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Commercial and regulated industries are faced with an increasingly complex landscape of regulatory and governmental decision making, resulting in more contentious and non-contentious issues which require specialist advice.

Our market leading Public Law and Regulatory practice has unrivalled specialist expertise and experience in advising clients on the full range of contentious and non-contentious administrative and public law and regulatory issues. We bring a commercial and strategic approach, protecting our clients' positions in anticipated regulatory and Governmental decision-making, and in proceedings and investigations.

We regularly assist our clients with:

We are highly experienced in all forms of disputes involving challenges to public body decision making, including judicial review, human rights challenges, statutory appeals, disciplinary proceedings and regulatory processes. These specialised forms of litigation require a thorough understanding of the substantive principles and procedural rules. We act frequently on cases at all levels of the court system (including in the Supreme Court) and have an established reputation for representing all parties – whether claimant, defendant, interested party, or intervening third party – giving us a unique holistic perspective.

We represent those both bringing and defending litigation arising from public procurement processes. These disputes are often high value, fast-paced and technical, meaning that our broad experience and specialist knowledge are very valuable in this context.

We help clients with the legal aspects of consultation responses and wider strategies for engagement with Government / regulators, using our knowledge of public law principles to gain effective traction. Acting for both private clients and public bodies, we bring a range of perspectives which helps clients to obtain an optimal outcome while preserving key ongoing relationships with Government and regulators. Our disputes experience helps us to ensure that clients 'put their best foot forward' in advance of any litigation.

We are trusted advisers to those involved in public inquiries, under regulatory investigation, and appearing before Parliamentary select committees. We give fast, practical guidance and are adept at managing the procedural, substantive, and strategic considerations which arise, including the increasingly important reputational aspects.

We advise clients on the provision of information to, and how best to obtain information from, public authorities who are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (and similar environmental legislation).

External Recognition

Herbert Smith Freehills’ Administrative and Public Law practice is consistently ranked in Band 1 of the Legal 500 and Chambers UK legal directories.

Chambers UK Legal Guide 2023:

“The depth of advice provided by the team is unparalleled.”

“Herbert Smith Freehills understand the commercial imperatives, stay well on top of the detail and are able to respond within set timescales.”

“They are one of the best firms in commercial judicial reviews.”

Legal 500 Rankings 2023:

“Excellent tactical awareness and a thorough knowledge of public law issues.”

‘Exceptionally thorough.”

“One of the few truly excellent public law teams in the city with depth at both partner and associate level.”

Examples of Recent Work

  • Gina Miller v Prime Minister – Representing John Major in his intervention in the above case in which he made submissions as to why the Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament from some point between 9 – 12 September to 14 October 2019 was unlawful.
  • Church of England – Representing the Church of England in its role as a core participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
  • Stagecoach – Acting for Stagecoach on public procurement litigation and judicial reviews concerning the East Midlands and South Eastern rail franchises
  • KPMG – 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
  • Cuadrilla Resources Limited – Successfully defending a total of five judicial reviews and two statutory challenges to the grant of consents, permits and planning permission for exploration works for hydraulic fracturing
  • Centre for Advice on the Individual Rights in Europe – Acting in a number of interventions in the Supreme Court, including regarding a decision of the Secretary of State relating to human trafficking.