United Kingdom > London > Public sector > Administrative and public law > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Index of tables
Administrative and public law
- Judith Barnes - Bevan Brittan LLP
- Melanie Carter - Bates Wells Braithwaite
- Tom Cassels - Linklaters LLP
- Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) - Bindmans LLP
- Adam Chapman - Kingsley Napley LLP
- Paul Dacam - Hogan Lovells International LLP
- Andrew Denny - Allen & Overy LLP
- John Halford - Bindmans LLP
- Stephen Hocking - DAC Beachcroft LLP
- Andrew Lidbetter - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
- Matthew Lohn - Fieldfisher
- Michael Oswald - Bhatt Murphy
- Martin Smith - Fieldfisher
- Richard Stein - Leigh Day
Louise Whitfield -
Deighton Pierce Glynn
- Nusrat Zar - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Bindmans LLP’s ‘outstanding claimant judicial review practice’ has been involved in some of the highest-profile challenges in this field. The team is led by the ‘extremely committed and hardworking’ John Halford and Saimo Chahal QC (Hon), who brings ‘a wealth of experience in public interest litigation and on public law and human rights issues’. Salima Budhani is acting for the National Union of Students in a judicial review challenge pertaining to the abolition of maintenance grants. The ‘very focused and committed’ Jamie Potter is also recommended.
According to one client, Fieldfisher fields ‘the most experienced and knowledgeable team in the country’ for public inquiries, and the practice stands out for its ‘excellent mix of experience and enthusiasm’. In a recent highlight, Sarah Ellson defended the UK Council for Psychotherapy in Chancery proceedings pertaining to its powers to terminate membership following disciplinary proceedings. Martin Smith has ‘an extraordinary intellect and approaches complex tasks in a calm, logical and measured manner’, and Matthew Lohn is praised for his ‘good judgement and strong tactical sense’. Tim Suter, David Northfield and Carina Dalton are ‘incredibly organised and proactive in spotting and dealing with problems’.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team includes standout practitioners Andrew Lidbetter, Nusrat Zar and Anna Eliasson, who ‘share the same essential qualities: sound knowledge of the legal principles, grasp of the facts, attention to detail, and excellent drafting and writing skills’. In an illustration of its market-leading position, the practice was called on to represent the Child Poverty Action Group in judicial review proceedings challenging the cap on out-of-work household benefits. Other highlights included successfully defending KPMG in a high-profile judicial review pertaining to interest rate hedging products (IRHPs) following allegations of failings in the sale of IRHPs by various UK banks.
Hogan Lovells International LLP regularly handles judicial reviews with a commercial element, and also advises clients on human rights, public affairs and policy, and freedom of information matters. In a high-profile 2015 mandate, the team successfully defended Uber in High Court proceedings brought by Transport for London, which sought a declaration on whether the prohibition on private hire vehicles using taximeters applied to Uber. It also represented longstanding client British American Tobacco in judicial review proceedings challenging the introduction of plain packaging on tobacco products. Paul Dacam is ‘exceptionally experienced’, ‘has very good client-management skills, and demonstrates impeccable judgement’. Charles Brasted and Julia Marlow are also recommended.
For some, Leigh Day has ‘the best claimant practice in the country’, which comprises ‘experienced, talented and creative lawyers’ such as Richard Stein (who ‘knows exactly which points to press and has a great network of contacts’) and Rosa Curling. The team, which advises NGOs and charities on litigation strategy and associated campaigning, is led by Sean Humber, who acted for Action on Smoking and Health in a judicial review challenge brought by four major tobacco companies against proposals to introduce plain, standardised packaging. Benjamin Burrows and Jamie Beagent are other names to note.
Allen & Overy LLP’s team has notable expertise in the regulatory and commercial space. Highlights for Mark Friend (who attracts praise for his ‘thoroughly sensible, informed and cleverly tactical advice’) included representing SP Energy Networks (one of the six UK electricity distribution network operator (DNO) groups) in its opposition to an appeal brought by British Gas against Ofgem’s DNO price control settlement. Andrew Denny is ‘forthright and a good strategic thinker’ and ‘an excellent public law litigator with considerable experience and good tactical sense’. Bail for Immigration Detainees, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and ScottishPower are also clients. James Neill is another name to note.
Joanna Ludlam heads Baker McKenzie LLP’s public law practice following the departure of Tom Cassels, who joined Linklaters LLP in January 2016. Its client roster includes private and public sector clients including the BBC Trust, Criminal Bar Association and Three. Arun Srivastava is representing the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in judicial review proceedings brought by Holmcroft Properties against KPMG concerning KPMG’s role as independent reviewer in the interest rate hedging product review.
The highly regarded Melanie Carter heads the team at Bates Wells Braithwaite, which is noted for its ‘quick responses and good degree of pragmatism’. The practice acts for respondents and claimants and has expertise advising on regulations and policy amendments. Recent highlights include acting for the Advertising Standards Authority in defending a judicial review application by UK Services Support. Rupert Earle is praised for his ‘subject knowledge’ and ‘calm and collected approach’.
