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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Public sector > Administrative and public law > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Administrative and public law
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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'Standout performers' John Halford and Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) , the joint heads of public law and human rights, lead an outstanding team at Bindmans LLP  that is considered 'the go-to firm in London for any public law or regulatory matter.' It takes on clients ranging from commercial bodies to NGOs, action groups and individual claimants and interveners and offers pro bono assistance. The team is acting for the Law Society in a challenge to the cuts to legal aid remuneration for complex Crown Court cases. It is also acting for an individual in a challenge to the Prevent duty guidance, issued under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act regarding the gathering and storage of data by the Home Office in relation to alleged extremists. The claim also challenges the Prevent duty guidance in relation to universities.  Key team members include Jamie Potter whose expertise includes regulatory and information rights, as well as judicial reviews. Associate Salima Budhani is also a core practitioner.

Fieldfisher 'is without doubt among the best UK firms for major inquiries and inquests; any major inquiry or inquest would be well advised to instruct it'. Its expertise spans legislative drafting, government relations and judicial reviews.  Sarah Ellson in Manchester co-heads the group, which includes senior partner Matthew Lohn in London and Partner Martin Smith, who is 'able to think strategically'. Tim Suter  'combines a phenomenal work ethic with outstanding organisational abilities; his judgement is superb, at both a strategic and tactical level.' Notable senior associates include 'up-and-coming-star' Oliver Carlyon , Carina May  and David Northfield . The team acted on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the inquests related to the Birmingham bombings and for the Financial Conduct Authority in defending a judicial review of the new deadline for consumers to make claims for mis-sold PPI.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP acts for claimants, defendants and interveners. Its clients range from well-known corporates and government departments to organisations such as Liberty, the Public Law Project and the Child Poverty Action Group.  Andrew Lidbetter who is considered 'simply the top admin and public law lawyer' continues to act for KPMG on the ground-breaking case on whether it is liable to a judicial review. The highly regarded Nusrat Zar acts for commercial organisations, public bodies and  regulators in sectors such as media, telecoms and broadcasting and consumer goods and services. Other key members of the team include Jasveer Randhawa  and senior associate Anna Eliasson. It is  representing  Telefónica as an interested party in judicial review challenges by other parties to Ofcom's position on  the competition issues and auction regulations for the award of  2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrum bands. It was also selected to  represent the Church of England  in relation to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Natacha Heffinck has left to take an in-house role.

At the 'excellent' Hogan Lovells International LLP Charles Brasted is noted for 'giving robust advice as to the risks and practical implications of matters.' He heads the public law and policy team which sits within the government regulatory practice and also co-leads the Brexit taskforce. The other key members of the team are Julia Marlow and associate Dervla Simm. It advises well-known corporate clients and regulators and has a strong government relations and policy practice. It advised Uber in its judicial reviews of TfL's regulatory requirements and on the withdrawal of its  licence. It also represented Whirlpool, as an interested party to the judicial review brought by the Consumers' Association (trading as Which?) in respect of the alleged failure by the trading standards enforcement authority to consider exercising its enforcement powers under product safety regulations against Whirlpool in relation to certain of its brands of tumble dryers.

Kingsley Napley LLP is held up for 'giving pragmatic advice which always demonstrates a sensitivity to the concerns and objectives of the client' and is praised for its 'extensive experience of high-profile public inquiries.' Team head Adam Chapman 'provides clear and firm advice and demonstrates a keen insight on the likely decisions and responses a public inquiry is likely to make.' It counts a range of major regulatory bodies and government departments among its clients and its broad public law expertise includes judicial reviews, human rights law, public inquiries and inquests. Sophie Kemp has substantial expertise in major public inquiries and inquests and is representing a former Metropolitan Police commander in connection with the undercover policing inquiry. Other noted team members include regulatory expert Iain Miller,  Emily Carter  'who is not afraid to provide advice which may be unpopular with the client',  Caroline Day and Nick Wrightson. The team acted for David Crompton, the former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, in a landmark judicial review against the Police and Crime Commissioner, in which he successfully challenged the decision to force him to resign following the Hillsborough Inquest verdicts. In other work, it is advising on major public inquires in the legal, healthcare and energy sectors.

