Public Law & Regulation


A centre of excellence in public law, with a strong track-record in creating regulatory frameworks and a reputation for showing companies how to successfully navigate their way through them. This is what you can expect from the Gowling WLG public law and regulation team.

Our specialist team provides a complete service in regulation, public administrative law, constitutional law, human rights and judicial review for central and local government, regulators and private companies. Having acted in a number of the UK's leading cases, both for and against the government and regulators, the team is equipped with the necessary experience and expertise to give clients a competitive edge.

The team handles contentious and non-contentious work, the development of law from policy formation and drafting through to its successful application, as well as making and defending challenges against the decisions of public authorities in judicial reviews or tribunals. It is also expert in economic regulation and able to use considerable experience in the transposition and application of EU law in the UK to clients' advantage.

All of which means you can count on:

  • Strategic advice - thoroughly understanding the legal, commercial, policy and practical issues that clients deal with on a daily basis, we always take a strategic approach to legal advice. Insider experience of working for government and regulators such as Ofgem gives us, and therefore you, an edge.
  • Sector expertise - extensive knowledge of regulatory regimes in several sectors means clients get specialist insight and rigorous, practical advice. The team has particular expertise in the highly regulated sectors of energy, healthcare, education, financial services, rail, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, and transport.
  • Strong relationships - our experts focus on developing strong client relationships and becoming an extension of their team. They're on hand, whenever they're needed.

Want to try something that's never been done before? We can help. When the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi required help designing its healthcare regime, it turned to Gowling WLG - a project for which we won an FT Innovative Lawyers Award.

Other longstanding clients include the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation, Ofqual, Ofwat, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

Defence of judicial review for Local Government Association

In this successful defence of a judicial review brought against the government's implementation of the Waste Framework Directive (R (UK Recyclate Ltd & Others) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2013] EWHC 425 (Admin)), the team advised the Local Government Association (LGA) (as an interested party).

The team was on hand to help LGA take an active part in the case, including successfully making representations against the claimant's application to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice, making proposals on draft amending regulations, submitting a detailed consultation response on behalf of local government and ensuring that the significant interest of local government was represented before the court.

A leading case in the qualifications sector

Working to a highly-expedited timetable, the team successfully upheld the integrity and validity of Ofqual's decision making processes and the grades given to pupils, by defending a challenge brought by 167 pupils, 150 schools, 42 local authorities and six professional bodies to overturn GCSE English grades awarded in summer 2012 (R (LB of Lewisham & Others v AQA & Others [2013] EWHC 211 (Admin)). The judicial review proceedings were successfully defended before the Divisional Court in what is now one of the leading cases in the qualifications sector.

First award of damages for breach of the Human Rights Act against a regulator

Now regarded as leading case authority, (Gas and Electricity Markets Authority v Infinis plc [2013] EWCA Civ 70), the team represented Infinis in its successful judicial review in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The team's challenge was against a decision by Ofgem not to accredit two generating stations under the Renewables Obligation Order. The case also resulted in the first award of damages for breach of the Human Rights Act made against a regulator.