Every day many thousands of decisions are made on our behalf by the state. The consequences for ordinary people and communities can be life-changing.
Judicial review is the main tool that enables the Court to hold public bodies to account where there is no appeal. The Court can determine if decision-makers have acted fairly, in good faith, rationally and only using the powers that they have for their proper purposes. These are the ‘public law’ principles which every public decision-maker – from ministers to front-line officers – must respect.
It is also important that decision-makers do not breach laws made to protect fundamental rights and interests such as the Human Rights and Data Protection Acts 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and what remains of EU law post-Brexit. These laws help to ensure that people are treated with dignity, basic freedoms are not overridden, personal information is not misused and that characteristics fundamental to everyone’s identity, like race, gender, sexuality and disability, are respected and do not lead to unfair treatment.
To be effective, public law remedies like judicial review have to be used without delay (in most cases the Court will need to be approached within three months, but in some cases involving planning and procurement, for example, much sooner).
If you suspect that a significant unlawful decision is about to be, or already has been made, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.
With that advice, individuals and communities can make sure their voices are heard and properly taken into account. A specialist public law solicitor can often put a public authority back on the right track. Officials may be persuaded to change their minds through a powerfully worded letter, complaint or internal appeal. Where things go seriously wrong, an expert solicitor can act decisively to challenge a public authority and bring about real accountability using judicial review. Judicial review can lead to bad decisions being overturned and to authoritative rulings on the legality of policies, rules and procedures. Serious delays can be brought to an end. Judicial review can also develop the law and help large groups of people with similar problems.
Our team is here to help. If you are seeking advice on a public law problem, or guidance on how to avoid one ever arising, do get in touch.
Our work makes a real difference to our clients and others with similar problems. For example, using judicial review, our clients have:
- Ensured that legal aid is available as widely as possible and on a non-discriminatory basis
- Overturned government refusals properly to investigate wrongdoing, hold public inquiries into state failures and neglect or accept the findings of investigatory bodies
- Revealed serious legal flaws in regulatory and licensing decisions that would have been fatal to professionals’ ability to work and businesses’ futures
- Challenged a wide range of unlawful police and security service practices including arrests and searches, attempts to curtail the rights of protestors and indefinite retention of DNA and personal information
- Prevented unlawful funding cuts to crucial local services, including education, school transport, and health and social care
- Secured NHS treatment which had previously been refused, including new medicines and specialist care
- Reversed refusals to prosecute criminals on behalf of victims of crime, ensuring their voices are heard in the process
- Challenged wrongly issued cautions and unlawful prosecutions on behalf of those accused of crimes
- Exposed unlawful immigration detention and Home Office policies
- Obtained social care within the home and residential care for adults and children
- Prevented residential care home closures
- Empowered local people and community organisations to overturn planning and environmental decisions
- Challenged decisions in police complaint investigations
- Challenged Coroners’ decisions at inquests
- Challenged eligibility and levels of compensation awarded under the statutory miscarriage of justice scheme
These are just examples. If you have a legal problem involving any public authority, please do get in touch. We will see what we can do to help.
What others say
The Bindmans public law team is packed full of outstanding lawyers and is exceptionally well led by Jamie Potter and John Halford. All the team members are very adept at working to the extremely tight timescales required by public law cases. They have the right support infrastructure to progress public law litigation effectively.Legal 500 2022 – Administrative and Public Law
Bindmans’ great strengths are their depth of knowledge of public law, relationships with specialist counsel and ability to advise both individuals, organisations and companies. They are fantastic to work with and formidable opponents.Legal 500 2022 – Administrative and Public Law
They offer a really high-end service and are extremely good at what they do. They are also responsive and flexible.Chambers and Partners 2022 – Administrative and Public Law
They have done a stellar job on all matters and I wouldn’t hesitate to turn to the team on any big public law case.Chambers and Partners 2022 – Administrative and Public Law
They have a good strategic sense on complex litigation. They are particularly on the pulse in seeing how cases fit together and how to get to the end result.Chambers and Partners 2022 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
They have a depth of intelligence and insight that they couple with an ability to advise in a coherent and logical way.Chambers and Partners 2022 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
They have a very high standard across the board and they have really fantastic lawyers across the whole firm.Chambers and Partners 2022 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
Market leaders in public law, demonstrating prowess in the defence of judicial reviews alongside organisational claimant work to bolster its standout presence in traditional claimant cases.Chambers and Partners 2021 – Administrative and Public Law
Jamie Potter is applauded by interviewees as ‘hugely talented lawyer’. He co-heads the firm’s public law and human rights team and his expertise encompasses judicial reviews, human rights and public procurement. An interviewee notes: ‘His combination of warm interpersonal skills and exceptional knowledge of the law sets him apart from many of his peers’. Another source remarks: ‘He is greatly experienced in public law and is without a doubt among the best solicitors I have ever worked with’.Chambers and Partners 2021 – Administrative and Public Law
The team at Bindmans LLP represents claimants in strategic litigation challenging legislation and government policy, regularly reaching the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Clients include individuals affected by state decisions as well as NGOs. Areas of expertise include access to welfare, access to justice and access to healthcare. Also increasingly active on regulatory and commercial public law challenges.Chambers and Partners 2019 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