Sean Humber¬†heads a group of specialists at¬†Leigh Day¬†¬†that assist claimants, NGOs and charities in impressively diverse areas ranging from healthcare, prisoner rights, immigration and refugee law through to challenges related to planning and environmental law. It also handles¬†international public and criminal law matters. Jamie Beagent¬†represented the Friends of Evenlode Valley and West Oxfordshire Cotswolds in a successful judicial review of the grant of planning permission for a substantial development in an area of outstanding natural beauty. He is also handling cases concerning inquests and a trafficing/sexual exploitation matter. Rosa Curling's broad practice includes acting for the Campaign against the Arms Trade in a¬†¬†challenge to the licensing and sale of arms from UK companies to Saudi Arabia. Tessa Gregory¬†has a focus on human rights and is representing refugee families who have been denied entry to the UK.¬† In other work it is acting for an NGO in a judicial review against the Cabinet Office challenging the failure to¬† designate a private company as a ‚Äúhigh risk‚ÄĚ strategic supplier for government contracts relating to the operation of number of immigration removal centres, prisons and young offender institutes.

'One of the strongest city firms for administrative and public law' Allen & Overy LLP offers a blend of broad commercial and regulatory expertise together with public law in areas such as procurement, telecoms and banking and finance. Andrew Denny, who heads the public law group also chairs the firm’s human rights working group and provides pro bono assistance to NGOs. He acted for Bail for Immigration Detainees on a Supreme Court intervention concerned with whether bail can be granted to, and conditions imposed upon, an individual when there is no longer a lawful basis for detention. Together with senior associate, Maeve Hanna, he acted for The AIRE Centre as intervener in a Supreme Court case concerned with the application of the Refugee Convention and the UK government’s responsibilities for refugee families living on the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus. The team also advises on Brexit constitutional matters.

Baker McKenzie serves an impressive range of clients from regulators and well-known corporate clients to pressure groups and those in need of pro bono assistance. It has especially notable experience in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, technology and finance sectors. It advised the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees on a number of high-profile refugee law cases. It also acted for Stonewall Equality as intervener in a complex case involving equality and human rights issues with regard to a transgender father and continues to advise the BBC Trust on its public law issues. Joanna Ludlam heads the regulatory, public and media law team working with Francesca Richmond, senior associate Joanne Redmond and Mary Jordan who joined in September 2017 and who has a focus on regulations and investigations in the finance sector.

Clients find that 'the level of service is excellent' at Bates Wells. The team takes on a broad range of work including inquiries and the safeguarding of vulnerable groups and acts for both public bodies and claimants. The well-regarded team head Melanie Carter  advises the National Audit office on its audits of local government and NHS bodies and other day-to-day matters. Most recently she advised on the Advisory Notice issued by KPMG (for whom it also acts) on the bankrupt Northants Council. In other work it acted for Airport Coordination following the collapse of Monarch Airlines which included defending a judicial review and involved issues of interpretation of two EU Regulations. Both Carter and Jessica Collings are considered to be 'creative, hardworking and imaginative.' Rupert Earle is noted as 'an outstanding advertising and regulatory law practitioner who is flexible, dependable and has a good team to back him up.' Emma Dowden-Teale , who has been promoted to partner and Claire Whittle  are both noted practitioners.

The 'highly rated' Bevan Brittan LLP 'has a great deal of common currency between many team members' according to a client. The team is headed by Virginia Cooper who regularly advises local authorities, health commissioners, NHS England and Ombudsman clients, including local government and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. She also acted for the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner in connection with the judicial review challenge made by the former Chief Constable, David Crompton. The team has an exceptionally strong focus on the health sector; Emily Heard and David Owens act for clinical commissioning groups and other NHS bodies as well as claimants on a range of judicial reviews. Senior associate Olivia Carter is also noted for her work on judicial review and procurement challenges.

