Getting to know… Senior Associate Solicitor Matt Gilks

Matt advises agriculture clients on planning and environmental matters and has had a varied career advising clients – including some who lived among polar bears!


Tell us a little more about your work and career so far?

I work in the planning and environment team, with a particular focus on rural and urban diversification, regeneration and business and residential development. Previously I was a Barrister in the Government Legal Service and a solicitor at various firms in London and elsewhere.

What has been your most unusual role?

For a short time I was an employment law advocate in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I appeared in front of Canadian Federal Tribunals. Some of my clients were Cree and Inuit people living among the polar bears on the edge of the Hudson Bay.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Helping the client identify the best solution for them and achieving that with them.

What has been your standout moment over the past year?

The Norfolk Vanguard litigation in the High Court. It was the first time an objector had been successful in the Planning Court after a defended hearing, ever since the inception of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project development consent regime under the Planning Act 2008. The best bit about it was working as a team with the client and within Thrings, and achieving a result against the odds.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

The Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin. Such a peaceful and beautiful part of the world.

What makes you happy?

Family celebrations.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Why don’t you just take that gap year in South America?

Find out more about Robert James visit his professional profile here - or email

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