Administrative / Public law & Human Rights

Our lawyers are highly experienced in all areas of public law. The team includes Patrick Hamlin, who was Head of Litigation in the Legal Department of the Hong Kong Government, then Head of the Charities team at the UK Treasury Solicitor's before joining Withers. The team has been enhanced with the arrival of Harvey Knight, formerly at the Financial Services Authority, where he handled its defence of judicial review claims, who brings a depth of financial regulatory expertise and in particular the application of the UK financial services regulatory regime to individuals and their human rights.

We are regularly instructed by coroners in high-profile cases involving human rights issues, as well as acting for national charities in connection with regulatory matters before the Charity Commission and the Attorney General.

Harvey has acted on many high profile commercial judicial review and regulatory matters. Such matters often attract significant media coverage and we are adept in advising how best to manage the media.

We act for private individuals when they get into public law disputes of all descriptions.

We represent clients who wish to challenge the lawfulness of a decision or action by a public body - for example, HM Revenue & Customs, the Charity Commission, the planning authorities, OFCOM, the Press Complaints Commission, the Financial Services Authority, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the Takeover Panel and many others. We also advise public authorities on their duties and obligations, particularly in relation to Freedom of Information Act matters, and individuals and institutions in relation to how to make effective Freedom of Information Act and subject access requests.

"Withers LLP is 'excellent' and is praised for it's 'responsiveness and second-to-none industry knowledge'."

Legal 500, 2014

Recent work

  • Advising Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay on the reform of the Channel Island of Sark's Constitution including its legislature, electoral system, inheritance, land, trust and tax laws to ensure that they comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. This has been achieved as a result of numerous domestic applications in the UK and Guernsey and to the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Representing an individual client who is challenging an assessment to inheritance tax on his late partner's estate. He has applied to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that failure to extend the spouse exemption from IHT to same-sex couples is discriminatory and breaches the Human Rights Act.
  • Advised HM Coroner for Inner West London in a high-profile case concerning the shooting of a beautician at Harvey Nichols by a former boyfriend and fellow employee.
  • Acted for 21 part-time fee-paid immigration judges of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, regarding a judicial decision not to reappoint them on new fixed-term renewable contracts.
  • Advised Tube Lines in successfully defeating the judicial review brought by the Mayor of London against Transport for London to prevent the public-private partnership (PPP) of the London Underground from proceeding.
  • Acted for the Housing Corporation when it was discovered that it had acted unlawfully by committee for many years, resulting in the Housing Corporation (Delegation) Act 2006.
  • Acted for individuals and institutions in relation to potential judicial reviews of decisions of the Financial Services Authority, the Financial Ombudsman Scheme and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
     


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