Bhatt Murphy¬†is consider to be¬† 'a stand out' practice that is 'excellent across all areas and leaders in their field.' It is¬†in demand for its work on public and private claims against the state, representing both individuals and NGOs on matters including unlawful detentions and the protection of child refugees. It also has deep expertise in prison law.¬†¬†Mark Scott¬†is¬†'an¬†incredible advocate for clients caught up in legal proceedings ‚Äď be they inquests, public inquiries or judicial reviews' according¬†to a client and he acts for claimants and interveners often on behalf of detainees including those in immigration detention centers.¬†¬†Janet Farrell¬† is considered 'brilliant' and Tony Murphy¬†is acknowledged for his¬†'long track record of acting for vulnerable clients¬†-¬†¬†he is a campaigning and brilliantly strategic solicitor.' Other team members include Shamik Dutta¬†who is¬†'incredibly approachable, always puts clients first and is a real expert', Michael Oswald¬†and Jed Pennington¬†are other names to note. It acted for Liberty in a¬†judicial review challenge to¬†part of the Government‚Äôs mass surveillance regime¬†under the Investigatory Powers Act and other clients include the national Union of Journalists, Privacy International and Medical Justice.

DAC Beachcroft LLP advises public bodies across education and local government and has a well-established reputation for its work in the health sector. Stephen Hocking’s work encompasses strategic advice on public and commercial law matters as well as judicial review and procurement challenges. He acted for NICE in a judicial review brought by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry against a new budget impact test in which it was successfully argued that NICE could consider costs when approving a drug for use by the NHS and which was a highly significant result for the NHS. He also advises NHS England on various pharmaceutical regulatory matters. Julian Gizzi, who now practices as a consultant, offers similarly deep expertise and advised the Higher Education Funding Council for England/the Office for Students on all aspects of the latter’s creation and powers. Other clients include the Post Office, the Faraday Institution and the Office for Fair Access.

Deighton Pierce Glynn is 'a high quality public law firm' that is home to 'a number of very experienced, creative and talented lawyers' according to a source. It offers wide-ranging expertise to  well-known NGOs as well as detainees and other vulnerable individuals. Its expertise encompasses litigation, private and EU law as well as the gamut of public law. Practice head Sue Willman has especially strong expertise on migrant rights;  Louise Whitfield has a focus on gender and other forms of discrimination and  Jo Eggleton , Polly Glynn and Adam Hundt are other core team members. Associate Daniel Carey is noted as 'a brilliant public and human rights lawyer with years of experience in complex litigation.' Highlight work includes acting for the United Nations Independent Working Group on Discrimination Against Women as an intervener in the appeal to the Supreme Court by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in respect of the criminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.

The 'excellent' Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP assists clients on a blend of commercial, litigation and public law issues spanning governance, regeneration and  procurement as well as investigations and inquiries. It serves clients such as Transport for Greater Manchester, the Serious Fraud Office and Borders to Coast Pension Partnership. In the Grenfell Tower public inquiry, it is representing Cadent Gas which had been the gas distributor to the tower. Peter Jones  is reported to be 'a fantastic and experienced inquiry solicitor, who excels at running a team.' Paul Pugh is the corporate lead on public sector matters and is also the relationship partner to the UK Government’s new general legal services panel. Other team members include Bridgette Wilcox, Gary Pellow 'who is  a very calm, experienced partner who delivers well-considered advice' and Edward Williams in Leeds 'did a great job at getting up to speed very quickly on what was a complex issue.'

Addleshaw Goddard has a strong dispute resolution team that handles litigation, judicial reviews and regulatory challenges for commercial clients, especially in the energy sector as well as government and other public bodies. A client affirms: 'They have a good judicial review regulatory team and are frequently instructed in the energy sector.' Simon Kamstra  'is excellent with clients and an inspirational leader of a team' and Bill Gilliam 'is truly excellent - one of the best strategic thinkers.' The team is further enhanced by Clare Dwyer 'who is a measured and confident practitioner who is imaginative about finding solutions for her clients including ADR.' Managing associate Paul Rowley  and Susan Garrett are also well rated practitioners. Highlight work includes acting for Scottish and Southern Energy which joined a judicial review challenge against Ofgem on the highly contested matter of the statutory basis for charging for connections to the national grid by electricity distributors.

