Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Public Law

Our Public Law department is headed by Amie Higgins, a Senior Solicitor accredited as an Advanced Caseworker & Supervisor by the Law Society under the Immigration & Asylum Accreditation Scheme (IAAS)

Amie has a wealth of experience in bringing public law challenges and an impressive success rate. She leads a strong team of dedicated and proven lawyers and caseworkers

What is Public Law?

The rules and law which govern the conduct of all public/governmental bodies in the UK is known as “Public Law”.  The key principles of public law require public bodies (i.e. the state) to act lawfully, rationally, fairly, and to ensure their actions and decisions are compatible with the human rights of the people affected by their decisions, action and inaction.

Public bodies (such as the police, courts & tribunals, the home office, local authorities, education providers for example) are expected to act in good faith and not to misuse or abuse their powers. Their decisions must be in accordance with our fundamental rights as set out in legislation such as the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act and the Data Protection Act. Decisions which lead to unfair treatment or a breach of an individual’s rights under the law should be challenged.

Where a public body acts unlawfully, there are a number of ways in which this can be challenged. The most common methods of challenge are;

  1. A formal complaint to the public body or the Ombudsman
  2. Appealing against a decision of a public body (if a right of appeal exists, which is not always the position)
  3. Judicial Review

Often these challenges must be brought within strict time limits, so it is important to act quickly. It may sometimes be possible to avoid litigation  if we are instructed as we will liaise with the relevant public body on your behalf and make the best use of pre action protocols.

Our Public Law Services

At Barnes, Harrild & Dyer, we offer specialist advice and representation in the following areas of public law:

  • Judicial Review of Legal Aid Agency Decisions

The Legal Aid Agency contracts with lawyers across the country to provide legal aid services to the public. As part of the contracts, Providers are subject to various audit activity such as Peer Review, Core Testing, Annual Audit and additional audit activity. The LAA has the power to impose Contract Notices, sanctions and terminations as a consequence of breaches of the contract, all of which are challengeable. We have been involved in a number of challenges to LAA decisions and can provide specialist advice, assistance and representation to individual lawyers and law firms.

  • Challenges to unlawful detention and false imprisonment

Detention of non-UK nationals will be considered unlawful where any of the following apply;

    1. Detention for the purpose of removal from the UK is not reasonable

      e.g. removal is not imminent, removal directions are not set, there is no emergency travel document in place, the individual has applied for voluntary return

    2. Detention is in breach of the Home Office’s published policies

      e.g. the policy not to detain children, the elderly, pregnant women, victims of trafficking, victim of torture or other vulnerable adults at risk

    3. Detention is a breach of the person’s human rights under Articles 5 and 8 ECHR

    Where the SSHD unlawfully detains a person, we can help you challenge this and seek appropriate compensation for you.

    Where a person has been unlawfully detained for a period of time but subsequently released, we can still assist you to bring a claim for damages for false imprisonment.

        • Judicial Review of negative Reasonable Grounds and Conclusive Grounds decisions by the Single Competent Authority in the National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

    The Single Competent Authority (SCA) is the body within the UK’s National Referral Mechanism which is responsible for investigating and determining whether a person is a victim of human trafficking and/or modern slavery. There is no right of appeal against these decisions and any challenge must be brought by way of a Reconsideration request or an application for judicial review. It is crucial to take specialist advice as soon as possible following a negative decision from the SCA so that it can be promptly challenged via the most appropriate route.

    Our lawyers have extensive experience in working with victims of trafficking and modern slavery and bringing public law challenges against the SCA for unfair and unlawful decisions.

        • Judicial Review of the Upper Tribunal’s refusal to grant permission to appeal

    Where the Upper Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) refuses permission to appeal against a decision made by the First Tier Tribunal, there is no further right to challenge the decision in the Court of Appeal. Any challenge to the decision of the Upper Tribunal to refuse permission must be brought by an application for judicial review and is known as a “Cart JR”

    These applications must be lodged within 16 days from the date on which the decision of the Upper Tribunal is sent out. It is therefore essential seek specialist advice quickly.

    Our team of lawyers can assess the merits of your case quickly and efficiently and lodge a challenge where appropriate to do so.

        • Challenging Age Assessments & Disputes

    Where a local authority has undertaken an age assessment in respect of an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) and the child (and/or their carers/representatives) instructs that this is not accurate, a challenge to that decision can be brought by way of judicial review. Such challenges are important to ensure that children have access to the care and support to which they are entitled and to ensure that an unlawful age assessment does not enable the Secretary of State to rely upon it as an adverse credibility factor in the determination of an asylum claim.

