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  • Jonathan Moffett QC
    Areas of Practice

  • Commercial Judicial Review
  • Education
  • European Union
  • Health & Community Care
  • Human Rights
  • Information
  • Media Law
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law
  • Public
  • Public Access
  • Activity from
    Jonathan Moffett

  • Recent cases

    Combined Authority challenge succeeds

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    Court rules on London oratory school admission arrangements

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  • Article

    Local Authority Conference 2016 - Proportionality and Legitimate Expectation

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    Welsh Local Authority Conference - Judicial Review: Practice and Procedure

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  • News

    Richard Leiper and Jonathan Moffett have been appointed Queen’s Counsel

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    Appointments to Treasury Panel 2014

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  • Podcast

    Academies (11KBW Education Conference 2014)

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Jonathan Moffett QC

Jonathan Moffett

Jonathan Moffett QC

Practice Overview

Jonathan is an acknowledged expert in public law, with a practice that has a particular emphasis on the fields of human rights, local government law, education law, health and community care law, environmental and planning law, regulatory law and EU law. Jonathan is ranked by the legal directories as a leading practitioner in public law, local government law, education law and environmental law, and until he took silk in 2017, Jonathan was a long-standing member of both the Attorney General’s and the Welsh Government’s A panels of junior counsel, representing government bodies on some of their most important and difficult cases. He is a co-author of the leading public law practitioners’ text, Judicial Review: Principles and Procedure.

WHAT THE DIRECTORIES SAY

“He continues to impress with his encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and his ability to set out complex legal matters with real clarity. His commitment to his client’s cause is sensational which, when combined with a highly affable personality, make him one of the finest junior counsel in his field” (Chambers & Partners, 2017)

“His commitment to his client’s cause is sensational and his work ethic second to none” (Chambers & Partners 2017)  

“He is very approachable, easy to communicate with and extremely helpful. He has a really thorough knowledge of his subject” (Chambers & Partners, 2017)

“He’s able to pick matters up really late in the day, get up to speed and diagnose a strategy. All of this he does with a great sense of humour” (Chambers and Partners, 2017)

“He leaves no stone unturned and commands the attention of the court” (Legal 500, 2017)

“Excellent in court” (Legal 500, 2017)

“He demonstrates great intellectual flexibility, and can work around issues and find a practical solution” (Chambers & Partners, 2016)

“He offers an excellent service, he is very responsive and full of energy and enthusiasm for the subject which shines through” (Chambers & Partners, 2016)

“In judicial review proceedings he is an outstanding barrister - he has good arguments which he marshals clearly, eloquently and articulately” (Chambers & Partners, 2016)

Public Law

Jonathan is acknowledged as an expert in public law, and he has extensive experience in litigating claims for judicial review. He is ranked as specialist in public law by both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. Jonathan acts for central and local government, other public sector bodies, third sector organisations and individuals, and he regularly appears in the Administrative Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Jonathan has particular expertise in claims for judicial review and statutory appeals in the fields of human rights, local government law, education law, health and community care law, environmental and planning law, regulatory law and EU law. Jonathan’s expertise in judicial review is underpinned by the fact that he is a co-author of the leading practitioners’ textbook on the subject, Judicial Review: Principles and Procedure (OUP, 2013).

Recent examples of Jonathan’s public law cases include:

  • R (Derbyshire County Council) v Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority [2016] EWHC 3355 (Admin) (High Court) A wide-ranging challenge to a consultation on local government re-organisation, raising a number of issues as to the scope of the duty to consult fairly.
  • R (London Borough of Southwark) v London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority [2016] EWHC 1701 (Admin) (Divisional Court) Jonathan successfully represented the London Fire Authority in a judicial review of its decision to retain prosecutorial functions under the Regulatory Reform Order, in which the claimant council argued that the Authority was tainted by the appearance of bias.
  • R (Andrews) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2016] EWCA Civ 669, [2016] 3 All ER 1022 (High Court and Court of Appeal) Jonathan acted in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal in a case that raised difficult public law issues of statutory interpretation, ouster clauses and legal certainty in the context of rights of way.
  • R (Hysaj) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1195, [2016] 1 WLR 673 (Court of Appeal; currently on appeal to the Supreme Court) Jonathan was brought in to argue this case in the Court of Appeal and persuaded the court that the public law fraud principle applied to purported grants of British citizenship to persons who had lied about their identity.

local government law

Jonathan is ranked as an expert in local government law by both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. He has experience of dealing with matters across the full spectrum of local government law, including local government reorganisation, combined authorities, central government intervention, service reorganisations, the public sector equality duty, inter-authority disputes, standards, local government finance and disposal of land. Jonathan was recently involved in the first ever judicial review arising in the context of combined authorities, and he has recently been advising a number of local authorities on potential challenges to local government reorganisations.

Recent examples of Jonathan’s local government cases include:

  • R (Derbyshire County Council) v Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority [2016] EWHC 3355 (Admin) (High Court) The first ever judicial review relating to combined authorities, challenging a consultation on changing the boundaries of a combined authority to include new local authority areas.
  • R (Tower Hamlets London Borough Council) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] EWHC 4364 (Admin) (High Court) Jonathan successfully represented the Secretary of State on a challenge to the decision to conduct a best value inspection of Lutfur Rahman’s controversial mayoral administration in Tower Hamlets.
  • R (Islington London Borough Council) v London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority [2013] EWHC 4142 (Admin) (High Court) Jonathan successfully represented the London Fire Authority on a major challenge brought by a coalition of seven London councils to the Authority’s decision to close fire stations in the light of budget cuts.

