Landmark Chambers International

John Litton QC

Year of call: 1989

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Practice Summary

John Litton QC is the Head of Landmark’s International Practice Group.

John has been in practise since 1991. He took Silk in 2010 and practices in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Admission to Overseas Bars

In addition to the Bar of England & Wales, John is admitted to and practices in the following overseas jurisdictions:-

  • Hong Kong (admitted 1990)
  • Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean (British Virgin Islands) (admitted 2013)
  • Northern Ireland (admitted 2013)

In addition, John appears in the Grand Court and Court of Appeal in the Cayman Islands on ad hoc admission. 

Professional qualifications/memberships

John is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) in the UK and a fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators (HKIAB).  

Comments from the directories include:

“Highly experienced in public inquiries, and also practices in Hong Kong” (Legal 500, 2015). "He is fantastic on his feet and clients are always impressed", and "an incisive and approachable QC who is on the rise" (Chambers & Partners 2015). "Unflinching approach when faced with the most demanding cases and opponents" (Chambers & Partners 2010).

Alongside Kate Olley, John is the co-author of 'Planning Law in Hong Kong' by LexisNexis.

Areas of work


Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade v Department of the Environment [2015] NIQB – challenge on environmental grounds to the grant of planning permission for comprehensive mixed use development in Newry. Successfully acted for the developers holding the planning permission in resisting claim. (Northern Ireland).

North-South Interconnector – currently acting for the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) in relation to an application for a proposed 400kV electricity line connecting the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. (Northern Ireland).

Nam Sang Wai – acting for the Town Planning Board (Hong Kong) in an appeal to the Town Planning Appeal Board (TPB Appeal 3 of 2014) against the refusal to grant planning permission for a large residential development in the New Territories close to the Mai Po Nature Reserve and Deep Bay RAMSAR site. The appeal hearing likely to be listed for later in 2016/2017 is estimated to last for 3/4 weeks. (Hong Kong)

In two sets of parallel proceedings relating to the grant of planning permission in the 1990s for the same site, he is acting for the Town Planning Board in Hong Kong in claims for judicial review relating to (a) the interpretation of the Town Planning Ordinance and the jurisdiction of the Town Planning Appeal Board; and (b) a refusal by the Town Planning Board to approve conditions attached to the permission. Having successfully represented the Town Planning Board in the High Court [2014] 5 HKC 1056 and Court of Appeal [2015] HKLRD 490 in the former case, the claimant has applied to the Court of Final Appeal for leave to appeal. John is attending the leave hearing in May 2016.  In the latter case, the claim is stayed pending the outcome of the first case (HCAL40/2014). (Hong Kong).

Jonnex International Ltd v Town Planning Board (HCAL 130/2015) – currently acting for the Town Planning Board in relation to an application for judicial review seeking to challenge a decision refusing to modify the Sai Ying Pun & Sheung Wan Outline Zoning Plan. John will represent the Town Planning Board at the hearing of the claim set down in the Court of First Instance in September 2016. (Hong Kong).

Lindenford Ltd v Town Planning Board [2012] HKEC 1236 – successfully acted for the Town Planning Board in resisting a judicial review claim challenging he imposition of height and other restrictions in the Draft Mongkok Outline Zoning Plan. An appeal to the Court of Appeal is currently stayed pending the Court of Final Appeal’s decision in similar proceedings. (Hong Kong).  

Public Law

John has been instructed to provide an Expert Opinion on Cayman Island law in connection with proceedings in Samoa.

Anderson Asphalt Ltd v Secretary for Justice [2009] 3 HKLRD 215, [2010] 5 HKLRD 490 – acted for the claimants (an association of asphalt producers) challenging by way of judicial review a decision of the Director of Lands (Hong Kong) to grant a short-term waiver of lease conditions to an asphalt producer. (Hong Kong).


Nation Group Development Ltd v Bank of East Asia Ltd [2004] HKEC 1249 – acted for the claimant in relation to claim for a declaration that a mortgagee’s security over property ranked lower in priority than the claimant’s lien over the property. (Hong Kong).

Government Rent/Rating

Best Origin Ltd v Commissioner of Rating and Valuation [2008] HKEC 323, [2010] HKEC 1915, (2012) 15 HKCFAR – successfully acted for the Commissioner for Rating and Valuation in appeals against the assessment of Government rent relating to development sites in the Lands Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal. (Hong Kong).

In parallel proceedings he successfully represented the Commissioner in claims for judicial review relating to the Commissioner’s decision to revoke orders allowing the holding over of payment of the Government rent – see Super Lion Enterprises Ltd v Commissioner of Rating and Valuation [2006] HKEC 1936. (Hong Kong).

CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd v Commissioner of Rating and Valuation [2013] KEC 602, [2014] HKEC 12 – successfully acted for CLP in the Lands Tribunal (Hong Kong) in an appeal against the assessment of rates and on an appeal to the Court of Appeal. An application for permission to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal is pending. (Hong Kong).

Compulsory Purchase/Compensation

Acted for the claimants in Malaysia in relation to a claim for compensation arising out of the compulsory acquisition of land by the State of Sabah and in subsequent proceedings brought by the State for breach of fiduciary duty in both the High Court (Sabah) and Federal Court. (Malaysia)


Aspial Investment Ltd v Mayer Holdings Ltd [2012] HKEC 988, [2013] 3 HLRD 276, (2014) 17 HKCFAR 401 – successfully acted for claimants in Hong Kong in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal seeking declarations as to the ownership of shares in Mayer Holdings, a listed company in Hong Kong. Subsequently acted for the shareholders and the company in the Grand Court and Court of Appeal (Cayman Islands) resisting a creditor’s petition to wind up the company. (Hong Kong and Cayman Islands).

Mayer Corporation Development International Ltd v Alliance Financial (HCCL 2/2016) – John is acting in a claim to set aside a judgment alleged to have been obtained by fraud. (Hong Kong).

In two claims relating to breaches of warranty and misrepresentation arising out of cooperation agreements entered into with China National Petroleum Company for the exploitation of mineral resources in China, John is currently representing the claimants in proceedings in the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court (Cayman Islands). Issues include interlocutory injunctions, applications for service out of the jurisdiction & for substituted service and discovery of documents – see China Energy Development Holdings Ltd v Totalbuild Investments Holdings Group Ltd (Cause No. G0094/2015) and Energy International Investments Holdings Ltd v China International Energy Investments (Hong Kong) Ltd (cause No. G0112/2015). (Cayman Islands).

In China NTG Investments Ltd v Great River Corporation – John acted for the defendants to a counter-claim in the High Court (British Virgin Islands) resisting the appointment of an interim receiver and on an application for a stay of proceedings. In parallel proceedings in Hong Kong (CA 277/2013), John is acting for the claimants in relation to a share ownership dispute which is going to trial in July/August 2016. (BVI and Hong Kong).

In Li En Qiang v Nova Direct Investment Ltd John acts for the claimant seeking the recovery of proceeds of redemption and remaining shares in an investment fund against a BVI company. He is to appear in the BVI on an application challenging to Court’s jurisdiction in June 2016. (BVI) 


He is instructed to act for a party in an international arbitration in Beijing relating the sale and purchase of a substantial restaurant business in China. (China).