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Administrative and Public Law

Helping clients navigate the rising tide of public law


Commercial and regulated industries are faced with an increasingly complex landscape of public sector law and governance, resulting in more contentious and non-contentious issues arising which require specialist advice.

We have an unrivalled track record helping claimants, defendants, interested parties or intervening third parties in administrative and public law issues across a variety of proceedings, including judicial review, tribunal proceedings, governmental and other inquiries, disciplinary proceedings involving public bodies, statutory appeal work and procurement disputes.

We use our breadth of experience in domestic law and European Convention on Human Rights matters, environmental regulation, freedom of information legislation across multiple jurisdictions to assure the best results for our clients.

When acting in litigation for the private sector, we deal with the substantive legal issues involved in government regulation and decision making within a legal and strategic framework. This preserves ongoing relationships with government and other public bodies important to our clients’ businesses.


Our market-leading team sits within Herbert Smith Freehills' Band 1 disputes division. The public law team is ranked in Band 1 of both Chambers and the Legal 500 legal directories in the UK. We are unrivalled for our experience and expertise across all contentious and non-contentious aspects of administrative and public law over an extremely wide variety of sectors. We were the only commercial firm in The Times Top 3 Public Law solicitors' firms in the UK.

"The HSF team stands out for its exceptional experience and knowledge of public law litigation, particularly with a commercial aspect. The team have a real, practical, understanding of their client’s businesses and commercial needs, and how to use public law litigation to serve those needs."
The Legal 500 UK, 2022

"Leading experts in administrative and public law litigation. Adept at representing both applicants and defendants in complex judicial reviews and regulatory challenges. Counsels major clients in the financial services, energy and transportation sectors. Increasingly instructed on behalf of core participants in sensitive public inquiries. Continued involvement advising on a wide range of public law issues arising from Brexit."
Chambers and Partners UK, 2020

Andrew Lidbetter was the winner of the Law Works award in December 2019 for best contribution by an individual for his public law pro bono work.

HSF Madrid’s public law team is ranked in Best Lawyers, Chambers Europe and Legal 500. ““We get responses that are really focused and directed to resolving the specific problem at hand," say clients. In addition, the department is often praised by clients for its "strong technical knowledge and orientation to the client's needs." Clients value Iria Calviño’s "personal involvement in the matters”.”

Iria Calviño enters the rankings "after impressing clients with her handling of public law mandates and her knowledge of the energy, mining and environment sectors". In addition, Iria is included in the Iberian Lawyer’s  "Inspira Law Top 50 Women List", which recognises the most talented women lawyers in the Spanish and Portuguese legal sector.

PUBLIC LAW NOTES - Find the latest developments on our blog.


Recent Experience


Acting in the successful defence of a judicial review concerning KPMG's independent review of a UK bank following allegations of failings in the sale of Interest Rate Hedging Products

EDF Energy and its subsidiary NNB

Acting for the interested party successfully supporting the UK Secretary of State's decision concerning a nuclear power station in judicial review proceedings brought by the National Trust for Ireland (at both first instance and the Court of Appeal) relating to the EU law consultation requirements

Public inquiries

Acting for participants in respect of various public inquiries and Australian Royal Commissions, including the Church Commissioners for England and the Archbishops' Council (Church of England) as a core participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Virgin Trains

Advising its successful challenge of the Department for Transport in relation to the West Coast Mainline franchise


on proceedings initiated against an authorisation granted to a mining project in Spain

The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH

Advising the former Prime Minister in his intervention in a judicial review before the Supreme Court concerning the prorogation of Parliament

Insights and updates

12th July 2022
Amid political uncertainty, the Government last week published its long-awaited Energy Security Bill. Despite the...
18th October 2021
We are delighted to be supporting the Public Law Project again in running its annual...
4th February 2021
In November 2020, the government announced an ambitious ten-point plan to boost green jobs and...
20th July 2020
Following demands from the opposition and various campaigning groups, the Prime Minister has now committed...

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