Public Law Conference

Saturday 28 June 2014, 10:00am - 5:30pm

LSE New Academic Building

Extend your knowledge of public law and explore new opportunities for assisting clients successfully

Date: Saturday 28 June 2014
Time: 10:00am - 5:30pm
Venue: LSE New Academic Building, 54 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ  
Areas of Law: Community Care Law , Court of Protection , Criminal Defence , Housing Law , Inquests and Inquiries , Children Law , Immigration: Personal and Business , Immigration Detention, Asylum and Deportation

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In partnership with Legal Action Group, Garden Court Chambers' Public Law Team is pleased to present an up-to-date overview of all aspects of public law,
together with cutting-edge strategies for securing positive outcomes.At a time when the government is seeking to restrict citizens' rights to challenge the decisions of public bodies, this is the perfect opportunity to learn new strategies.

With high-level plenaries exploring some of the central themes in public law, and specialist sessions examining the latest developments in each area, the conference allows delegates to put together their own programme. Topics to be covered include:

  • Proportionality
  • Secret justice
  • Strategic litigation
  • Children law
  • Family proceedings
  • Immigration
  • Criminal law and prosecutorial discretion
  • Deprivation of liberty
  • Prison law
  • Inquests and civil actions against the state
  • The Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Housing and community care
  • Welfare benefits
  • International law in domestic public law

Whether you are a seasoned public lawyer or a newcomer to the field seeking a cross-disciplinary perspective, this is an essential day of CPD-accredited training.

We are delighted that Legal Action Group (LAG) are partnering with Garden Court in delivering this conference. Click here to book your place.


09.30 Registration
10.00 Proportionality: a new ingredient in public law?
Jan Luba QC
10.45 Breakout session 1 Delegates can choose which of the four sessions they wish to attend
A. Use of Charter of Fundamental Rights in public law
Adrian Berry, Shu Shin Luh, Stephen Knafler QC

  • Role of the Charter, its legal nature and value
  • Relationship with the ECHR and other human rights instruments: challenges of 'competing' legal orders aimed at ensuring protection of fundamental rights
  • Proportionality under the Charter - how is this assessed?
  • Relying on the Charter in domestic law
B. Issues arising in deprivation of liberty
Stephanie Harrison QC
, Greg Ó Ceallaigh, Tim Baldwin

  • What are the outer limits of detention?
  • Fairness / proportionality and public law principles in unlawful detention
  • Discrimination in the context of detention
C. Bringing public law challenges in family proceedings
Amina Ahmed, Maggie Jones

  • Scrutinising local authority decision making on child protection
  • Challenging decisions to investigate and/or initiate child protection procedures
  • Interrelation between public law challenges and family court care proceedings
11.30 Coffee break
11:45 Guest speaker's address
The Hon Mr Justice McCloskey, President of the Upper Tribunal
12:15 Breakout session 2 Delegates can choose which of the three sessions they wish to attend
A: Using the best interests of the child concept in public law
Marc Willers QC, Nadine Finch, Anthony Vaughan

  • Meaning of best interests in light of General Comment No. 14 and how to construe it in light of the UNCRC as a whole
  • Content of the concept of a 'durable solution' for migrant children in the light of the best interests principle
  • The court's approach to the best interests principle and how it can be applied to maximum benefit of child litigants
  • Best interests in the context of cases relating to Gypsies and Travellers and extending the remit of ZH (Tanzania) into planning cases
B. Power and prejudice: holding the Home Office to account
Sonali Naik, Sadat Sayeed, Rebecca Chapman

  • The nature and source of Home Office powers
  • Remedies for Injustice
  • Demonstrating detriment
C. The prosecutorial discretion: challenging the decision to prosecute
Paramjit Ahluwalia, James Mehigan, Catherine Oborne

  • Challenging the decision to prosecute: victims of trafficking; refugees; youths
  • Challenging the decision not to prosecute: domestic violence; sexual offences; inquests
  • Practical tips: funding; pre-action stage
D: Judicial review and mediation
Helen Curtis, Catrin Lewis, Liz Davies

