a taxi licence in respect of a driver who had been alleged to have committed a sexual assault on a passenger. The appeal was dismissed, and the revocation upheld notwithstanding the decision of the police not to charge any offences.

Craven District Council : Craven District Council wins court case against taxi driver (

Craven District Council v David Eckersall (January 2017) Successful prosecution for the demolition of a Grade II listed building. This case attracted significant national media interest

‘It was just a pile of stones’: Couple say neighbour waited for them to go away – then demolished his Grade II-listed cottage to leave them with no roof and sewage leaking into their home | Daily Mail Online


Contact Ben’s clerks

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250

Imogen Brown on 0113 2135225


Ben is instructed to represent interested persons at inquests. Recent instructions have included representing prison healthcare and a local authority. There is a cross over between Ben’s work in food hygiene law and his inquest practice. He is currently instructed in an inquest following a death caused by an allegoric reaction to peanuts contained in a takeaway.

Contact Ben’s clerks

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250

Imogen Brown on 0113 2135225

Ben is also regularly instructed in relation to proceedings before the Care Standards Tribunal brought by the Care Quality Commission and has a detailed knowledge of this area. These have included appeals against refusal of registration and cancellation of registration. He has also been instructed in investigations involving the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and therefore has knowledge of the different healthcare regulatory regime in Wales.

He was instructed pre charge in relation to a prosecution involving the illegal storage of medical and veterinary products.

Contact Ben’s clerks

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250

Imogen Brown on 0113 2135225