Bircham Dyson Bell is considered to be 'very strong in its specialist areas and especially strong in the healthcare field.' It acts for an array of governmental and local authority bodies, companies and individuals on wide ranging public law advice and judicial reviews. Its work ranges from assisting a head teacher on preparing for an appearance at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to advising the National Grid on defending judicial review challenges and assisting Transport for London and the London Mayor’s office on  charging orders and environmental issues. Matthew Smith and David Mundy are the well respected joint heads of the group and core team members Richard Langley and Helen Fry 'are both very smart, efficient, and wise' according to clients. 

Practitioners from across various practice areas at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provide regulatory and public law expertise to clients in areas such as fintech, energy and consumer products. Advice can vary from licence applications to investigations and judicial reviews and also extends to human rights matters.  Litigator Paul Bowden has a focus on environmental, energy  and product liability matters and advises on class actions and judicial reviews. He is especially known for his expertise in nuclear law. Sally Roe is known for her UK and international construction, engineering and PPP expertise and head of the commercial disputes practice Tom Snelling takes on cross-border disputes, regulatory issues and EU matters. He advises extensively on Brexit issues. Its clients include an impressive range of corporates and  public bodies.

Hickman & Rose is acknowledged as 'a go-to firm for public law cases in a criminal context' and for providing 'extremely high quality advice.' Team leaders Daniel Machover and Kate Maynard are highlighted for 'using their knowledge and experience wisely and creatively.' Machover handles cases up to the  Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights and in a recent case he acted for a young man of Iraqi-Kurdish descent, whose passport was cancelled by the Home Secretary exercising the Royal Prerogative. Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is pending.  Stefano Ruis has a wealth of experience in challenges to arrests and  search warrants. Associate Eva Whittall, working with Machover, acted for a charity as an intervener in a case where claimants sought a declaration that there was an ongoing failure to prevent injuries and deaths at a prison.  Associate Helen Stone, who is especially experienced in actions and judicial reviews arising from police activity,  is also a core member of the team. Beth Handley left private practice.

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors is judged to be 'very strong' in the public law field generally with a breadth of expertise across inquests, actions against the police and miscarriages of justice. It has extensive judicial review experience including challenging CPS and IPCC decisions. Jocelyn Cockburn and Susie Labinjoh who are joint heads of the group and Sasha Barton, are some of the dedicated and specialist partners together with Peter Todd who is noted for his 'meticulous approach which coupled with his considerable empathy for his clients marks him out as a very formidable practitioner in this area.' Nancy Collins is the lead partner acting for Humanist UK in its intervention in two high-profile judicial reviews concerning the right to die. In other work the team continues to represent Neville Lawrence in connection with an ongoing police investigation into the murder of his son.

Irwin Mitchell is noted for 'often being ground breaking in the sense of winning important cases'. It acts for campaigning groups and individuals on a broad range of issues and is increasingly handling  cases against various NHS trusts concerned with the closure of facilities. In one example, it is representing a group of clients in a second set of judicial reviews concerning the withdrawal of funding by Hertfordshire Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group for a respite care centre. It is also acting for an individual in a landmark  case concerning assisted suicide  in which it is claimed that the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with the individual's rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Yogi Amin heads the team which includes Alex Rook who is acknowledged for being 'extremely able in the fields of social care and public law.' Polly Sweeney , who heads a team in Bristol, has a focus on health and education issues affecting children and young people with disabilities.

