Public Policy and Governance

Our public law solicitors act for public bodies and major statutory regulators across both industry and professional sectors.

"They are outstanding; they combine high-level legal skills with real human understanding."

Chambers UK 2021

Our expertise in administrative and public law means we are the team of choice for public bodies and major statutory regulators across both industry and professional sectors. We are particularly known for our work with in-house legal teams in the financial, legal, healthcare and energy sectors.
 

Statutory regulators and public bodies

Statutory regulators and public bodies come to us for help in a wide range of circumstances, including:

  • The introduction, planning and implementation of new schemes, based on new statutory powers
  • Assessing the suitability of existing powers in dynamic sectors
  • Refreshing policies and procedures so that they continue to be fit for purpose
  • Ensuring compliance with consultation obligations
  • Observance of the public sector equality duty and human rights legislation
  • Internal investigations and inquiries

Protecting statutory regulators and public bodies' interests

Our goal is to make sure the impact of your activities is always targeted and without unintended consequences. It is therefore extremely important to us to make sure we understand your organisational priorities as well as the interests of your major stakeholders.

We work with public bodies at the early stages of a project or new scheme, as well as providing urgent advice when an unexpected situation arises. Here, the seniority of our team enables us to bring mature and measured judgement. At all times, we strive to work with you to provide clear, timely and commercial advice, which can be easily communicated to all members of your team.

With this focus and our understanding of the wider issues at stake, we can help to ensure you are confidently delivering your key objectives in a targeted, cost effective way and, importantly, within the framework of your statutory duties and responsibilities.

Public law solicitors

You will be working with a team of senior public law solicitors led by Adam Chapman,  Sophie Kemp and Emily Carter. Our expertise extends to our regulatory team, who we work extremely closely with, allowing us to resource a substantial and experienced advisory team.

What directories have said about us

Experience, willingness to challenge and be challenged, understanding of legislation, regulations and drafting skills."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2018

Sources praise the group's abilities in 'sensitive, high-profile, politically inflected work' and attest that 'what is really refreshing is their commitment to their clients and the care they take'..."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Clients are ‘very impressed with the degree of care’ Kingsley Napley LLP has in handling judicial reviews, public inquiries, inquests and regulatory matters."

Legal 500 UK, 2017

They have exceptional capabilities, their strengths are enormous and we have been extremely pleased with the work the public law team has done."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2016

 

Knowledgeable, responsive, thoughtful, professional, well networked and well connected, with a touch of elegance which goes beyond what one normally encounters in a legal firm.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

The team is small but packs a punch well above its size: they are quick, flexible, continuously on the ball and efficient.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Legal advice is always given with an awareness and deep experience of the wider legal context (in our case, public inquiries) and a sensitivity to the client’s objectives.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

 

Latest blogs & news

Judicial Review Reform – waiting for the sting

Long awaited reforms to judicial review were revealed yesterday by Robert Buckland in his Judicial Review and Courts Bill. Thankfully the proposals to suspend quashing orders and limit their retrospective effect retain all-important judicial discretion and, at face value, are milder than feared. However, the decision to exclude the review of Upper Tribunal permission-to-appeal decisions (so called “Cart JRs”) is more troubling, marking the return of ouster clauses and possibly setting the groundwork for the removal of the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court in future legislation.

Safeguarding - 5 golden principles for school leaders

Over the past few weeks there has been a steady stream of disturbing stories alleging sexual harassment and sexual abuse of children attending a variety of schools across the country, not just incidents involving children and adults but in many cases peer-on-peer abuse.

A review of the SRA's Upholding Professional Standards Report 2018/19

The SRA introduced a new assessment and early resolution process focusing on upfront engagement and delivering, where possible, earlier outcomes on concerns reported to it. Additionally, in February 2019, the SRA introduced a revised Enforcement Strategy, setting out its approach to enforcement and the factors it will take into account when considering whether regulatory action is needed. 

Government Launches Public Consultation on Reforms to Judicial Review

On 18 March 2021 the government published the Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) and began a public consultation on reforms to judicial review. This blog provides some initial thoughts on these important developments. For background on the IRAL see our introductory blog here.

Coaching, Teaching and Support Work in Lockdown: Safeguarding and Data Protection considerations when working with children online

The COVID-19 crisis has forced sports clubs, schools, universities and charities to rapidly change their approaches to coaching, teaching and support work. The regulations on social distancing have forced organisations to innovate; services which had previously been offered mostly or wholly in person were rapidly shifted online during “lockdown 1” and will return online at least for the duration of “lockdown 3”.  If the vaccine rollout has the desired effect there will no doubt be some return to “traditional” methods, but it seems very unlikely that the changes brought about by the pandemic will be completely reversed.  In this blog, Claire Parry from Kingsley Napley’s Regulatory team and Fred Allen from the Public Law team look at the challenges organisations face engaging with children online.

Supreme Court rules that Nigerian communities can have their case against Shell heard in the English courts

This morning (12 February 2021) the UK Supreme Court handed down judgment in Okpabi & others v Royal Dutch Shell (“Okpabi”), a case concerning mass oil pollution in the Niger Delta. Judgment is in favour of the claimants, communities representing over 40,000 affected citizens of Nigeria, whose claim against oil conglomerate Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary can now be heard in the English courts.

