Public & Administrative

“A very friendly set, Serjeants’ Inn Chambers boasts a talent pool that is a cut above the rest”.
The Legal 500


Serjeants’ Inn has a long and established reputation in public law and human rights, acting for both claimants and defendants in key cases. Most of our practice areas involve public law issues and Chambers is instructed in landmark cases ranging from police powers to the law on assisted suicide and from obtaining medical treatment to freedom of information.

Medical treatment and welfare:

Illustrative examples of the calibre of our work in this field include:

  • Re Wilson [2023] NICA 54: the first case concerning the health crisis and hospital waiting times in Northern Ireland, where the applicants alleged breaches of the Department of Health’s duty to provide them with timely health care. The Court held that the macroeconomic and political nature of the issues justified less intrusive review.
  • R (ota OK) v The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust v Doctors of the World, The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2021] EWHC 3165: the court considered the nature of the rights to NHS medical care in hospital of people not ordinarily resident in the UK
  • Re MN [2017] UKSC 22: the Supreme Court ruled on the jurisdictional limits of the Court of Protection and the extent of parties’ rights under Articles 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • JR 55 v The Commissioner of Complaints for Northern Ireland [2016] UKSC 22: Gerry Boyle KC was instructed in this historic case in which the Supreme Court considered the extent of an ombudsman’s powers to award compensation and “name and shame” a doctor before the assembly in Northern Ireland. The case had potentially far reaching and expensive implications for medical practitioners and their defence organisations.

Inquests and inquiries:

Members  regularly chair and appear in major public inquiries, such as the ongoing Covid-19 Inquiry, the Infected Blood Inquiry, the Manchester Arena Inquiry, the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and the Dawn Sturgess (Salisbury Poisonings) Inquiry.

They are also instructed on behalf of families and public authorities in high-profile inquests, including those touching the deaths of Gaia Pope-Sutherland, the victims of the Stephen Port murders, Keyham shootings, Guildford pub bombings, Croydon tram derailment, and the three recent London terrorist attacks. This includes important judicial reviews such as Maguire [2020] EWCA Civ 738, a case concerning the scope of the various procedural and substantive duties under Article 2 ECHR (see further details below)

Police law:

Members of Chambers regularly act in high-profile and sensitive proceedings for most police forces across the UK, as well as bodies such as the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

  • W80 [2023] UKSC 24: instructed on behalf of the First Intervener in both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in a case concerning the proper test for self-defence in the context of police misconduct hearings.
  • Barnes [2023] EWHC 2737: successfully resisted an application for judicial review where the defendant dismissed, a probationary police officer, for telling a racist joke that would undermine public confidence in the police.
  • Vetting and probation cases including Victor [2023] EWHC 2119 (Admin), in which our members successfully resisted an application for judicial review where the claimant alleged the decision to withdraw her clearance after she verbally abused a person outside of work in a discriminatory manner was unlawful.
  • Cases on police powers, including Alger (necessity of arrest), Afriyie (use of tasers) and Norman v Adler (search warrants).

Human rights and equality law:

Many of our cases have important, far-reaching ramifications for individual rights and liberties. Our Members are often at the forefront of work that shapes the legal landscape and goes to protect the most vulnerable in our society, including:

  • R (Maguire) [2020] EWCA Civ 738: appeared for the care home provider as an interested party in a case concerning an inquest into the death of a woman with Down’s Syndrome and learning disabilities from a perforated gastric ulcer in circumstances where her family were critical of the actions of care staff and healthcare professionals in facilitating her admission to hospital when she fell ill. This raised important issues concerning the scope of the various procedural and substantive duties under Article 2 ECHR.
  • R (McConnell and YY) [2020] EWCA Civ 559: appeared for the second appellant in a case where his father, a transgender man who had given birth to him, wished to be registered as the ‘father’ for the purposes of the birth certificate.
  • R (ota Conway) [2020] QB 1: acting for an intervener where the Court of Appeal considered whether the blanket ban on assisted suicide is a necessary and proportionate interference with rights under article 8.
  • Important and sensitive Court of Protection cases such as Re X [2022] EWCOP 48, in which the Court was tasked with determining whether a public body acted lawfully where it refused to retrieve human gametes from a person after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury. This raised novel issues regarding the interplay between the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
  • Extradition cases such as Vidák [2023] EWHC 1108 (Admin) and Gurau [2023] EWHC 439 (Admin).


Our Members are regarded as some of the leading practitioners in education law, appearing in both the First Tier and Upper Tribunals in all areas, from public and private inquiries, judicial reviews, school and university damages claims, and discrimination claims. Public law issues often arise.  Examples of our work in this field include:

  • GP v The Lime Trust [2023] UKUT 77: the Upper Tribunal considered whether the public sector equality duty has to be considered by schools if they are to defend decision making against claims of disability discrimination and whether academies are public authorities.  The pupil challenged a decision that he could not return to school straight after the first Covid lock down.
  • Coombs v Information Commissioner [2023] UKUT (AAC): we appeared for the successful party in this appeal under the Freedom of Information Act challenging a refusal to order disclosure of information relating to the 11+ examination. The case involved the exceptions to disclosure of confidentiality and commercial interests.
  • R (Isherwood) [2022] EWHC 3331 (Admin): successfully resisted an application for judicial review where five parents objected on religious and philosophical grounds to their children being taught “Relationships and Sexuality Education” as part of the new Welsh curriculum. The Court found that no fundamental parental right existed at common law to excuse children from these lessons, and that both challenged documents complied with the ECHR’s requirement of pluralism.
  • R (K) v Secretary of State for Education [2022] ELR 93: represented the claimant in a judicial review concerning access to university for an overseas national married to a British citizen.  The claim was brought in both EU law and the ECHR.

David Lawson, who leads our Public and Administrative Law Team, is the chairman of the Education Law Association, the joint body for barristers and solicitors practising in this field.


Elliot Gold and James Berry have both served as members of the Attorney General’s London Panel of Junior Counsel and Edward Pleeth and James Berry  are currently members of the B Panel. George ThomasAlexander dos Santos and Rachel Spearing have been appointed to List B of Specialist Regulatory Advocates for the Health and Safety Executive, Environmental Agency, Office for Rail and Road, CQC and Office for Nuclear Regulation.

24 Hour Urgent Advice

Our Public & Administrative team provides a 24 hour service, 365 days a year to arrange for urgent advice and representation on applications including injunctions. For more details about our emergency service please click here.

Angus Moon KC 1986 | 2006    Joint Head of Chambers
John Beggs KC 1989 | 2009
Michael Mylonas KC 1988 | 2012
John de Bono KC 1995 | 2014
Dijen Basu KC 1994 | 2015
Nageena Khalique KC 1994 | 2015
Bridget Dolan KC 1997 | 2016
Gerard Boyle KC 1992 | 2017
Sarah Clarke KC 1994 | 2017
Debra Powell KC 1995 | 2017
Jon Holl-Allen KC 1990 | 2018
Ian Skelt KC 1994 | 2020
Sophia Roper KC 1990 | 2022
Claire Watson KC 2001 | 2022
Neil Davy KC 2000 | 2023
Emma Sutton KC 2006 | 2023
Amy Street 2002
Jemma Lee 2010
Liam Duffy 2012
Chloe Hill 2019
Imogen Goold 2023    Pupil
Allegra Enefer 2024    Pupil
Sir Robert Francis KC 1973 | 1992    Associate Member

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