The 'excellent' team at Linklaters LLP¬†is¬†'very responsive and practical, has great soft skills and makes you feel like you are their only client.' It assists¬†businesses and public bodies on judicial reviews combined with technical knowledge of the telecommunications, financial services and water industries and¬†continues to advise clients on Brexit issues. Tom Cassels, who is singled out¬†for being 'brilliant in a crisis ‚Äď totally unflappable'¬†acted for Hutchison 3G UK in judicial review proceedings against Ofcom in respect of Ofcom‚Äôs decision to impose competition measures in the¬†public sector spectrum release auction process.¬†It also acted for Barclays as an interested party on a judicial review as to whether KPMG could be the¬†subjected to a judicial review. Other key practitioners include partner Alison Wilson¬†and¬†managing associate Tim Miller¬†.

Sources report that Simpson Millar LLP has 'a real emphasis on the rights of children, in particular vulnerable children in care' and 'is a brilliant firm of very committed lawyers.' Oliver Studdert is noted for having 'a great reputation' and Victoria Pogge von Strandman  'is a great black letter lawyer with a sharp mind.' Dan Rosenberg  and Julie Cornes are also considered 'brilliant lawyers.' It is well known for its niche Court of Protection work and in one highlight it acted for two individuals in a challenge against the Secretary of State for Health in England over the policy which refuses NHS funding for abortion services for women from Northern Ireland.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP  advises a broad range of central and local government departments as well as schools and individuals on an array of public law issues. It is considered 'excellent for value for money and service' and for being  'reactive and responsive.' Team leader Helen Randall garners appreciation for her 'great in depth knowledge of local government and trends and for being well connected' and the head of commercial litigation Lucy James , who is is a solicitor-advocate, has considerable experience of judicial reviews and procurement disputes. James Hawkins leads the firm's national public sector group. In work highlights it represented Homes for Haringey and Haringey Council in a judicial review brought by a local leaseholder group, the Haringey Leaseholders Association. It also advised a group of London councils on the establishment of a new business rates pooling arrangement.

BCL Solicitors LLP is in demand for being 'excellent for all types of criminal-related judicial reviews.' In conjunction with its excellence in areas such as white-collar and corporate crime, it takes on public inquiry, judicial review and  inquest work. Its current cases include acting for a corporation in a judicial review regarding search warrants obtained by the police, a judicial review in connection with allegations of money laundering and fraud and a number of inquests with possible criminal ramifications. Richard Sallybanks is characterised as 'a cool-headed individual in big-ticket cases'; Michael Drury is 'a great strategist and a very bright lawyer who is brilliant at client-handling' and Guy Bastable is 'tenacious, hard-working and a brilliant tactician.'

From offices in London and Nottingham Browne Jacobson LLP is 'accessible and consistent in its advice which it provides with clarity.' It assists a broad range of clients including local government agencies, parliamentary ombudsman and national audit organisations as well as regulators and health sector clients. It is acting for the Royal Mail Group in a fraud investigation where it is being challenged in a judicial review concerning the basis on which warrants were obtained. It is also acting for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in a case where two GPs challenged its powers to recommend financial payments in cases involving clinical judgment, a case which is going to the Court of Appeal. Senior practitioners Richard Barlow and Laura Hughes are based in Nottingham and Ros Foster heads up the London team. The group is further enhanced with the arrival of Gerard Hanratty who joined in April 2017 from Capsticks LLP .

Following its merger with Olswang LLP and Nabarro LLP, CMS offers a variety of public law-related expertise. Dan Tench handles judicial review challenges, data protection and privacy matters as part of his broader litigation practice. It acts for claimants, defendants and interested parties with a focus on regulated industries and regulator decisions. It has a specialism in  challenges to planning, compulsory purchase matters.

Christopher McGee-Osborne and Catherine Bingham co-head the government sector group at Dentons which serves an impressive roster of governmental, regulator and corporate clients. Multi-disciplinary teams advise on procurement, environmental and other areas in addition to the public and administrative law, especially in the telecoms sector. It has been appointed to a number of government panels, including the central government General Legal Services Panel. Recent work includes advising the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other government entities on the procurement of their global fixed and mobile voice and data telecoms network and services. It is also advising Ofgem on a range of matters including  an offshore transmission asset licensing process. Other noted contacts include Stephen Ashworth and Mark Bassett.

