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The public law sectors continue to face increasing pressure due to funding shortfalls which are adversely affecting local authorities’ ability to meet social care demands and this is also affecting other areas such as education and housing. Local authorities continue to generate work in relation to property sales and building projects - often based on PPPs and PFIs - as well as borrowing and investment matters and cost-cutting shared service agreements. Urban development work continues, although not without some challenges such as the high-profile action taken against Haringey Council to stop its proposed huge urban regeneration project in partnership with Lendlease.

The education sector continues to generate a whole range of commercial mandates, human rights and other disputes. On the commercial side, many higher education institutions are engaging in joint ventures and collaborations with overseas colleges and schools in Asia and the USA, in part with a view to attracting overseas students. High-profile cases where parents are unable to secure specialist school places continue, with actions brought against the local authority where funding for such places is usually the underlying issue. This is in addition to broader work where schools’ and educational establishments’ admissions or exclusions policies are challenged for being unfair or where safeguarding and disciplinary policies are challenged.

The healthcare (and social care) sector is dominated by NHS and Primary Care Commissioning procurement and tendering work together with a range of other commercial work, including the merger of trusts and strategic planning matters. This is in addition to investigations and inquiries concerning deaths and negligence actions against Trusts and practitioners.

Brexit issues continue to generate work. Aside from challenges on the political/electoral front, cases have arisen such as the rights of EU citizens to live in the UK post-Brexit. Immigration more broadly has been at the fore  with highly-publicised cases concerning asylum seekers and the Windrush scandal generating a number of compensation claims.

Civil liberties and human rights are frequently at the core of many public law concerns ranging from immigration or human trafficking to cases brought against the police. Some of the most notable cases in the public law realm include the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse; the inquest into the Birmingham bombings; the ongoing Hillsborough work and the inquiry and related actions in respect of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

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