Public Law

Public Law

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All public bodies are required to act in accordance with the law and to make decisions rationally, reasonably and in a procedurally correct manner. Judicial review is the main tool that enables the Court to hold public bodies to account and to determine if decision-makers have acted fairly, in good faith, rationally and only using the powers that they have for their proper purposes. These are the ‘public law’ principles which every public decision-maker, from ministers to front-line officers, must respect.

It is also important that public bodies, when forming decisions, do not breach laws made to protect fundamental rights and interests such as the Human Rights and Data Protection Acts 1998, the Equality Act 2010, the General Data Protection Regulations and EU law. These help to ensure that people are treated with dignity, basic freedoms are not overridden, personal information is not misused and that characteristics fundamental to everyone’s identity, like race, gender, sexuality and disability, are respected and do not lead to unfair treatment.

To be effective, public law remedies like judicial review have to be used without delay (in most cases the Court will need to be approached within three months, but in some cases much sooner).

If you suspect that a significant unlawful decision is about to be, or already has been made, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.

At Instalaw we have a specialist team of solicitors able to offer you expert advice on the remedies that you may seek against a public body.

With that advice, individuals and organisations can make sure their voices are heard and properly taken into account. Our dedicated solicitors have assisted hundreds of claimant clients by pursuing Judicial Review claims against public bodies and have, successfully, put a public authority back on the right track.

Judicial review can lead to bad decisions being overturned and to authoritative rulings on the legality of policies, rules and procedures. Serious delay can be brought to an end. Judicial review can also develop the law and help large groups of people with similar problems.

Our Public Law solicitors are highly regarded as being leading figures in this ever developing area of law. Their success at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2017 is recognition of the highest standard of work that is carried out for our clients.

Our team is here to help. If you are seeking advice on a public law problem, or guidance on how to avoid one ever arising, do get in touch.

Our work makes a real difference to our clients and others with similar problems. For example, using judicial review, our clients have:

  • Prevented the Government’s proposal to collect and maintain mobile phone data for all mobile phone users;
  • Prevented the Government’s proposal to implement rules relating to spousal visas
  • Prevented the Prime Minister from triggering the process to leave the European Union without Parliament approval;
  • Successfully exposed and challenged unlawful immigration detention and Home Office policy;
  • Challenged the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority over refusals to award payments to victims of crime;
  • Clarified the law relating to eligibility and entitlement to state support for ‘Zambrano’ carers;
  • Overturned higher education provider’s decisions to exclude students from studying;
  • Clarified the law for clients and social services departments across the country in respect of the Children Act 1989 and Adoption and Children Act 2002;
  • Obtained social care within the home and residential care for adults and children;
  • Prevented residential care home closures;
  • Successfully challenged social services’ decisions to exclude unaccompanied asylum seeking children from seeking Children Act 1989 support;

  • These are just a few examples of the cases brought by our Public Law solicitors. If you have a legal problem involving any public authority, please do get in touch with us on 0115 824 6555 or via email at or

    In scenarios where clients are worried about funding, legal aid may be able to cover the cost of legal advice. Get in touch with us if you would like to check whether you are eligible for public funding. If you are not eligible, we can advise you about our private funding arrangements, including fixed fees.