Electoral in London

Bates Wells

Bates Wells advises well-known parties including the Green Party, as well as more newly-established parties, in relation to the law around election and referendum campaigns. The team is also a leading adviser on non-party campaigning for charities and non-profits and, assisted by its strong data privacy team, is able to provide full GDPR compliance to political parties. Co-head of the politics, elections and campaigning team, Simon Steeden  is a longstanding adviser to political parties, while fellow co-head  Rosamund McCarthy Etherington advises a range of organisations including charities, foundations and public benefit organisations in relation to matters such as social media, data, and the relationships between charity law and election law. Additionally, associate Jessica Collings deals primarily with regulatory issues and dispute resolution matters for political parties, while Suhan Rajkumar advises on election and referendum law, as well as campaign finance.

Practice head(s):

Simon Steeden

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Collings; Suhan Rajkumar

Testimonials

‘Suhan Rajkumar and Simon Steeden were our contacts and they worked as a tight-knit team to give exemplary help and advice. They were always very prompt to respond to any inquiry from us. They even came back more than once to ask for updates. They gave us excellent service.’

‘Simon Steeden – warm initial point of contact who grasped what we needed.’

‘Jessica Collings stands out because of her brilliant work ethic. She never fails to engage and always recognises the urgency of certain issues at hand. Even when our case was wrapped up from the pro bono perspective, she has always been happy to engage for smaller matters or refer us promptly to other appropriate members of staff who can help us. She even dropped us a wellbeing email to ask after us. So human, and yet so professional – big thumbs up!’

‘This practice is unusual in that it offers real pro bono help. The service offered is polite, professional and goes beyond what we expected.’

‘The whole practice, from reception to legal advisers were polite, efficient and caring. They helped us enormously with our case.’

‘The team were exemplary and went above and beyond for our charity. For one, they were willing to hold calls in the evening to suit our schedules. They were incredibly knowledgeable and dependable when we encountered issues with our application. The manner in which they advise their clients showed just how important it is to have the right lawyers with years of industry experience. They are well positioned to provide this minefield of charity law to develop the right expertise and incredibly well-trained staff to help us pull through with our application. This certainly gave us confidence working with them.’

Key clients

The Green Party

Labour Campaign for Human Rights

38 Degrees

LexisNexis

Thomson Reuters

Shelter

Avaaz

Wales Audit Office

Citizens UK

Work highlights

  • Primary legal advisers to a leading candidate for the London Mayoral campaign in 2020.
  • Advising the Green Party on matters including the Party’s restructuring and incorporation workstream.

Edwards Duthie Shamash

Edwards Duthie Shamash's broad practice covers all matters pertaining to electoral law, including high-stakes and highly sensitive litigation. The team 'has an encyclopaedic knowledge' of matters such as local government law, judicial reviews, advice to shadow ministers, reputation management, and public inquiries. The firm is a longstanding adviser to the Labour party and acts for a number of key party figures. Senior partner Gerald Shamash's extensive experience mean he is viewed by clients as 'unrivalled' in the market. Other key names in the team include Frances Randle , who acts as the Labour Party’s local government solicitor and is experienced in all areas of administrative, local government, and planning law, and  Kevin Bonavia , whose experience includes acting for clients in matters in the High Court.

Practice head(s):

Gerald Shamash; Frances Randle

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Bonavia

Testimonials

The team has an encyclopaedic knowledge of electoral law and practice and capacity for lateral thinking and giving realistic and robust advice.’

Gerald Shamash is No 1 in this field and is unrivalled.’

Sharpe Pritchard LLP

Sharpe Pritchard LLP specialises in acting for returning officers in contested and high-profile election law cases, as well as providing immediate advice on polling day regarding ballot counting and other controversial and time-sensitive matters. Practice leader and parliamentary agent Alastair Lewis has experience across a range of areas, including public law and human rights law  in addition to electoral law. Partner Emyr Thomas is frequently instructed by returning officers on election cases and 'provides sound judgement' to organisations subject to investigation by the Electoral Commission on matters including alleged breaches of spending limits and rules around donations and loans. Notably, the team was instrumental in arranging the first-ever ‘socially distanced’ recount.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Emyr Thomas

Testimonials

The firm has a sound and wide breadth of expertise in various aspects of local government law and in advising local authorities in complex matters relating to local government. I have instructed them on an election petition matter on the one hand and on the other hand, on housing matters relating to ALMO (arms length management organisation) management agreement. They also provide useful free training sessions through the London Boroughs Legal Alliance, e.g. on local government finance and election law.’

I worked on a protracted election petition case with Emyr Thomas. He has vast knowledge in the complex law of elections and is patient and provides sound judgment and advice to clients, especially in high pressure scenarios. He has developed excellent working relationships with and is respected by other experienced practitioners in the field of election law which is an area of law which can become fractious as the stakes involved for parties in an election petition are high and costly.’

Key clients

Returning Officer for the London Borough of Brent Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for Returning Officer in successfully defending the only election petition which was deposited in 2020.
  • Advised Returning Officer on the complex rules concerning parish council vacancies and on whether a by-election should be called.
  • Advised Returning Officer on publication of material and the taking of decisions during the pre-election period.

Astraea Legal

Based in Liverpool, the 'extremely responsive and helpful' team at Astraea Legal has carved out a specialism advising MPs in the Conservative Party on alleged election law violations and defamation cases, although the team also represents PR executives and acts for independent parish councillors in judicial review proceedings. Additionally, it covers all aspects of election law, as well as reputation management and claims under the Equalities Act 2010. Practice leader James Roochove is a key resource for Conservative politicians, while director Nama Zarroug is an expert in criminal litigation and electoral law.

Practice head(s):

James Roochove; Nama Zarroug

Testimonials

Very good client care, extremely responsive and helpful.’

James Roochove is a class act. Calm, well-briefed, he gets straight to the heart of a matter and puts clients at ease.’

Key clients

Cllr Henry Newman (senior advisor to the Prime Minister)

Robert Largan MP

Craig Mackinlay MP

Johnny Mercer MP

Cllr Oliver Cooper (Leader of Conservative Group, Camden Council)

Monmouth Conservative Association

Paul Davies MS (Former leader of Welsh Conservatives)

Hampstead & Kilburn Conservative Association

Cllr Maria Higson

Cllr Gio Spinella

Work highlights

  • Successfully struck out and obtained summary judgment in multifarious proceedings brought by a former Conservative council candidate and barrister.
  • Acted for Monmouth Conservative Association in injunction proceedings issued by Member of Senedd seeking to prevent local party members reconsidering his adoption as their candidate at next Senedd elections.
  • Obtained public apologies from various social media users, including a Facebook page set up to provide “open scrutiny” of Robert Largan MP’s activities as MP for High Peak.

K&L Gates LLP

The team at K&L Gates LLP has advised the Liberal Democrats since its formation and has been instructed on a regulator basis by campaigns over matters including fundraising and spending, registration, and Electoral Commission investigations. Its mandates include advising high profile clients in relation to  political campaigning around Brexit. Recently appointed practice leader Dylan Moses advises individual candidates regarding investigations by the Electoral Commission, as well as in relation to data protection issues and white collar crime. Associate Rosie Naylor focuses on advising parties and individual candidates on their conduct during election periods. Previous practice leader Piers Coleman retired in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Dylan Moses

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Naylor

Key clients

Liberal Democrats