Equally adept at handling advisory and contentious matters, Bevan Brittan LLP’s ‘solid’ team was further strengthened by the arrival of Judith Barnes from DAC Beachcroft LLP in September 2015. The firm benefits from strong relationships with local authority and healthcare sector clients and ‘consistently provides a very high standard of service together with practical and commercial advice’. The ‘commercially astute and hugely experienced’ Iain Miller is ‘a dream to work with’. Representative clients include The Law Society, The Bar Council, Local Government Association and the University of Oxford.
Bhatt Murphy has ‘an excellent public law practice with intelligent, talented lawyers, who are committed to getting fantastic results for clients’. Michael Oswald is ‘absolutely excellent on complex police-related matters’ and acted in a challenge to police powers under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, pertaining to stop and search. The ‘innovative and dedicated’ Shamik Dutta is representing the National Union of Journalists and its members in a legal challenge concerning police surveillance. Jed Pennington is also recommended.
DAC Beachcroft LLP acts for a strong public sector client base that includes Ofsted, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and NHS Providers. Stephen Hocking and Julian Gizzi are assisting News Media Association with issues pertaining to press regulation. The practice is also defending the Health Research Authority in a judicial review into its policy of requiring public registration of clinical trials. Judith Barnes joined Bevan Brittan LLP in September 2015.
Deighton Pierce Glynn’s recent highlights include acting for Rights Watch UK in challenging the Prime Minister’s amendments to the Ministerial Code, which removed the requirement to comply with international law; and handling an immigration detention claim regarding the right to receive equivalent medical treatment. Key individuals include Gareth Mitchell, who is ‘exceptionally knowledgeable and thorough’; Adam Hundt, who has notable experience in the healthcare sector; and discrimination law specialist Louise Whitfield.
Irwin Mitchell’s ‘excellent’ group is best known for representing claimants in public law challenges, frequently with a human rights angle. It acted for the claimants in judicial review proceedings challenging Sandwell Council’s policy of taking disability living allowance into account when calculating eligibility for discretionary housing payments. Yogi Amin heads the national public law practice, which includes Alex Rook, who combines ‘a brilliant strategic legal mind with the ability to relate to clients from all walks of life’; and the ‘thorough and sharp’ Polly Sweeney.
Kingsley Napley LLP has a fantastic reputation for public law and frequently handles judicial reviews and public inquiries, in addition to advising on information law. Adam Chapman is ‘a splendid tactician who sees the bigger picture but never misses the small print’. The group is defending the FCA in judicial review proceedings over the proper interpretation of sanctions imposed on Rosneft (and other Russian companies) restricting access to the UK’s capital markets through the use of global depositary receipts. The ‘highly professional and knowledgeable’ Emily Carter is also recommended.
Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s team has ‘a detail-oriented approach’ and advises corporate clients and public authorities across a broad range of sectors. Simon Kamstra acted for SSE in judicial review proceedings brought by RWE challenging Ofgem’s changes to charging methodology. Commercial litigator Bill Gilliam heads the team, which includes ‘rising star’ Paul Rowley.
Bircham Dyson Bell acts for a large number of regulatory bodies, as well as local authorities and private sector clients. Recent highlights include successfully defending a judicial review challenge in relation to the scope of the Health and Care Professions Council’s powers to amend allegations already referred to the Conduct and Competence Committee. Practice head David Mundy and Nicholas Evans are the key contacts.
In 2015, Eversheds LLP recruited legal director Shaun Jamieson from Cardiff City Council, bolstering a public law practice that has considerable inquiries expertise. Key recent work includes its involvement in the high-profile Independent Jersey Care and Trojan Horse inquiries. Peter Watkin Jones is ‘an outstanding strategist whose vast experience inspires confidence’. Sarah Jones is ‘unflappable in a crisis’.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has notable expertise in EU public law and is frequently instructed to advise the government on public law matters. Recent highlights include advising the Ministry of Defence on defence infrastructure and assisting the government with the EU public law aspects of the disposal of shares in Royal Mail and Eurostar. Paul Bowden leads the team, which includes Tom Snelling, who ‘goes above and beyond for his clients at every given opportunity and has a comprehensive understanding of complex legal issues’.
Hickman and Rose is ‘an extremely impressive outfit, particularly in the areas of criminal justice public law challenges, public inquiries and inquest work’. Daniel Machover is ‘a well-established leader’ and Stefano Ruis is praised for his ‘determination to ensure that a client is represented to the absolute best of his ability’.
Hodge Jones & Allen LLP has a strong claimant practice, and regularly handles public law challenges arising from criminal justice work or police law. The team acted for 30 cyclists and members of the Critical Mass cycling organisation, in a group action against the police. Jocelyn Cockburn ‘fights the best she can’, and is a key name for inquests and civil liberties. Sasha Barton is ‘exceptionally bright and articulate’.
Olswang LLP regularly handles judicial review cases in the media and gambling sectors, where the firm has an outstanding reputation. Head of public law Dan Tench ‘combines his experience in media with cutting-edge public law expertise’, and is advising UK Cinema Association on the legality of Digital Cinema Media’s policy not to show political or religious advertising content in cinemas. Tamsin Blow is ‘sharp and gets things done’.