  • The role of mediation in judicial review. Pre- or post-permission stage?
  • How to propose mediation or deal with a refusal to mediate
  • What is the spectrum of settlements available when mediating a judicial review?
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Secret justice and duty of candour: the battle between secret justice and fair trial
Stephanie Harrison QC, Amanda Weston, Paul Troop
15:00 Breakout session 3 Delegates can choose which of the three sessions they wish to attend
A. Thinking big: strategic litigation in judicial review
Nicola Braganza, Joanne Cecil, Felicity Williams

  • Planning your test case - identification and preparation
  • Interventions, parties and funding
  • Presenting the case - targeting issues, developing law
  • Remedies: public policy impact, declaratory relief and damages
B. Public law fairness and Article 5 in the prison law context
Maya Sikand, Owen Greenhall, Richard Reynolds

  • Right to an oral hearing: when does it arise?
  • The Article 5/public law duty and its impact on indeterminate sentenced prisoners
  • When can you recover damages for breaches of duty/Article 5?
C. Legitimate expectation, fairness, and rationality in housing and community care
Liz Davies, Bethan Harris, Beatrice Prevatt

  • When is a promise not a promise?
  • Waiting for a social home
  • Closing care homes and services
  • Personal budgets
15.45 Coffee break
16.00 Breakout session 4 Delegates can choose which of the three sessions they wish to attend
A. Deploying, resisting and influencing international law: strategic use of international law in domestic public law
Gráinne Mellon, Paul Clark, Kathryn Cronin

  • Overview of the traditional approach to applying international law in domestic courts: international law treated as 'facts'
  • A reappraisal of tools and techniques for making international law arguments in public law cases, illustrated by reference to case law
  • Recent cases and future trends
B. Role of public law challenges in welfare benefits: the growth of discretion over entitlement
Tim Baldwin
, Desmond Rutledge, Stephen Cottle

  • Discretionary nature of the welfare benefit scheme post-Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the role of judicial review
  • The removal of the welfare safety net, food poverty and the role of traditional public law challenges and rights based challenges
  • Benefit sanctions, hardship payments, delays and suspensions, local welfare schemes and discretionary housing payments
  • Recent developments in case law
C. Anxious scrutiny and merits review in inquests and civil actions against public authorities
Leslie Thomas QC, Stephen Simblet, Jesse Nicholls

  • Holding public authorities to account using the ECHR
  • Standard of review in inquests and civil actions
  • Private law remedies in public law claims
16:45 Equality under the ECHR, equality under the Equality Act 2010 and equality under the common law
Stephen Knafler QC
17:30 Close of conference and post-conference drinks reception


Who should attend?

  • Solicitors and paralegals working in private practice
  • Lawyers and legal advisers working in law centres
  • Lawyers working for charities and NGOs
  • Local authority lawyers and service directors
  • Central government lawyers and policy officers
  • Academics and researchers specialising in public law

What is included?

  • 6 hours of fully-accredited CPD training
  • Talks prepared by one of the leading sets of human rights lawyers in the country
  • Comprehensive notes for you to refer to back at the office
  • Lunch and all refreshments
  • Opportunities to ask questions
  • The opportunity to buy selected LAG publications at a special conference discount


Expert Panel

All of the speakers are practising public law barristers at Garden Court Chambers. Between them, the panel have experience of the full range of public law specialisms.

Delegate fees and discounts

Book now to take advantage of the early bird discount. And remember that third and subsequent delegates from your firm or organisation may attend for half price.

Delegates Standard Third and subsequent delegates (1)
Standard (public/private sector/solicitors in private practice) £195.00 £97.50
Not for profit/NGOs/law centres/advice centres £165.00 £82.50
Full time students/volunteers/unwaged (2) £75.00 n/a

1. Groups of three or more delegates from the same organisation booking at the same time will receive a 50% discount on the standard rate for their third and subsequent delegate places.
2. This special rate is available to full time students, full-time volunteers, and others who are unwaged. Proof of your status may be required in order to grant this concessionary rate.
All prices are exclusive of VAT.


CPD Hours: 6:00

Book online


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