Practice Areas

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Administrative Law - Judicial Review

Administrative law concerns the interface between the citizen and the state (the state for this purpose including governmental organisations and local authorities). Cases are usually brought in the Administrative Court (part of the High Court, Queen's Bench Division) by way of the procedure known as Judicial Review (the Court's permission is needed before an application for Judicial Review can be made). It is a particular feature of Judicial Review that proceedings must be commenced promptly. A number of statutes (for example the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) require a particular form of statutory challenge in the Administrative Court (for example to planning appeal decisions and development plan documents), whereby proceedings have to be commenced within six weeks of the relevant date.

The coming into force of the Human Rights Act 1998, together with the permeation of European influences throughout domestic regulatory activities, have fundamentally altered the law in many respects and continue to affect the work undertaken in most fields of Chambers' work. Since the Human Rights Act 1998 is primarily concerned with the actions of public authorities, most disputes concerning human rights involve litigation commencing in the Administrative Court.

Some of the advisory work and litigation carried out by Members of Chambers reflects Chambers' specialism in planning, waste, licensing and environmental law. In the case of Judicial Review, this tends to involve the making of challenges to decisions of local planning authorities and the Environment Agency by third parties and/or resistance to such challenges on behalf of local authorities and developers. Frequently the party aggrieved by a planning appeal decision (developer, local planning authority or third party) will seek to overturn the decision through statutory challenge.

But the scope of Chambers' Administrative Law practice is much wider. For example, local government law in all its aspects (powers, procedures and finance) is something upon which members of Chambers frequently advise, and this often involves scrutiny of the powers of central government, and appearance for or against government departments and agencies. Examples of other areas of Administrative Law are: education and election law (several members of Chambers are Assistant Boundary Commissioners); vehicle and traffic regulation; the law relating to Care in the Community; sewers and watercourses; highway law (including footpaths); health and safety; and the law of village greens. Members of Chambers are often asked to advise in relation to the role and powers of the Ombudsmen (especially the Commissioner for Parliamentary Administration and the Commissioners for Local Government Administration) and to appear in associated litigation.

Members contribute regularly to the Solicitor's Journal Public Law Workshops

Some of this Administrative Law work involves legally-aided clients.

Notable Administrative Law cases in which Members of Chambers have been involved in recent years include:

Basic Principles of Administrative Law

  • R (Burkett) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC (the House of Lords determined the proper approach to time-limits for judicial review)
  • Bolton MBC v Secretary of State; and South Bucks DC v Porter (No.2) (in both of which the House of Lords considered the scope of the duty to give reasons)
  • R (Wall) v Brighton and Hove City Council (Administrative Court quashes first instance planning permission for failure to give reasons)
  • Eco-Energy (GB) Ltd v First Secretary of State (the Court of Appeal considered the scope of a "person aggrieved" to challenge a planning appeal decision)
  • R (Condron) v National Assembly of Wales (the Court of Appeal considered bias in planning decision-making)
  • R v Secretary of State ex p. Slot (Court of Appeal considers rules of natural justice)
  • Berkeley v Secretary of State for the Environment; and Wells v Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (the House of Lords and European Court of Justice considered the operation in domestic law of the European duty of good faith co-operation under article 5 of the EU Treaty)

Human Rights

  • R (Alconbury Developments Ltd) v Secretary of State; and R (Adlard) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC (the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal considered the role of Article 6 of the ECHR in relation to planning appeal procedures)
  • Aston Cantlow PCC v Wallbank (the House of Lords considered the ambit of "public authority" under the Human Rights Act 1998)
  • R (B) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office (the Court of Appeal considers application of ECHR in UK diplomatic premises abroad)
  • R (Wilson) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (the Court of Appeal considers Article 14 in relation to gypsies)

Councillors' Role

  • R v Flintshire CC ex p. Armstrong Braun (the Court of Appeal considered lawfulness of standing orders preventing lone councillor from placing items on agenda)
  • R (Richardson) v North Yorkshire CC (the Court of Appeal interpreted the Local Authorities' Model Code of Conduct)

Charging Powers

  • R (Westminster City Council) v Mayor of London; and Walmsley v Transport for London (the Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal considered aspects of the Central London Congestion Charging Scheme)


  • R (Balchin) v Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration; and R v Local Government Commissioner for Administration ex p.Turpin (the Administrative Court quashed decisions of respectively the Parliamentary and Local Government Ombudsmen)


  • R v Cambridge University ex p.Persaud (the Court of Appeal considers fairness in respect of duty to disclose supervisor and referees' reports when deciding whether to deregister PhD student)
  • Nash v Chelsea College of Art and Design (Administrative Court considered the duty to give reasons in an educational context)
  • R (Varma) v H.R.H.The Duke of Kent (Administrative Court considers jurisdiction to quash decisions of University Visitors)
  • R (Haracoglou) v Department of Education and Skills (in case concerning whether a student was resident in UK, Administrative Court determines substantive issue itself rather than remitting to decision maker)


  • R v Greenwich LBC ex p.Glen International Ltd (the Court of Appeal quashed decision to refuse housing renovation grant)
  • Westminster City Council v Glen International Ltd (High Court declares claim to recover cost of Housing Act works time-barred)
  • R (Glen International) v Southwark LBC (the Administrative Court quashes council's withdrawal of HMO grants and considers inacceptablility of late reasons)

Child Protection

  • R (B) v London Borough of Southwark and Bishop of Southwark (Administrative Court considers responsibilities in relation to child protection)

Administration of Justice

  • Kent Coroner v Terrill (contempt of court proceedings in Administrative Court for failure to obey a witness summons to attend Coroner's Court)