    Challenging Fresh Asylum Claim refusals by the Home Office

    Many fresh asylum and human rights claims are rejected by the Home Office with no right of appeal against the decision. They can only be challenged by way of Judicial Review.

    Our specialist lawyers can quickly assess the merits of a case and advise on the best way forward, whether that be a judicial review challenge or a new application.

        • Challenging delay in Government decision making

    Delays in decision making can have negative impacts and cause a variety of problems for individuals. Unreasonable delay can be challenged, often without having to resort to litigation.

    Where you consider a delay by a public body in making a decision is having a detrimental impact on you and the length of the delay seems unreasonable, we can advise you on how this can be challenged.

        • Challenging government housing & support matters for asylum seekers and victims of trafficking/modern slavery

    Asylum seekers and victims of trafficking/modern slavery have rights and entitlements to appropriate support, including financial assistance and accommodation. Where either element of support is denied, insufficient or inappropriate, this can be challenged by way of judicial review.

    Our lawyers are renowned for their work with asylum seekers and victims of trafficking and modern slavery and can provide high quality prompt advice on these support challenges.

        • Seeking a declaration of maladministration/illegality by the Home Office

    Where an individual has suffered a loss as a result of the Home Office’s failures to act, for example failure to issue a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), causing loss of permission to work and loss of earnings or preventing lawful marriages, we can assist you to bring a challenge to secure compensation for any loss suffered as a consequence of such actions.

    Our experienced lawyers have worked on a significant number of these cases securing compensation for our clients.

        • Challenges to legislation and public sector duties in breach of the Equality Act 2010

    Public bodies have a duty to ensure that their actions, policies and decisions do not breach the Equality Act 2010, this is known as the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) This means that public bodies are required to act in a way which eliminates any form of discrimination and promotes equality of opportunity between those who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

    Where it is claimed that a public body has breached its Public Sector Equality Duty,  this can be challenged by various methods such as via a formal complaint to the public body, a complaint to the Equality & Human Rights Commission and/or an application for judicial review. Where it is accepted that the public body has breached its Public Sector Equality Duty, you can claim financial compensation if you have suffered a loss.

        • Challenges to Data Protection Law breaches

    The Data Protection Act 2018 provides that individuals have the right to have their personal information stored confidentially and securely. Any personal information retained must be accurate and up to date and should only be retained for as long as is necessary. Public bodies such as local authorities, the Home Office, the police and the NHS may breach data protection law by failing to adhere to the principles set out in the Data Protection Act. Where this happens, we can assist you to ensure that any necessary corrections or deletions are made to the data held by public bodies. The consequences of storing inaccurate personal information, for example inaccurate details within medical records or inaccurate criminal records can be severe.

    Our experienced lawyers can assist you to rectify any problems with your personal information hep by public bodies and secure compensation for any financial damage or emotional distress suffered as a consequence of breach of Data Protection law.

        • Challenges to the misuse of criminal records and challenging DBS certificate decisions

    Inaccurate information regarding criminal convictions or information on a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) certificate can have serious consequences for an individual.

    We can advise and assist you with regard to ensuring corrections are made and obtaining compensation for inaccurate information.

        • Challenges to local authorities’ decisions in respect of children’s welfare (including education and support)

    Local authorities are under a duty to act in the best interests of children when making any decisions concerning them and/or their welfare. Where such decisions are not considered to be in accordance with the law, policy or the child’s best interests, they are challengeable by way of judicial review.

        • Challenging Sham Marriage/Civil Partnership Allegations

    A sham marriage or civil partnership is one in which it is alleged that there is no genuine relationship between the parties.

    In order to marry in the UK, notice of intention must be given to a Registration Officer at least 28 days before a marriage or civil partnership can take place. Registration Officers are under a duty to report to the Home Office any reasonable suspicions that a marriage or civil partnership is a sham.

    The matter will then be referred to and assessed  by the Marriage Referral and Assessment Unit (MRAU) who will consider whether an investigation should be conducted. If an investigation is commenced, the notice period is extended to 70 days. The purpose of the investigation, which can include interviews and requests for supporting evidence is to determine whether, on the balance of probabilities, the proposed marriage or civil partnership is a sham.

    If it is determined that the marriage is a sham, permission to marry is refused and further action can be taken against the parties, including prosecution and enforcement action.

    There is detailed statutory guidance on the conduct of investigations which the Home Office must comply with. Any failure to comply with the guidance and statutory provisions will render a decision unlawful and challengeable by way of Judicial Review.