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.Legal 500 2018 – Administrative and Public Law
We feel like we are in very safe hands. It is a very strong team. It feels like they are on our side but not ‘yes’ men or women. They are not afraid to challenge us and help us strengthen our position. A dream team.Chambers and Partners 2018 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
One of the main strengths is Bindmans’ unrivalled reputation in the field of public law. Instructing Bindmans was in itself a demonstration that we were serious about the subject matter of the claim.Chambers and Partners 2018 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
‘Head and shoulders above its competition’, Bindmans LLP is ‘outstanding’ for claimant judicial reviews. Public interest litigation and human rights expert Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) – who is ‘a fine example of what is best in the legal profession’ – co-heads the practice and recently brought a CrowdJustice-funded High Court challenge against the Secretary of State for Health (SSH), Jeremy Hunt, on behalf of Justice for Health and four directors, who alleged that the SSH did not provide clarity on whether he would impose a contract on junior doctors; the court found that no contract had been imposed upon the doctors, stating that they were free to negotiate with their employers. ‘A legend in his field’, and widely regarded as ‘the best claimant solicitor in the country’, practice co-head John Halford represented the Public Law Project in successfully challenging the former Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling’s decision to introduce a ‘residence test’, which could have restricted access to legal aid for migrants. Jamie Potter ‘has excellent experience’ and has been retained by Palestine Solidarity Campaign to file a judicial review against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SSCLG) pertaining to amendments in Local Government Pension Schemes, which allegedly prohibit from using pensions and procurement to divest from companies involved in Israeli human rights violations.Legal 500 2017 – Administrative and Public Law
[The team] represents claimants in strategic litigation challenging legislation and government policy, regularly reaching the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Clients include individuals affected by state decisions as well as NGOs. Areas of expertise include access to welfare, access to justice and access to healthcare.Chambers and Partners 2017 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
It is partly the calibre of the people they have in their public law team and partly their commitment and attention to detail.Chambers and Partners 2017 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
I was impressed. They always kept me involved and updated throughout the process.Chambers and Partners 2017 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
Jamie Potter brings a commercial perspective to Bindmans LLP’s public law offering. He is singled out for his ‘extremely good knowledge of the field. He is extremely diligent, committed to clients, very responsible and a joy to work with’. Another client praises his ‘sound, straightforward advice, that is easy for me to understand. Also, no matter what his workload, I feel that he makes time for me. He always treats us like a priority’.Chambers and Partners 2017 – Administrative and Public Law
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.Legal 500 2016 – Administrative and Public Law
Established administrative and public law team advising claimants in cases ranging from access to justice to animal welfare. Leads the way on challenges to public policy and law, including right to die and legal aid reform. Also handles public contracting issues and public law disputes brought on the ground of equality.Chambers & Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
They are capable of being political in some of their actions and are willing to take an issue as wide as it needs to go.Chambers and Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law
They are tenacious in that they fight very hard on behalf of their client.Chambers and Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law
The firm is greatly committed to its cases and to social justice.Chambers and Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law
John Halford handles cases involving access to public services including legal aid and free school transport. Market sources say he ‘fights tooth and nail for his clients; he’s dedicated, creative and immensely knowledgeable’.Chambers and Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
Saimo Chahal focuses on public interest litigation, with sources noting that she is ‘highly skilled and particularly knowledgeable on challenging accepted standards of practice in medical care matters’. Clients say: ‘Nothing is too much trouble for her, and she’s very supportive through a case’.Chambers and Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
Stephen Grosz acts for claimants in a range of public law challenges including those arising from access to justice and regulatory disputes. He recently advised the EMAG on the public law issues arising from compensation arrangements which were made in line with Sir John ChadwickChambers and Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
Jamie Potter of Bindmans LLP acts on a wide range of public and administrative law cases in the commercial context. He focuses on judicial review, contentious procurement, human rights and parliamentary procedure work. Clients say: ‘He is extraordinarily knowledgeable about how to apply public law processes to business’.Chambers and Partners 2016 – Administrative and Public Law: Traditional Claimant
The ‘professional and committed’ Bindmans LLP has expanded its profile in commercial judicial review work with the recruitment of former Hogan Lovells International LLP associate Jamie Potter, who was promoted to partner in 2015. Clients comment that Potter ‘has really made his mark’. The firm continues to handle the full remit of administrative and public law advice for traditional claimants. Practice co-heads John Halford and Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) are standout practitioners […]. Anna Thwaites joined the firm from Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.Legal 500 2015 – Administrative and Public Law
Well prepared, determined and tenacious.Legal 500 2015 – Administrative and Public Law
Extraordinary passion and empathy.Legal 500 2014 – Administrative and Public Law
Highly industrious, tenacious and well-informed.Legal 500 2014 – Administrative and Public Law