Public Law

The exercise of power by public authorities is regulated by a set of legal principles that are commonly referred to as public law. This area of specialism involves the analysis and application of constitutional and administrative law, primarily in the context of challenges to the decision-making by public authorities and inferior tribunals.

The separation of powers and judicial oversight of the executive branch are cornerstones of the British constitutional law that guarantee those subject to and affected by the exercise of executive power, whether individuals or corporate entities, access to the courts to review and adjudicate upon the lawfulness of decisions involving the exercise that power, providing specialist remedies where excesses of power warrant intervention.

The practice of public law has grown significantly since the latter part of the twentieth Century, reflecting the ever-increasing breadth and complexity of state regulation of individuals and corporate entities under domestic and European legislation. Since October 2000, the Human Rights Act 1998 has made it unlawful for public authorities to act in a way that is incompatible with the rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and empowers individuals to challenge the lawfulness of public authorities action in legal proceedings. The impact of the Human Rights Act on public law jurisprudence has been widespread and continues to develop.

The recent legislative reforms to the tribunal system, which reorganised individual Tribunals into a new, unified tribunals structure has also had a significant impact on the practice of public law. Tribunals are specialist judicial bodies that decide disputes in particular areas of law and appeals to Tribunals are generally against a decision made by a Government department or agency and engage the principles of public law.

The expertise and experience of the Public Law group at Six Pump Court reflects the diversity and range of Chambers’ other Areas of Specialism, especially those which involve the statutory regulation of public authorities and inferior tribunals. There is considerable overlap between the practice of Public Law and our other specialist areas of Criminal, Planning, Environmental and Regulatory Law.

The Members of our Public Law group also offer our clients with expert advocacy and advisory services over an extensive range work involving civil and criminal regulation. We offer experience at all levels of seniority, advising and appearing in cases involving judicial review and statutory challenges in the High Court, including cases assigned to the specialist Planning Court, appeals by way of case stated in the Divisional Court and statutory appeals within the specialist jurisdictions of First-tier and Upper-tier Tribunals.

Barristers in Chambers also have considerable experience of a diverse range casework involving challenges to and appeals against the decisions and actions of governments, public authorities and quasi-public bodies, which engage public law principles in other courts, councils, tribunals and inquiries, including those constituted on an ad hoc basis. Click here for details of our Inquests and Inquiries work and click here for details of our work relating to Professional Discipline.

Our clients include those seeking to challenge the lawfulness of the exercise of power by public authorities and the many and varied government departments, agencies, public authorities, local authorities, inferior tribunals and other regulators whose decisions and actions are subject to review and oversight by Courts and Tribunals applying public law principles. The strength and depth of talent and experience in Chambers is built upon our commitment to act on behalf of claimants and respondents in this area. Our clients benefit from the insight and knowledge of our Members that can only be gained from accepting instructions from claimants, respondents and interested parties in public law proceedings.

Many of our barristers are recognised and recommended as experts in cases involving public law challenge, including judicial review, statutory challenge and administrative appeals. For full details of members recognised by the UK Legal Directories click here. Our members also appear on behalf of the government as current or former members of the Attorney General’s specialist panels of civil and regulatory counsel – click here for a full list of our Regulatory List Counsel.