SWALA Annual Lecture – Wednesday, 20th April – “Public Law: Solution or Swindle?”

Delivering the SWALA annual lecture at St John’s Chambers in Bristol on Wednesday 20th April 2016, Mr Justice Coulson offered an intriguing assessment of the areas of public law which he has been called on to consider during his judicial career.

Before his appointment to the bench, Mr Justice Coulson was a practitioner at the construction Bar and as a QB judge had covered the full range of QB work including crime. He has, as a result, largely become involved in public law work, other than in his specialist field, since becoming a judge.  He was therefore, after reminding us that the CPR does apply in the Administrative Court, able to provide an original and generalist’s view of the impact and importance of public law in five key areas Continue reading

Law of Consultation Overview and Case Update – 29th September 2015

On 29th September 2015 Burges Salmon LLP generously hosted the third meeting of SWALA. The meeting was well attended by a number of solicitors and barristers who have an interest in Administrative Law in the South West of England. There was a healthy mixture of practitioners in private practice and those employed by public authorities.

The focus of the meeting was twofold. Firstly, consideration of the law of consultation and recent case law. Secondly, the linked but distinct topic of the role of judicial review in renewable energy industry in the UK.

The first speaker was Emily Heard of Bevan Brittan Continue reading

Training: How to do Judicial Review…in the West!

In collaboration with SWALA, Public Law Project (PLP) are putting on a one day course at the University of West of England (UWE) on  11 June 2015:  How to do Judicial Review…in the West!

The one day event is a complete course to provide lawyers and advisers, policy people and decision makers with an understanding of public law principles and how they operate in bringing and defending judicial review claims.  The course is also relevant to those working in campaigning organisations with a legal strategy and those representing and advising marginalised groups in society.

For more information and booking please visit the booking page.

Jurisdiction of the Administrative Court and the Court of Protection: should there be an overlap?

SWALA’s second meeting took place at the offices of Clarke Willmott on 5th March 2015.

The topic under discussion was the interface between the jurisdictions of the Court of Protection and the Administrative Court in best interests decision-making.

Taking a case study of P, an elderly and incapacitous care home resident who was deprived of her liberty, the panel of Polly Sweeney of Irwin Mitchell, Gabriel Beeby of Guildhall Chambers and Jess Flanagan of Clarke Willmott explored both jurisdictions’ remit Continue reading

Mr Justice Hickinbottom: The Administrative Court – The Next Step

Mr Justice Hickinbottom, who is the Queen’s Bench Liaison Judge for the Western Circuit, gave SWALA’s inaugural lecture “The Administrative Court – The Next Step” on 20th November 2014 at the offices of Bevan Brittan LLP.

SWALA has been formed to bring together all practitioners with an interest in Administrative Law in the South West of England.  It welcomes solicitors and barristers both in private practice and employed by public authorities.   Its first meeting was well attended by the professions and also members of the local judicary and court staff.

In his lecture Mr Justice Hickinbottom not only welcomed the formation of SWALA and explained the history and advantages of the regional jurisdiction of the Administrative Court, but went on to consider, in depth, the intractable problem of how a court can assess the proportionality of an administrative act which engages an individual’s human rights without trespassing on the area of discretion, which constitutionally belongs to the decision maker.  By reference to cases including R (SB) v Governors of Denbigh High School [2006] UKHL 15, Miss Behavin’ Ltd v Belfast City Council [2007] UKHL 19, R (Stevens) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWHC 792 (Admin) and R (Nagre) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 720 (Admin), Hickinbottom J expressed the view that the differences between the approach required by ECHR jurisprudence and the traditional Wednesbury approach could be exaggerated and explained how a court should allow considerable deference to a decision, which on its face properly took into account the human rights engaged.