Our administrative and public law team specialises in holding public authorities to account

Our administrative and public law team specialises in holding public authorities to account. Our lawyers are regularly instructed to bring judicial reviews of government decisions – often in ground breaking and high profile litigation.

ITN's public law team advises private individuals, companies and non-governmental organisations on bringing challenges to a range of public bodies. Our extensive experience allows us to navigate complex public law and governance issues, whether contentious or non-contentious.

We advise on a wide range of matters, including constitutional and governance issues, equalities and human rights, regulatory functions and the formulation and implementation of policy. Our lawyers have challenged decisions made by government ministers, regulators, local authorities, police officers, the Charity Commission, schools and universities.  We have also brought challenges to private companies exercising public functions and to political parties. Our aim is to develop an effective strategy, however novel or complex. Often, an issue can be resolved out of court at pre-action stage, but if necessary, we have experience of litigating at all levels of the Courts, from the High Court to the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.

Our Public Law team has proven expertise in all aspects of public law, including:

  • Unlawful detention
  • International law in domestic Courts
  • freedom of information
  • human rights
  • EU law
  • permits, licences and authorisations
  • public law challenges to private entities/structures
  • public procurement
  • regulatory law

We have obtained notable successes in a variety of cases, from winning substantial damages for individuals who have been the victims of unlawful government action to effecting changes in central government policy. Our notable cases include:

  • Anon v Director of Public Prosecutions – Represented the Claimant in judicial review proceedings concerning the application and breadth of immunity of serving ministers.
  • Gedi v SSHD (Court of Appeal) – Challenge to the government’s policy of routine practice unlawful deprivation of liberty on immigrants. Case lead to a change of policy and freedom for a large class of individuals.
  • Mohamed & CF v SSHD [2012] EWHC 2837 (Admin) and [2014] EWCA Civ 559 - represented CF in control order and TPIM proceedings in the Administrative Court, which were fully heard over two weeks in July. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal holding that the proceedings had departed from constitutional principles of open justice. Case is currently before the Supreme Court.
  • CF v Security Service & Ors [2014] 1 WLR 1699 - Acting for CF in the first case under the Justice and Security Act 2013 relating to alleged UK complicity in unlawful detention, mistreatment and rendition.
  • MR v SSHD – Leading case concerning access to documents and interaction between free movement, disclosure and national security.
  • BG v the Crown Prosecution Service¬ – Habeas application heard on an urgent basis, leading to release from custody. Claimant was awarded substantial damages following settlement negotiations.
  • LK v Independent Monitor – Challenge to the Independent Monitor of the Disclosure and Barring Service. Successful challenge to disclosure of non-conviction information on Claimant’s DBS certificate.
  • Challenges to export licences for military equipment. Currently instructed by international clients to challenge the grant of international export licence by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
  • Instructed on judicial reviews concerning the interpretation of EU law in domestic Courts.
  • Regularly advise a variety of groups on public procurement and related public law principles.

Our lawyers are also active in professional and academic circles, contributing to the wider debate around public law issues through articles, seminars and are often invited to participate in public talks and debates.

How to use Public Law

Public law allows citizens to hold public authorities and state actors to account and to challenge them when things go wrong. Judicial Review is the tool which allows a Court to scrutinise the conduct of a public authority or those performing public functions. The Court will look, for example, as to whether that public authority has acted reasonably. It may also look at whether any decision made by those performing public functions does not breach laws such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.

If you wish to challenge a decision made by a body acting in a public capacity, such as a central government department, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.

Our Lawyers can help, individuals, representative groups or companies to have their voices heard. We can ensure that the decision maker looks again at the decision, preferably before any damage is done. A powerfully worded letter, complaint or internal appeal can sometimes be sufficient. If it is not, it may be necessary to bring judicial review proceedings.

These may lead to bad decisions being overturned and sometimes to authoritative rulings on the legality of policies, rules and procedures. Judicial review can develop the law and help others.

It is very important that you act quickly if wish to bring a judicial review case against a public body. The timeframes are very short indeed - most cases must be brought both promptly and within three months of the decision, but some, such as planning, environmental and procurement cases may need to be brought within six weeks.

We offer competitive private rates and can explore alternative funding options with you.

We also hold a Legal Aid Agency contract in public law so free legal aid may be available to you if you are on a very low income including where you are detained or imprisoned.