DEPARTMENT PROFILE

39 Essex Chambers

Administrative & Public Law

17 ranked barristersBand 2London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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Ranked Barristers
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Ranked Barristers

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Exceptionally well established across the full scope of public law work - and notable equally for the volume of Administrative Court advocacy its barristers undertake, as for their appearances in the leading Supreme Court appeals. The set houses numerous counsel who are firm favourites of government departments and local authorities, and who additionally act for claimants and charities. Chambers continues to demonstrate a marked affinity for work involving the provision of health or social care. Barristers from the set have recently defended numerous attempts to defeat the ban on assisted dying in the UK, as well as a high-profile challenge to the closure of Horton General Hospital in Oxfordshire. They have also represented claimants in a judicial review of the Universal Credit scheme, and appeared in the Supreme Court appeal on the revised benefits cap. Planning law is an additional area of key expertise.

Client service:

"The clerks are very helpful, particularly on fee arrangements for public bodies." "Sheraton Doyle and Peter Campbell are user-friendly and commercial, and don't try to swindle you. They're very efficient on dealing with the particular billing requirements various clients have."

Strengths:

Alexander Ruck Keene
Focuses his administrative and public law practice on the scope and application of mental capacity law. He regularly acts for applicants in novel legal challenges. Recently, he has been active in challenges concerning right to die and deprivation of liberty.
"He analyses the nitty gritty of cases and takes them to the next level. He's very helpful in cases with novel issues." "His knowledge and expertise in mental health law is unparalleled."

Strengths:

Benjamin Tankel
A well-respected practitioner who operates a varied public law practice. Key areas of focus include cases concerning healthcare provision, and the law on assisted dying. He acts in judicial reviews for public authorities and commercial entities.
"A really measured advocate." "Very hard-working and thoughtful."
Recent work: Represented the Justice Secretary in resisting a number of attempts to challenge the ban on assisted suicide.

Strengths:

Catherine Dobson
Has acted in some of the most significant judicial reviews of recent times. She has a remarkably broad public law practice covering constitutional and environmental law, and other areas including cases involving the NHS. She represents both claimants and defendants.
"Incredibly thorough and forensic. She goes through the evidence really well, and her attention to detail is exceptional."
Recent work: Acted for the government in Privacy International's Supreme Court appeal on the amenability of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal to judicial review.

Strengths:

Charles Cory-Wright QC
Renowned for his work as special advocate. He is often involved in sensitive cases regarding terrorism and national security and is particularly active in appeals to refusals of naturalisation. 
"Very good at reading the Bench and very persuasive; clients like him too."

Strengths:

Deok Joo Rhee QC
Highly respected silk who possesses notable expertise in major public law cases with elements of EU and human rights law. She regularly represents central government departments and local authorities in immigration, coronial and discrimination-related judicial review.
"She really thinks through all the complex legal issues carefully, is very thorough in her approach and gives very sound advice." "Her submissions are very helpful - she has a good knowledge of administrative law and has got excellent judgement."
Recent work: Acted as lead counsel for the Home Secretary in her defence of the policy of Removal Notice Windows.

Strengths:

Fenella Morris QC
Typically handles administrative and public law cases which arise in the healthcare setting. She acts for claimants, NGOs, NHS bodies and local authorities. Other recent mandates include pensions regulation and local government law. 
"A really versatile, first-class QC who cuts straight to the issue. A delight to work with and an incredibly sharp mind." "She is completely focused on achieving the right outcome for her clients and works incredibly hard to do so. Her presentation in court is concise and to the point, and sets her apart from other QCs who have a more verbose style."
Recent work: Acted for Oxfordshire CCG in a Court of Appeal case concerning its decision to close Horton General Hospital. The appeal considered whether a consultation carried out by the CCG had been lawful.

Strengths:

James Strachan QC
Handles administrative and public law cases on behalf of claimants and defendants. He is experienced in claims arising in the criminal justice and financial services spheres, and his expertise in human rights and planning law strongly complements his public law practice. He has recently acted in a number of leading cases testing the ECHR and domestic law basis of a right to die.
"A very straight advocate whom the court respects." "Very charming, and a very effective advocate who does not take bad points. Really easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for the Justice Secretary in defending a series of judicial review claims arguing for the right to die.

Strengths:

Jenni Richards QC
Wide-ranging public and administrative law practice which includes significant challenges arising in the context of healthcare and inquests. She is instructed by individuals, regulators, local authorities and other public bodies in contentious and non-contentious matters. She has been especially active in disputes arising out of the funding of health services and the regulation of fertility clinics.
"Just outstanding - absolutely the go-to for anything medical." "She just has a way of cutting through the nonsense and slowly building up her arguments so that she does not seem to be arguing at all but just presenting the facts."
Recent work: Acted for four women adversely affected by the roll-out of Universal Credit, in a judicial review challenging the way the Department for Work and Pensions administered the scheme.

