Public Law Issues with Statutory Instruments

Thursday 30 September 2021

Michael Etienne

Ollie Persey

Tom West

Alexandra Sinclair

This webinar is brought to you by the Garden Court Chambers Public Law Team.

Date: Thursday 30 September 2021
Time: 5pm-6.30pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Administrative and Public Law

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Statutory instruments are the most common form of secondary legislation. Primary legislation passed to address urgent issues arising from Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic include seemingly broad powers for Ministers to ‘fill in the detail’ by making statutory instruments. As such, important legislative changes receive light touch scrutiny from Parliament, which has led to concerns of power being transferred away from the legislature to the executive. This approach to legislating is not confined to Brexit and COVID-19, and there are concerns that it represents the ‘new normal’ for the government.

Garden Court Chambers’ Public Law Team is delighted to host this webinar considering these important issues.


  • Chair’s introduction
  • Dr Tom West, The Hansard Society: How statutory instruments are laid, made, and scrutinised.
  • Alexandra Sinclair, Public Law Project: Lessons learned from PLP’s Statutory Instrument Filtering and Tracking (‘SIFT’) Project.
  • Michael Etienne, Garden Court Chambers & Ollie Persey, Garden Court Chambers: Public law challenges to statutory instruments: prematurity and ripeness, grounds of challenge and recent cases.
  • Q&A with the panel




Michael Etienne, Garden Court Chambers
Michael has a broad public law and human rights practice encompassing actions against the state in various forms but with a focus on cases involving detaining authorities, particularly police forces and prisons. He is frequently instructed on cases that give rise to issues of systemic discrimination, whether in the detention context or in his education law work. Before joining Garden Court Michael was the Advice and Information Officer at Liberty, responsible for co-ordinating their public legal advice service. He has subsequently been elected to Liberty’s Policy Council and Executive Board.

He takes an active interest in issues of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. As such, he is a member of the Steering Committees for the Black Barristers Network, the Black Men in Law Network and the recently launched “Bridging the Bar”. He won the 'Future Leader: Diversity and Inclusion' Award in the Chambers Awards 2020 and was shortlisted in the 'Young Pro Bono Barrister of the Year' category in the Advocate Pro Bono Awards 2020.

Ollie Persey, Garden Court Chambers
Ollie is a public law barrister. Ollie often acts for individuals and NGOs in judicial review claims challenging systemic unfairness. He joined Garden Court Chambers from Public Law Project, where he gained considerable experience in strategic litigation at all domestic levels including the Supreme Court.  Ollie has a broad public law practice, specialising in disability and migrant rights and has particular expertise in judicial review claims raising discrimination, education, EU citizens’ rights and retained EU law issues. At Public Law Project, Ollie worked on all aspects of judicial review litigation and is well-placed to advise from the earliest stages of a potential claim. He has in-depth knowledge of the legal aid scheme, with expertise in applying for Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) and challenging Legal Aid Agency funding decisions. Ollie also coordinated Public Law Project’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) support hub, providing second-tier advice to Law Centres and other organisations assisting vulnerable EU citizens and family members to apply to the EUSS. 

Tom West, Researcher, Hansard Society
Tom joined the Hansard Society in July 2021 and is focused on its programme of work on how Parliament legislates, in particular being responsible for the coordination of its Delegated Legislation Review. Tom conducts research for the Society on legislative processes and procedures and supports its collaboration and partnership with other stakeholders and networks active in the field.

Previously, Tom was employed at the UN in the secretariat of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, an international law body tasked with assessing States’ compliance with their obligations relating to transparency, participation and justice in environmental decision-making. He has also given evidence to Parliamentary Committees and has engaged with the design and passage of new legislation through his role at environmental law NGO ClientEarth, where he led their work in response to Brexit. During that time he was a member of BIICL’s Expert Working Group on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill and the Rule of Law. Having first studied for a BSc in Mathematics at the University of Warwick, Tom then turned to law via an MSc in Law and Environmental Science and a PhD in international human rights and environmental law at the University of Nottingham, which he completed in 2017.

Alexandra Sinclair, Public Law Project
Alexandra Sinclair is a Fellow in Brexit, Parliament and the Rule of Law at Public Law Project. She has an LLB(hons) from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and an LL.M from Columbia Law School where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar.  Alexandra has worked as a judges’ clerk at the New Zealand High Court and as a barrister in Auckland, New Zealand. She was awarded the Cleary Memorial Prize by the New Zealand Law Foundation in 2015 for showing outstanding promise in the legal profession.

She is dedicated to public interest legal work, she was a member of  Columbia Law School’s Incarceration and the Family Clinic, she has worked as a legal intern at the Knight First Amendment Institute and she spent time as a Columbia Public Interest Fellow at the Center for Court Innovation in Manhattan.   She is particularly interested in the intersection of public law and human rights.

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