At Imran Khan and Partners Kim Vernal and Jade Brown are advising core participants in the accountability, reparations and child migrant investigations and Sarah McSherry is representing core participants in the catholic church inquiry into child sexual abuse. Imran Khan continues to represent Baroness Lawrence in connection with the ongoing issues arising from the murder of her son Stephen. He is also acting for the Monitoring Group and the Blacklist Support Group as core participants in the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing which is examining police surveillance activities. The team is also handling a number of challenging inquests.

With an emphasis on claimant work, Matthew Gold & Company Limited, solicitors take on cases against the police and IPPC, local authorities, and central government departments. It also has a particular focus on migrant rights and Clare Jennings is highlighted for her 'particular commitment to the cause of destitute migrant families' in addition to 'injecting energy and passion into all her work and being an impressive litigator.' Matthew Gold is 'delightful to work with; charming and dedicated and has a considered, intelligent and creative approach to his cases.' In representative work, it acted for claimants in a judicial review challenge to the London Borough of Camden's policy on the subsistence it pays to families who have no recourse to public funds. A source commented: 'This is a smaller firm but they give superb attention to their clients’ needs and real commitment to the area. They punch far above their weight.'

A client found the service at  Saunders Law to be 'top notch' on a judicial review matter. Team head Nia Williams is noted as 'exceptionally experienced and tenacious' and 'always goes the extra mile for her clients.' Founding  partner James Saunders  is held up for 'his passion, commitment, sensitivity, and tactical astuteness.' The team is representing over 200 people in the  Hillsborough misfeasance group litigation against against South Yorkshire and West Midlands police and is also acting for a core participant in the  Grenfell Tower Inquiry. It handles a broad range of cases for claimants, many of which are high-profile and includes actions against police forces.

From offices including in Liverpool, Manchester and London,  Weightmans LLP offers an impressive number of specialists such as Tony Yeaman, the  national head of healthcare clinical in Birmingham and Richard Jolly, the national head of healthcare advisory in Liverpool. Martin Forshaw, based in Liverpool has decades of experience acting for police forces defending an array of actions. A client reported of the team: 'The service received is second to none. They are quick to respond and the advice they give is excellent.' Liverpool-based senior associate Morris Hill is also highlighted as 'very pragmatic, sensible and effective.' In addition to its work for police forces, it is acting for Rochdale Council as a core participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Anthony Gold is highlighted for it work in the housing sector and being 'a good niche firm for any aspect of local government work.' It combines this expertise with challenges in the education field, road and rail management and environment issues. The 'impressive' and 'hugely knowledgeable' Andrew Brookes  is noted as is David Smith : 'There is nothing he doesn't know about local authority enforcement powers in the private rented sector.' Eleanor Solomon  is 'a very talented up-and-coming public lawyer.' Giles Peaker  'is an outstanding lawyer - dazzlingly clever, persistent, highly effective and cares deeply about his area of law.' He is acting for the Residential Landlords Association on a prospective intervention into a judicial review of the extension of the Right to Rent statutory obligations to Wales and Scotland by the Joint Committee on the Welfare of Immigrants. The team is also acting for a number of clients in relation to the the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

DLA Piper 's practice covers judicial reviews and procurement law and it counts various public bodies among its clients and acts both for and against government departments and agencies. A client commented: 'It is an excellent, out-of-box thinking and client- focused team.' It is acting for Ocean Outdoor UK against the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in relation to a procurement process for leases on land either side of the M4 for the purpose of putting up advertising towers. It is also acting for Uber in a judicial review challenge against a change of policy by Knowsley Borough which would require drivers to obtain a local licence. Other clients include the NHS, the Department of Transport and Transport for the North. Paul Stone, who co-heads the group with Hazel Moffat, is noted for being a 'free thinker who is careful and has an excellent strategic mind as well as an eye for the detail.'

