All public bodies are tasked with making important decisions about the exercise of their public functions. Those decisions (including those of central government, local government, regulators and NHS bodies) often impact directly on people's lives, the rights of citizens and the way in which companies, other public bodies and professions operate.
Legal issues arising in the context of public law often involve questions of EU Law, statutory and commercial regulation, human rights and public and private international law. We have the experience and blend of skills to deal with this. Whilst the Courts do not interfere lightly with the exercise of a public body's discretion, they will ensure (in appropriate cases) that those decisions are made lawfully. For example, basic procedural rights are complied with, that decisions are rational and that human rights are observed.
Adept at handling high profile judicial reviews and offering regulatory advice across a range of sectors. "They were very impressive. They took on board our issues and were clear in the risks and benefits" "It is helpful having the stability of the team and their thoughtful understanding of regulatory detail"
Bevan Brittan is a market leader in dealing with a wide variety of public and administrative law matters, including the following areas:
- advice on governance and robust decision making
- advice on public consultations including impact assessments and equalities duties
- challenges to public body decision-making (including Central and Local Government and Health Bodies)
- planning appeals
- public procurement challenges
- professional discipline and fitness to practice
- complaints concerning CQC decision making – the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England
- complaints to ombudsman and challenges to ombudsman decision-making
- complaints to Information Commissioner and appeals to the First Tier Tribunal
- judicial review.
Bevan Brittan acts for a full range of public sector bodies and entities who exercise public functions.
Our clients include:
- central government departments
- local authorities
- police and crime commissioners
- fire and rescue authorities
- NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts
- clinical commissioning groups
- housing associations
We work closely with our clients at all stages of a decision-making process to ensure that it is robust. Often this includes ensuring the decision-making process has followed the correct procedures, that all relevant information has been taken into account and that the decision is well-reasoned. If the decision is the subject of a complaint or challenge, we help our clients to review the decision and, assuming it is appropriate, to defend the challenge – whether that be through an internal review procedure, the High Court, First Tier Tribunal or through a means of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
We also act for private entities who are impacted on a regular basis by the decisions of the above, for example in bringing a challenge to a procurement decision, in challenging the decision of a regulator or in the implementation of decisions which impact on the distribution of public funds. We run a market leading practice in collective actions, including complex multi-party litigation.
We acted for the Claimant in the judicial review of the Legal Aid Agency's Crime Duty Solicitor Tender process R (Fair Crime Contract Alliance Ltd) v The Lord Chancellor. This judicial review was a challenge to the outcome of a £1.3bn Ministry of Justice procurement of criminal legal aid contracts. It was described as one of the most complex and challenging pieces of litigation ever seen and rated by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases of 2016.
We advised Colchester Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust on responding to co-ordinated enforcement action taken by CQC and Monitor following adverse inspection findings in relation to irregularities regarding cancer waiting time data. This involved considered representations in response to proposed enforcement action and advising the Trust on the handling of a subsequent independent investigation including issues relating to data protection and defamation risks.
We acted for the waste management company and applicant for planning permission in respect of a new energy recovery facility in Beddington. The grant of planning permission by the defendant local authority was subject to judicial review in the High Court. The decision was successful defended in the High Court and the new facility was allowed to go ahead.
We acted for the Local Government Ombudsman in successfully defending a Judicial Review challenge to the scope of her jurisdiction to investigate complaints and the interpretation of the LGO’s guidance on remedies in both the High Court and Court of Appeal in (R (ER)) v. Local Government Ombudsman  EWCA Civ 1407). The claim concerned the jurisdiction of the LGO to investigate a complaint in circumstances where the complainant had pursued alternative legal remedies.