Strengths:

Kate Grange QC
Frequently instructed by the UK government in significant judicial review challenges. Her public law practice includes a notable emphasis on human rights and national security.
"The voice of reason, and just an excellent all-round barrister." "She is hard-working and pragmatic, and has excellent judgement."
Recent work: Acted for the government in Privacy International's Supreme Court appeal on the amenability of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal to judicial review.

Strengths:

Katherine Apps
Excels when representing claimants and defendants in complex judicial reviews. She is particularly proficient at public law claims invoking equality and human rights law. She typically acts for central government in challenges to public policy and decisions. She has recently been involved in significant challenges concerning tax, discrimination and pensions.
"Phenomenally intelligent and experienced in complex cases." "Excellent judgement."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a challenge to the treatment of a girl with autism and pathological demand avoidance who had been kept in seclusion or segregation for approximately two years in a hospital.

Strengths:

Lisa Giovanetti QC
Routinely instructed by government defendants in significant judicial review proceedings which involve human rights law. She is an especially strong choice for cases concerning immigration and national security. 
"A brilliant advocate who is calm and charming. She gives practical advice, always with an excellent grip on the detail and ability to identify what really matters – to the client and the court." "A barrister who has real gravitas."
Recent work: Represented the Home Secretary in her defence of judicial review challenges alleging systemic delays in the National Referral Mechanism set up to protect potential victims of trafficking.

Strengths:

Nigel Pleming QC
Maintains a diverse public and administrative law practice which includes acting in regulatory, local government, environmental and human rights challenges.
"A very experienced, calm and authoritative presence. He has got a breadth of experience that means nothing is ever a surprise, and there's a very assured touch to his advice." "Excellent strategically."
Recent work: Acted in a judicial review challenging the Airports National Policy Statement, which outlined plans for an expansion of Heathrow.

Strengths:

Rory Dunlop QC
Acclaimed recent silk who has notable experience, as A-Panel junior counsel, of regularly representing the Home Secretary in judicial reviews of wide-ranging importance.
"Such a tough opponent - there's no aspect of a case he doesn't advance, and you can't miss a single thing because he will spot it. I didn't enjoy that day in court!" "He has an understated and calm advocacy style, is extremely intelligent and quickly gets on top of complex issues."
Recent work: Acted for the Education Secretary in defending a challenge to its policy of providing free childcare to working parents, on the grounds that it discriminated against the families of single parents unable to work.

Strengths:

Steve Broach
Has considerable experience of bringing challenges against local and central government decisions. He is particularly committed to handling cases involving disabled claimants, and is active in challenges involving healthcare provision and housing allocation by local authorities. 
"His advice is excellent. He's forceful and his submissions carry weight. He's also good at dealing with clients - he understand their needs and translates them into good outcomes." "Unbelievably committed and conscientious. Very knowledgeable about special educational needs and the rights of disabled children."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a challenge in the Supreme Court to the lawfulness of the revised benefit cap, on the basis that it unlawfully discriminated against single parents of children under the age of two, and the children themselves.

Strengths:

Steven Kovats QC
Predominantly defends controversial decisions of the UK government. His wide-ranging experience in public and administrative law encompasses cases about criminal justice, foreign affairs, national security, immigration and human rights. He frequently appears in domestic appellate and European courts on behalf of government departments, local authorities and other public bodies. 
"He can concentrate really expansive areas of law and crunch them down to a really persuasive and digestible piece of writing. A very effective advocate."

Strengths:

Victoria Butler-Cole QC
Commands great respect among clients and peers for her vast expertise and impressive advocacy. Her broad health and social care practice includes a substantial number of administrative and public law cases. She is particularly prominent for handling appeals to community care provision, deprivation of liberty challenges and inquests.
"A very savvy public lawyer who gets very quickly to the issues and provides a properly weighed-up assessment. She's very thoughtful, presents really well and is accessible to us and the clients." "She has a style in court which is affable but robust enough to hold her ground when she needs to."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a challenge to a decision of the Senior Coroner for Blackpool, stating that Article 2 was not engaged in the death of a woman with learning disabilities who died of a treatable condition in her care home.

Strengths:

Vikram Sachdeva QC
Respected silk with a strong background in healthcare judicial review. As a former doctor, he brings an unusual depth of knowledge to the field, and is regularly instructed in a wide range of administrative and public law matters.
"Really hands-on and really precise. He identified the key points a lot more easily than his opposition did. He has gravitas and is a fount of knowledge on healthcare law." "Vikram always goes one step further, and you know without a doubt that he's explored every argument to get to the best possible answer and give us the most well-informed advice."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a challenge to the attempt to remove medical services from South Tyneside District Hospital and to relocate them ten miles away at Sunderland District Hospital.

Administrative & Public Law Department

39 Essex Chambers

firm
Department location

81 Chancery Lane

London

Greater London

UK

WC2A 1DD

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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

London (Bar)

Administrative & Public Law


Charles Cory-Wright QC
Band 4
Deok Joo Rhee QC
Band 4
Fenella Morris QC
Band 2
James Strachan QC
Band 3
Jenni Richards QC
Band 2
Kate Grange QC
Band 3