With offices around London and nationally, Duncan Lewis Solicitors is reported to have 'a strong presence in this area of the law, making a particularly dominant contribution in immigration, asylum and prison law.' James Packer, who co-heads the public law department, 'is an outstanding lawyer who identifies points with ease and precision and thinks tactically.' Toufique Hossain is acknowledged for taking on 'important challenges' especially in relation to immigration detentions and mental health issues. Trevor Hatton is also noted as is Jenna McKinney  who shows 'remarkable insight and rigour' and Zofia Duszynska  whose cases are 'well run and inspired.' The team is handling cases of the deprivation of British citizenship and deportation threats, many of which have gone to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Gowling WLG  straddles all areas of public law including human rights and aspects of EU law combined with regulatory expertise, especially in the energy, education, health and transport sectors. John Cooper heads the public law and regulation group which includes directors Ravi Randhawa  and Kieran Laird. It acted for the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation defending it on two appeals brought by energy companies. It also acted for Oxfam as intervener in a judicial review brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade challenging the grant of export licences by the government to companies selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Cooper continues to act for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on its smart meter programme which involves regulatory, policy development and new legislation work.

Emma Stockwell and Kiran Bhogal  head the teams at Hill Dickinson LLP that are situated across Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and London and they are both especially experienced in assisting health sector clients. David Hill, who is a director in the London office, has impressive NHS-focused expertise - his current work includes assisting on the NHS statutory framework and working with NHS England on the development of its commissioning policy and proposals for legislative change. In other work it acted for a Clinical Commissioning Group in relation to its new model of care for the community and out of hospital services. The team has expanded with new hires from Capsticks LLP and DAC Beachcroft LLP.

With an established track record in the healthcare and education sectors, Mills & Reeve LLP represents clinical commissioning groups and educational establishments in an array of work. It acted for a NHS Clinical Commissioning Group ("CCG") that was challenged on a funding matter. The team managed to have the client removed as a co-defendant but remain an interested party. It is also advising NHS Corby CCG on a number of matters relating to the Corby Urgent Care Centre involving two judicial reviews regarding a procurement matter and the potential closure of the centre. Richard Sykes in Birmingham is the team head and other key practitioners are  Gary Attle  in Cambridge and  Molly Sanghera in Birmingham.

In addition to being acknowledged for its election law expertise and broader work with local authorities, Sharpe Pritchard LLP also handles judicial review and statutory appeals work, especially in the planning arena. A client considers them 'excellent' in all relevant areas; 'knowledgeable and value for money.' Team head Trevor Griffiths is highlighted for being 'approachable and meeting deadlines' and senior associates William Rose  and Mari Roberts are the other core team members. Its work includes advising Suffolk Coastal District Council on an appeal to the Court of Appeal on a successful challenge of a planning inspector’s decision which then went to the Supreme Court and concerned the meaning and effect of a government planning policy.

Katie Brown and Jacky Starling co-head the highly regarded social welfare and public law department at TV Edwards LLP which is 'a strong and experienced team that is very strong in community care and housing/social housing-related administrative and public law.' Brown is a 'bright and dedicated solicitor who punches far above her weight and has a well-deserved reputation for excellence' and Monica Kreel is noted for 'managing a heavy caseload including complex cases in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults and human rights breaches.' Kreel has a specialism in Court of Protection work and is further noted for bringing 'enormously helpful knowledge of matters of mental capacity' to judicial reviews.

Birnberg Peirce & Partners is considered a 'significant firm in this practice area' and is dedicated to assisting claimants in actions against government and other public bodies and the police. It handles cases in the fields of immigration, criminal defence, prison law and broader civil liberties. It also acts in relation to inquests and has a role in the Hillsborough matter. Gareth Peirce and Marcia Willis Stewart QC (Hon) are two of the senior practitioners within a substantial team.

Cross-disciplinary teams at Burges Salmon LLP handle mandates from the public and private sector, especially in the transport, energy and waste arenas. Gary Solomon and John Houlden co-head the work that includes advising OFWAT on its Water 2020 Programme for the future regulation of the sector. It continues to advise the Welsh Government/Transport for Wales which includes discussions between Welsh Ministers and the Secretary of State for Transport on the  transfer rail franchising powers to Wales.