Business and Human Rights Legislation and the Enforcement Question - A report by Kingsley Napley and Dr Rachel Chambers

Globally, a trend is taking shape towards legislation that asks more from businesses than the reporting obligations of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, in the area of business and human rights.

Regulation and Uptake of the COVID-19 Vaccine

The government has now approved the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The reason they have been able to do this so quickly is because they have taken advantage of the temporary authorisation regime laid out by the Human Medicine Regulations of 2012 and 2020. The 2012 Regulations were updated in 2020 specifically to facilitate the smooth rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the public consultation preceding the introduction of these updated regulations, several respondents raised concerns regarding unlicensed vaccines and immunity from civil liability. In practice, very little is known about these regulations and their application. This article seeks to shed some light on the temporary authorisation regime and suggest a means of alleviating concerns in the context of “vaccine hesitancy”.

Would the Constitution survive a No-Deal Brexit? The Internal Market Bill and its legal controversies

The Internal Market Bill (the “Bill”) has caused a dramatic fallout at home and abroad. It has faced massive defeats in the House of Lords over the month on November. It was the reported reason behind the UK’s most senior legal civil servant announcing his departure from the Government Legal Service.

Brexit and ‘Physical Presence’ Requirements for Irish professionals resident in the UK

As the end of the Brexit transition period draws near, complexities associated with navigating cross-border regulatory regimes have been increasingly brought to the fore. The Law Society of Ireland’s announcement last week, confirming a ‘physical presence’ requirement for solicitors intending to practise in Ireland, has highlighted wider post-Brexit issues surrounding residency requirements and recognition of qualifications for regulated professionals on the British/Irish border.

Parliamentary scrutiny in the time of Coronavirus

As a new nationwide lockdown comes into effect, Stephen Parkinson and Charlie Roe from our Public Law team, consider the often limited role of Parliament in scrutinising restrictive regulations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICO enforcement action – key considerations for charities in the GDPR era

It is now more than two years since the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR came into force, significantly increasing the enforcement powers of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). With the passing of the Act, the ICO gained the power to issue fines amounting to millions of pounds and increased powers to bring criminal prosecutions against organisations who fail to comply with the data protection regime.

Striking a balance or tipping the scales? The Independent Review of Administrative Law and the possible reform of Judicial Review

On 31 July 2020 the Government launched an Independent Review of Administrative Law (‘the Review’). The panel of lawyers and academics, chaired by former Minister of State for Civil Justice Lord Edward Faulks QC (‘the Panel’), has been tasked with examining the potential need for reform of Judicial Review and to ‘consider whether the right balance is being struck between the rights of citizens to challenge executive decisions and the need for effective and efficient government.’

Office for Students refusal to register higher education provider unlawful due to failure to delegate and ‘secret policy’

The Bloomsbury Institute was fighting to survive financially after the Office for Students refused its application for registration. It brought a judicial review challenge which revealed that an unpublished policy had been followed. The policy had been formulated by an official who did not have the power to make the relevant decisions.

International Court of Justice and UN General Assembly do not alter the outcome of the Chagos Islands challenge

In a February 2019 Advisory Opinion, the International Court of Justice stated that, under international law, the decolonisation of Mauritius by the UK has never been lawfully completed and the UK must therefore “end its administration” of the Chagos islands.

Voter ID laws and the way courts interpret legislation

Interpreting legislation is both an art and a science. This recent Court of Appeal case illustrates how judges do it in the context of the statutory scheme used to introduce controversial voter ID pilot schemes.

The inquest process during COVID-19 restrictions

Inquest proceedings, like other legal proceedings in the UK, have been significantly affected by social distancing restrictions and advice arising from the COVID-19 crisis. This blog looks briefly at the impact of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on proceedings, and examines the Chief Coroner’s guidance notes to coroners working during the crisis.

The future public inquiry into COVID-19

The devastation wrought by COVID-19 has led to profound questions about the UK government’s response to the pandemic. Calls for a public inquiry are continuing to mount and are likely to prove difficult to resist. This blog considers the framework for such inquiries, and the key issues likely to form the core of its terms of reference.

COVID-19 and contact tracing apps: A test of public confidence in data privacy?

Dominic Raab announced last week that the current UK lockdown would last for at least another three weeks. These restrictions are unlikely to be relaxed until a large scale plan is in place to track and restrict the spread of the virus. Part of this plan will involve the use of the NHS “contact tracing” app, which we have been told is in an advanced stage of development.

Expenses and Exemptions: Looking at the case of George Greenwood v Information Commissioner (2020)

The recent case of George Greenwood v Information Commissioner (2020) (“Greenwood”) gives useful guidance on the Information Tribunal’s approach when applying one of the s.40(2) exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “FOIA”). When relying on this exemption, public authorities sometimes face the thorny issue of balancing the privacy considerations of third party personal data against principles that militate in favour of disclosing the information. The judgment makes clear that, when considering this balance, the scales are weighed quite significantly towards the privacy rights of third party data subjects.

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