    We can assist you if you are subject to a sham marriage/civil partnership investigation by attending the interviews with you, submitting evidence and representations to the Home Office on your behalf and challenging any failures to follow the statutory guidance.

    Our specialist solicitors can challenge unlawful decisions which prevent you from marrying/forming a civil partnership in the UK and secure damages for any losses incurred as a result. We can help you to challenge any subsequent threatened or actual enforcement action as a consequence of the unlawful decision.

        • Challenging Refusals of Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK as a Victim of Domestic Violence

    For those who have entered the UK as a spouse of a UK national or person with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK and whose marriage has ended as a consequence of domestic violence, are entitled to apply for ILR.

    These applications do not afford applicant’s any right of appeal against a refusal of ILR by the Home Office. It is possible to ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision by way of an “Administrative Review” however these reviews are rarely successful as the Home Office tends to maintain their decision.

    Our highly experienced lawyers are able to assist victims of domestic violence with challenging refusals of ILR by way of Judicial Review. We have an excellent success rate with these matters and we can offer prompt and detailed advice on the merits of your case.

        • Challenging Visit Visa Refusals

    Most applications for UK visit visas do not afford applicants a right of appeal against a refusal. Where it is considered that the decision is unfair, irrational or otherwise not in accordance with the law, it is possible to challenge a refusal by way of Judicial Review.

    Whilst the best and quickest way to succeed with a visit visa application is to submit a strong initial application, our team has a wealth of experience in challenging visit visa refusals. We can advise you on the best course of action if your visit visa has been refused and determine whether the decision is challengeable or whether a new application would be preferable and more expeditious.

        • Challenging Refusals to Grant British Nationality

    Decisions by the Home Office on British Nationality do not afford the applicant a right of appeal. It is possible to ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision by way of an “Administrative Review” however these reviews are rarely successful as the Home Office tends to maintain their decision.

    Any challenge to a refusal of nationality can be brought by way of Judicial Review in the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber or the High Court.

        • Challenging Exclusion Decisions/Orders

    A third country national can be prohibited from entering the UK if it is alleged that their presence is not conducive to the public good, i.e. for reasons of public policy or public security. This means that any application made to enter the UK will be subject to a mandatory refusal under the Immigration Rules. Further, if a third country national who has committed a criminal office and meets the definition of ‘foreign national criminal’, departs the UK before being the subject of a signed deportation order, then the Home Office can issue an ‘exclusion decision’ that prevents the person from re-entering the UK. The Home Office are not required to serve the decision in this circumstances but are requires to serve the decision if you re-engage with the UK.

    As there is no right of appeal against an exclusion decision, the only way to challenge this is by way of Judicial Review. It is upon becoming aware of the exclusion order that the subject has 3 months to issue judicial review proceedings if the UK has misused its powers.

        • Challenging managed migration & Points Based Scheme Decisions

    Refusals by the Home Office of applications made by those migrating to the UK under the Points Based System (Tiers 1,2,4 and 5) rarely afford the applicant a right of appeal. It is possible to ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision by way of an “Administrative Review” however these reviews are rarely successful as the Home Office tends to maintain their decision.

    Our dedicated and specialist corporate lawyers can advise you in detail regarding the merits of your case and the best route of challenge.

        • Challenging decisions against Sponsorship Licenses

    Those who seek to employ migrant workers have to apply for a Sponsorship license. Any decisions to refuse a company a sponsorship license or decisions that a company has breached its obligations and duties can be challenged by Judicial Review.

    Such decisions can cause significant business interruption and can impact the reputation of the Company. Our specialist team can ensure that you are not subjected to an unlawful decision making process.

Engage Us

Get expert legal advice. Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation.

9am - 5pm (Monday to Friday)
close
Book a Consultation
Request a Callback
Pay Online

Book a consultation

The first step in securing legal representation for your case is to arrange an initial consultation. This can take place at one of our London offices or by phone.





    Tell us briefly about the nature of your case to help us arrange your consultation with the most relevant member of our legal team.

    The information you submit here is transmitted securely and treated in strict confidence. Read our full Privacy & Terms.

    Request a callback

    Complete the form below and one of our expert legal team will call you back within 24hrs to discuss the details of your case.




      You don't need to provide an email address, but we will use this if we can't get in contact by phone.


      Tell us briefly about the nature of your case to help us put you in touch with the most relevant member of our legal team.

      The information you submit here is transmitted securely and treated in strict confidence. Read our full Privacy & Terms.

      We specialise in every aspect of immigration.

      Call Now Button