Richard Clayton QC

Date of Call: 1977

Year of Silk: 2002

Practise Areas of Work

Public Law

Human Rights

Local Government


Richard Clayton undertakes a wide range of advisory and litigation work (both for and against public bodies) covering community care, data protection/Freedom of Information, discrimination and public sector equality duties, education, environmental, healthcare, human rights, local government (e.g. vires and powers, constitutional issues and governance, elections, finance), public procurement,  prison law, Privy Council and international work; regulatory/disciplinary work.

Richard Clayton also acts on behalf of local authorities and licensed trade clients in a range of licensing issues particularly focussing on Judicial Review proceedings in the Administrative Courts.

Cases include

Kennedy v Charity Commissioners (2014) (Supreme Ct- Freedom of Information, Art 10 and common law rights)

R v Miscik (2014) (8 day hearing before Turks and Caicos Court of Appeal in constitutional challenge to judicial independence- leave to appeal granted to Privy Council)

R(T) v Trafford MBC (2015) (consultation challenge to local authority cuts)

R(Watch Tower) v Charity Commission (2014) (whether statutory appeal alternative to judicial review- CA pending)

R(Hardy) v Sandwell MBC (2015) (whether policy discretionary housing allowance breaches Art 14)

R(Wood) v Leeds City Council ((2014) successful challenge to increase in allotment rents by Leeds Allotment Society)

Kingston LBC v Emergency Aid (2014) (liability of charities for rates)

R(Bridgerow) v Chester West (2014) (sex entertainment licence)

Application by Brang Shawng to United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (2014) (Burma)

R(May) v CIMA (2013) (regulatory)

Hussein v General Optical Council (2013) (regulatory)

R(Littlefair) v Darlington BC (2013) (local government cuts)

Supreme Court/House of Lords/Privy Council cases: 

Kennedy v Charity Commissioners (2014) (Freedom of Information, Art 10 and common law rights)


Chambers and Partners

Public and Administrative Law: Renowned human rights academic and practitioner. Of late, he has represented authorities and applicants in cuts cases, community care matters and provision of services disputes. Praised for his preparation and his ability to manage difficult situations (2013);

"Brilliant on his feet," he is a regular choice for claimants and local authorities in judicial review proceedings and before the European Court of Human Rights. Solicitors admire him as he is "hugely academic, yet charming with clients and quick to grasp the issues of a case."  (2012); “Extremely personable”, “academically very strong, focused and direct” and "has a vast knowledge of human rights law" (2007), “Very likeable and imaginative” He is particularly recommended for thinking laterally on cases: “He’s the sort of guy you'd ring up to find a new point in a case” (2008); Administrative and Public Law: "Informal and imaginative” He is “extremely committed to his cases”. "His individual style in court can both impress and dismay his opponents“(2009);

Civil Liberties/human rights: "His work on human rights is always outstanding."(2014)
"incredibly bright" and has "fantastic academic ability." Clients highlight the confidence they have when instructing him. He undertakes a balance of work for both claimants and defendants, and has appeared in the Caribbean, Hong Kong and the Privy Council, as well as in numerous matters in the domestic court (2012); "Fantastically good at what he does”, he “provides robust, client-friendly advice and is a great lateral thinker” (2009) “he is always well prepared and is not fazed by difficult clients or the prospect of being the first to argue a difficult line." (2013); "clients praise his fine preparatory work and his trendy approachable manner" (2010);”knowledgeable and insightful public lawyer" with a "razor-sharp mind"(2011); “Technical legal knowledge that is simply superb.” (2008) “Bright and authoritative” an impressive silk (2007)

Local Government: Particularly instructed for vires and procurement law matters- a "delightful and talented advocate." (2013)   He has a huge fan base of local authorities happy to sing his praises. “He is extremely bright and very creative in finding workable solutions to tricky problems” (2008) and "a thriving local government practise" (2010); "razor-sharp mind" and an "extremely accessible manner, he is never short of work.” (2011)

Legal 500:

Administrative and Public Law:knowledgeable and insightful’ (2010) "flashes of brilliance" (2009);” has excellent technical knowledge" (2011) "He is approachable and gets results" (2014) "Acts for and against public bodies in areas such as community care, education and human rights" "A leading practitioner whose expertise spans areas such as community care, human rights and data protection" (2015)

Human Rights/ Civil Liberties:a knowledgeable and insightful lawyer” (2009); singled out for his longstanding experience before the ECHR and the Privy Council (2011)


Deputy High Court Judge in the Administrative Court

UK representative to Venice Commission (Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional law)


Chairman, Constitutional and Administrative Bar Association 2008-2010 (Committee since 1996)

Associate Fellow, Centre for Public Law, University of Cambridge since 2001

Supreme Court User Group since 2009

Chairman, Bar Council Committee on Civil Legal Aid since 2005

Vice Chairman Bar Council Remuneration Committee 2006-2008

Bar Council Remuneration Committee 2005 to 2010

Bar Council Public Affairs Committee 2006-2007

Bar Council International Affairs Committee 2008-2010

Bar Council 2004-2007

Public Interest Panel, (Bar Council Representative) Legal Services Commission 2004-2008

Council of Justice 2009 to date

Vice Chair, Liberty 2004-2007

Bencher, Middle Temple

Public Interest Advisory Panel of the Legal Services Commission- Bar Council representative 2004-2008

Working Party to facilitate Public Interest Litigation 2005- 2006 which published Litigating in the Public Interest

Committee- Legal Action 1984-1998

Committee- St Martin of Tours Housing Association 1996-1999

Chair- Free Representation Unit 19777-1978


Co-author – The Law of Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2nd edn, 2009)

Civil Actions against the Police (4th edn, Sweet & Maxwell forthcoming)

The Law of the European Convention on Human Rights: A Practitioner Text (OUP, forthcoming)

Judicial Review Procedure (2nd edn, Hart Publishing 1997)

Police Actions (2nd edn, Hart Publishing 1997)

The Law of the European Convention on Human Rights: A Practitioner Text (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Regular contributor to journals  including Public Law (article on judicial deference cited by Lord Bingham in Belmarsh case,  [2005] 2 AC 68 at para 42; October 2012- article on Ullah principles);  Journal of Planning and Environmental Law; Cambridge Law Journal; European Human Rights Law Review (article on proportionality cited by Lord Hope in Shayler [2003] 1 AC 247 para 61 and in AS(Somalia) [2009] 1 WLR 2477 para 18) ;  Judicial Review; Journal of International Financial Markets; ELA Briefing; Law Society Gazette; Solicitors Journal, New Law Journal; Legal Action; The Guardian; Canadian Lawyer; Law in Action; Today Programme;  Newsnight; Channel 4 News; News at 10; BBC News; World at One.


Lectured:  at Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Chinese University of Hong Kong, at  International Conference of Law Schools on “Constitutional Law”, George Washington University (Washington, DC ; Venice Commission seminar on “Definition and development of human rights and popular sovereignty in Europe”. Goethe University, Frankfurt; University of Caribbean, Trinidad; York (Toronto, Canada), Toronto, Georgetown (Washington, DC), NYU (New York, NY); British Institute of Comparative Law, Turkey (Council of Europe).

Regularly lectures and chairs conferences on judicial review, human rights, local government eg Association of Local Government Solicitors and Secretaries, JUSTICE, the Human Rights Law Association, ALBA, Solicitors in Local Government weekend school and LGG seminars; CLT, Public Law Project, UKELA.

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