Kings Chambers is ideally placed to provide expert advice and representation in regard to all issues in relation to the many public services and functions delivered by local government, in two main ways.
First, the public law team provides excellent advisory and advocacy services in regard to the core issues of local government law including
- Constitutional issues
- Powers, well being, and vires
- Standards, conduct and probity
- Service Delivery (partnerships, companies, trusts etc)
- Local government finance, council tax, and business rates
- Trading and charging.
- Procurement, contracting and commissioning
- Information requests
- Ombudsman powers & procedures
- Byelaws & orders
The Barristers Behind Local Government Law
The quality of the team in regard to local government law is recognised by its inclusion in Band 1 of Chambers UK directory. While it notes that “Kings Chambers dominates the Northern Circuit due to its strong cadre of local government experts”, its quality is recognised nationally and it receives instructions in relation to authorities across the whole of England and Wales. It provides strength at all levels from juniors to senior silks.
Secondly, in regard to the specific functions of local government, details are provided elsewhere in this web-site as to the service provided by
- the planning team in regard to all aspects of town and country planning law, environmental law, highways, and related issues
- the regulatory team in regard to licensing, health and safety, environmental health, consumer protection and trading standards, food and medicines, health and social care, information and data protection, transport and road haulage, and building control
- the employment team in regard to all aspects of employment and discrimination law, including TUPE and other disciplinary issues which apply in particular ways to local government
- the common law team who deal with all personal injury and other tort actions which affect local government
- the chancery and commercial team who can assist in all matters relating to contracts, trusts, companies, litigation, and other contentious matters
An important part of the service offered by Chambers is that where appropriate the specific expertise of the local government team can be supplemented by the expertise of the other sections where the barristers work together to provide clients with a truly integrated and comprehensive service combining the strengths in each relevant area of law.
About Local Government Law
Much of the work of the local government law team is working with local authorities, police and fire authorities, monitoring officers etc. While the team are happy to receive instructions in the normal way as matters arise, it is recognised that the delivery of legal services to local authorities is changing. In that context, the team is happy to be involved in other ways of providing services to client authorities whether by engaging in preferred supplier arrangements, general ‘partnerships’, providing regular and formalised input to shared services, by regular ‘clinics’, servicing specific committees, or part-time secondment to assist with gaps in the authority’s own staffing an expertise. One particular strength of the team is their ability to combine specific legal expertise with a sensitive approach to the local political situation.
The team are also heavily involved in advising private sector companies, pressure groups, councillors, individuals, and other public sector bodies in relation to issues of local government law, whether as partners of local authorities or in challenging the actions of a local authority. Here, the familiarity of the team with the law and practice of local authorities allows it to provide cost-effective advice and solutions which does not focus simply on litigation but on delivering the best solution for the client in the most appropriate way.
The team of course provides the usual advisory services and advocacy for all levels of court, tribunals, hearings and inquiries, disciplinary hearings, and audit or ombudsman challenges. However, they are also engaged in alternatives to litigation or formal action.
While mediation has previously been largely confined to commercial disputes, it can have very effective role to play in most local government matters, providing not only a cost-effective solution but one which delivers a solution acceptable to all parties and the local political circumstances. The team includes CEDR trained mediators who are always happy to discuss possible mediation.
In addition, members of the team have also been appointed by authorities to conduct cost-effective independent investigations into complaints against the authority or the operation of one of its functions. This can not only reduce the number of formal challenges but allow the authority to improve the delivery if its functions.
The strength of the team is also reflected in the requests to deliver conference and seminar papers, and also seminars and training tailored to the needs of the particular client. It is always happy to discuss providing assistance in this way.