Capsticks LLP 'is one of the very best firms specialising in health care-related public law. They have an excellent understanding of the needs of public sector clients and their knowledge and experience of work for NHS Trusts is second to none' according to a source. Ian Cooper heads the team and Francis Lyons who heads the London group is considered 'an outstanding solicitor with great judgment.' Partner Tracey Lucas has long experience of acting for NHS organisations, defending judicial reviews and other challenges. Its current work includes acting for an array of clinical commissioning groups, for example, it successfully defended North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group in a complex judicial review involving an alleged failure to provide after-care funding to a patient detained under the Mental Health Act.

The public law team of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is led Philip Rocher who is head of litigation. Its client base comprises corporate clients, sovereign governments and NGOs, offering many of the latter pro bono services. Much of its work has an international element: It is acting for 18 companies of the Koza Ipek group in challenges before the European Court of Human Rights arising from the many expropriations of the Turkish government.  It also advised the Human Dignity Trust in its support of proceedings brought by local LGBT rights activists in Kenya challenging Kenyan laws which criminalised same sex relationships. Key members of the group include Charles Falconer and Patrick Doris.

Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors  assists claimants with disputes  with public authorities including local authorities, housing associations and central government departments. It has a strong focus on housing matters and the highly experienced Rebekah Carrier takes on challenges involving local or central government housing policies and decisions. Her work has included challenges to aspects of the government’s welfare reform policies including the controversial benefit cap where this was found to breach obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

John Ford Solicitors  specialises in public law matters with a focus on community care, education and Court of Protection work. The founder John Ford  has spent some decades taking on challenges to local authorities and other public bodies on behalf of claimants, many of whom are legally aided. The experienced Karen May  is head of the education team and handles community care work. Other names to note are associates Marian Shaughnessy  and Helen Gill. The firm merged with Sinclairslaw on 1 May 2018.

Just For Kids Law, a registered charity, 'is a niche firm with unrivaled experience in protecting the rights of children in a wide range of public and criminal law cases' according to an interviewee. A multi-disciplinary team has a child-centric approach when bringing claims for judicial review and advocating on an array of youth justice matters. The team's work includes acting for an individual in a case that will go to the Supreme Court which challenges the legality of the disclosure regime in England and Wales that will leave reprimands that were given to a 12 year old on the enhanced disclosure check for a lifetime. Other challenges involve press reporting of minors, the keeping of children in police cells and the rights of migrant children. Team head Jennifer Twite is 'a wise and highly intelligent, strategic lawyer who is devoted to her clients and cases.' Laura Cooper acts for young people in police stations, Youth Courts and Crown Courts; Mital Raithatha 'is always willing to embrace innovative ways of presenting cases and doesn’t shy away from pursuing difficult or unattractive points' and Aika Stephenson 'is tenancious in the defence of her client’s interests.'

Minton Morrill handles a range of public-law related work, particularly in the realms of civil liberties and social housing and broader local government work.  Dr Keith Lomax has long-standing experience of challenging government departments and public bodies in respect of their decisions and policies. Assistant solicitor Keith Coughtrie also handles a range of public law matters, especially from a human rights point of view. Prisoner rights, homelessness and educational issues are some of the matters it takes on.

On behalf of claimants Steel & Shamash takes on challenges to local authorities, especially where they fail to adequately assess the needs of children and vulnerable adults, and the Home Office in connection with unlawful detentions of minors and the dispersal of asylum seekers outside of London. A source acknowledged the team's 'very good reputation in pubic law - especially for children's services and for being reliably excellent.' Another source noted that team head Anna O’Connell  'is good at cross-over cases' where there is, for example mental health and  housing issues and judicial review proceedings may be necessary. Chris Callender is also highlighted as a 'very experienced and confident litigator in children's cases.' 

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Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

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