Our Public law team advises local government, professional bodies, a variety of non-departmental public bodies and other public bodies on a range of public law issues. This includes advice to professional regulators, particularly in the health sector in relation to Fitness to Practice issues, judicial reviews and statutory appeals.

Our advice enables our clients to fulfil their statutory obligations and ensure that their decisions are based on sound principles, follow due process and that they are therefore well placed to defend any judicial review challenge.

We also advise private companies and individuals in respect of their rights in Public law contexts and have extensive experience in advising applicants, respondents and notice parties in judicial review proceedings.

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 Areas of Expertise

Some examples of the types of areas on which we advise include:

  • The powers of the new District Councils in the context of the ongoing reform of public administration culminating in new Councils on 1 April 2015
  • The transitional arrangements resulting from the ongoing reform of local government
  • Advising public bodies on vires issues and the rights of the public to participate in the decision making process
  • Advising private companies and individuals in relation to the challenge of decisions by public bodies by way of judicial review
  • Advising Notice Parties where a decision in their favour has been challenged by a third party in judicial review proceedings
  • Representing respondents in judicial review challenges
  • Advising public bodies on their internal processes and policies to reduce the risk of challenge going forward
  • Advising the public and private sector in relation to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation including dealing with information requests applying exemptions and drafting confidentiality and Freedom of Information clauses for public sector contracts

Why Us?

The depth and breadth of the team’s experience provides an unrivalled offer in the Northern Ireland legal market, a specialism which is recognised by all the legal directories. The Chambers Legal Directory 2015 has recognised our experience in this area for many years and has described Karen Blair, who heads the team as a “very approachable practitioner” who is “very thorough, impressive and sensible and pragmatic to work with”.

Notable Cases

  • Representing the Sentence Review Commissioners in the House of Lords in Re McClean [2005] UKHL46
  • Representing the Life Sentence Review Commissioners in the Re CD case [2008] UKHL33
  • Representing Belfast City Airport as notice party in a number of judicial review applications, including an application by Kinnegar Residents’ Action Group and Others [2007] NI QB90
  • Representing Bryson Recycling in a judicial review against Banbridge District Council][2014] NI QB 9
  • Representing the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry in a number of judicial review applications,, including an application by the Chief Constable [2009] NI QB 9
  • Representing the Billy Wright Inquiry in respect of a number of judicial reviews including an application by witnesses A, B, C, K and N [2007] NI QB 30
  • Representing the Nursing and Midwifery Council in its successful defence of a statutory appeal in respect of a decision to strike off a registered practitioner [2008] NI QB89