‘Uniformly excellent in all aspects’, Trowers & Hamlins LLP is noted for its ‘deep knowledge and understanding of local authority practice’ and for its willingness to ‘work collaboratively to provide solutions’. Lucy James acted for the London Borough of Enfield in judicial review proceedings challenging the Department for Transport’s minimum service specification in the tender process for the East Anglia rail franchise. Helen Randall is another name to note.
Browne Jacobson LLP’s client list includes local government bodies, parliamentary ombudsman, environmental regulators and healthcare bodies. Laura Hughes acted for Natural England in judicial review proceedings concerning its application of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) Regulations. Ros Foster and Richard Barlow are ‘very knowledgeable and personable’.
Dentons’ team handles advisory work and judicial reviews for public sector clients. Christopher McGee-Osborne ‘confronts difficult and challenging issues head-on in a thorough and pragmatic manner, with a view to the long-term repercussions for all parties’. Stephen Ashworth and Mark Bassett are also recommended.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP regularly advises corporate clients, governments and NGOs on a range of public law matters and regulatory disputes. Patrick Doris has extensive public law experience, which includes particular strength in EU law, commercial human rights issues and commercial judicial reviews.
Sharpe Pritchard’s experience encompasses judicial review claims and statutory planning appeals on behalf of local authorities. Trevor Griffiths represented Suffolk Coastal District Council and Cheshire East Council in a joint hearing at the Court of Appeal regarding the construction and effect of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Simpson Millar LLP is considered a leader on public law issues concerning children in care and young people leaving care, and also has particular strength in education matters. Oliver Studdert is ‘a brilliant lawyer who deals with the details without losing sight of the bigger picture’. Angela Jackman and Dan Rosenberg are ‘particularly good’.
Slaughter and May handles contentious and non-contentious public law matters for public and private sector clients. Recent highlights include acting for Gallaher in a judicial review claim against the Competition and Markets Authority. Mark Horton and Elizabeth Barrett are the main contacts.
Weightmans LLP advises regulatory and public sector bodies including the Care Quality Commission, the Local Government Ombudsman and several NHS trusts. Simon Goacher is recommended alongside Martin Forshaw and Nick Peel, who provide ‘timely and accurate advice’. Kiran Bhogal joined Hill Dickinson LLP in January 2016.
Anthony Gold is experienced in handling challenges to compulsory purchase and social security benefits, and advises on councils’ duties to the homeless. Andrew Brookes and Giles Peaker are the main contacts. Sara Stephens is ‘capable in dealing with sustained, difficult and sometimes aggressive questioning from MPs’ and ‘continually shows a wider political commitment to legal aid and to ensuring that her clients have safe and suitable accommodation’.
Birnberg Peirce & Partners is highly regarded for pursuing actions against the police and advising on unlawful detention. Gareth Peirce and Marcia Willis Stewart are notable names.
Capsticks LLP, a market leader in the healthcare sector, regularly defends the NHS in judicial review challenges. Gerard Hanratty’s advice ‘reflects a broad and current experience of many types of NHS organisations, and up-to-date knowledge of central policy’.
DLA Piper represented the Scottish Police Authority in judicial review proceedings. Paul Stone and Hazel Moffat are the key contacts.
Hill Dickinson LLP represents healthcare sector clients in a wide range of public inquiries. Emma Stockwell’s team was further strengthened by the arrivals of Kiran Bhogal and David Hill from Weightmans LLP.
At Lester Morrill Solicitors, Dr Keith Lomax’s team has particular expertise representing the traveller community in pursuing judicial review challenges of local authority enforcement decisions. Keith Coughtrie and Rhiannon Jones are praised for their ‘attention to detail and efficient responses’.
Matthew Gold & Company Limited, Solicitors has a claimant-focused practice that is ‘highly committed to its clients’ and is experienced in bringing challenges to public authority decisions. Key names include Matthew Gold and the ‘extraordinary’ Clare Jennings.
Mills & Reeve LLP attracts praise for its ‘intellectually robust and commercially driven advice’. The team represents a large number of education and healthcare sector clients in public and administrative law cases. Richard Sykes is the key contact.
TV Edwards LLP is best known for its experience in housing and community care law, where it frequently acts for homeless adults and vulnerable children. The highly regarded Jane Pritchard heads the four-partner team, which includes Katie Brown.
Burges Salmon LLP is ‘extremely knowledgeable and good at providing in-depth analysis of complex legal questions’. Clients include the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the Department for Transport, the Home Office and FirstGroup. Gary Soloman and John Houlden are the names to note.
At Duncan Lewis Solicitors, Toufique Hossain is ‘a genuine star’ for challenges in the immigration and civil liberties space.
Imran Khan and Partners has a strong offering in the field of criminal justice and police-related matters. Imran Khan and Sarah McSherry are the key contacts.
Akhtar Raja heads the team at Quist Solicitors, which has notable strength in immigration-related public law litigation.
Richard Buxton has a niche in handling environmental judicial review proceedings. Name partner Richard Buxton is recommended.