Education Law

Jonathan has unrivalled expertise education law. He is ranked in the field by both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 and, before taking silk in 2017, Jonathan was for several years ranked by both directories as one of the leading education law juniors in the country.

In the higher education context, Jonathan has experience of dealing with the full range of issues that can arise, including judicial reviews, inter-institution disputes, breach of contract and negligence claims, discrimination and human rights matters, complaints to the OIA, and student discipline appeals.

In relation to schools and academies, Jonathan has expertise in dealing with matters relating to admissions, discipline and exclusions, special educational needs and disability discrimination, school transport, and interventions. Jonathan has particular experience in dealing with issues arising out of academy conversions and school reorganisations and in advising on the structural and funding issues (including land transfers) that arise in that context.

Jonathan also deals with matters arising in the independent sector, including contractual and negligence claims and regulatory issues, and he is currently acting for the Independent Schools Inspectorate in the context of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Jonathan has particular expertise in human rights issues that arise in the education sector and, as well as having acted in the leading domestic case on the right to education under article 2 of the First Protocol, he is currently representing the United Kingdom Government in an article 2 case before the European Court of Human Rights.

Recent examples of Jonathan’s education law cases include:

  • R (Hockerill Anglo-European College Academy Trust) v Schools Adjudicator [2016] EWHC 1642 (Admin) (High Court) A challenge raising the question of the compatibility with the School Admissions Code of a boarding academy’s admission policy which provided for “day boarders”.
  • R (London Oratory School) v Schools Adjudicator [2015] EWHC 1012 (Admin), [2015] ELR 335 (High Court) This was a major judicial review of the Schools Adjudicator’s decision that the London Oratory School was operating an admissions policy that breached the School Admissions Code in a number of respects. Jonathan acted for the Secretary of State, who intervened in the case.
  • R (DD) v Independent Appeal Panel of the London Borough of Islington [2013] EWHC 2262 (Admin), [2013] ELR 483 (High Court) A challenge to an IAP which raised difficult questions as to the application of the School Admissions Code in infant class size cases where a school operates split reception classes.

Human Rights Law


Jonathan has unrivalled expertise in dealing with cases raising human rights issues across a wide range of areas, including the retention and disclosure of information, education, prisons, immigration and asylum, and terrorism and national security. He also has experience of dealing with such issues in the health sector, and has advised on matters such as the compatibility with Convention rights and equalities legislation of policies for the treatment of funding. Jonathan is currently instructed by the UK Government in ten cases before the European Court of Human Rights.

Recent examples of Jonathan’s human rights cases include:

  • McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28, [2016] 3 WLR 45 (Supreme Court) Jonathan acted for the Secretary of State, who intervened in this case raising the important issue of whether Article 8 of the Convention had horizontal effect in possession proceedings between two private parties.
  • R (R) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2016] EWCA Civ 490, [2016] 1 WLR 4125 (Court of Appeal; currently on appeal to the Supreme Court) A challenge to the disclosure of information about acquittals on criminal records certificates, based on an allegation that it was incompatible with the presumption of innocence under Article 6 and the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the Convention (currently on appeal to the Supreme Court).
  • R (Gaughran) v Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland [2015] UKSC 29, [2016] AC 345 (Supreme Court) Jonathan successfully represented the Home Office in this challenge, based on an alleged breach of Article 8 of the Convention, to the indefinite retention by police of the DNA profiles of persons who have been convicted of an offence.

Professional disciplinary and regulatory law

In regulatory and disciplinary matters, Jonathan acts for both regulators and companies and individuals. Regulators for whom Jonathan has acted include including the Gambling Commission, Ofqual, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate Jonathan also frequently acts for the Financial Ombudsman Service, defending claims for judicial review.

Jonathan’s recent professional disciplinary and regulatory law cases include:

  • McTier v Secretary of State for Education [2017] EWHC 212 (Admin) (High Court) A challenge to the retrospective effect of the regime governing prohibition orders against teachers in cases where the misconduct occurred before the regime came into force.
  • R (London Borough of Southwark) v London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority [2016] EWHC 1701 (Admin) (Divisional Court) Jonathan successfully represented the London Fire Authority in a judicial review of its decision to retain prosecutorial functions under the Regulatory Reform Order, in which the claimant council argued that the Authority was tainted by the appearance of bias.
  • R (Westscott Financial Services) v Financial Ombudsman Service [2014] EWHC 3972 (Admin) (High Court) Jonathan successfully represented the Financial Ombudsman on a challenge not to stay complaints pending the outcome of the major Keydata negligence claim in the Commercial Court.

 European Union Law

Jonathan frequently acts in cases concerned with EU law. He has recently been involved in matters raising a wide variety of EU law issues, including the implementation of the common agricultural policy; the compatibility with EU law of a residency requirement for entitlement to tuition fee support, a minimum price for alcohol, and plain-packaging for tobacco products; the designation of special areas of conservation under the Habitats Directive; and the compatibility of religious further education colleges with the Equal Treatment Directive. Jonathan has also acted in infraction proceedings, including the infraction proceedings brought by the European Commission in relation to Aberthaw power station.

Recent examples of Jonathan’s EU law cases include:

  • R (Friends of the Earth) v Welsh Ministers [2015] EWHC 776 (Admin), [2016] Env LR 1 (High Court) Jonathan successfully resisted a major challenge, , based on alleged failure to comply with the SEA Directive, to the Welsh Government’s decision to proceed with a £1 billion project to build a new stretch of the M4 motorway to the south of Newport.
  • R (An Taisce) v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2014] EWCA Civ 1111, [2015] PTSR 189 (High Court and Court of Appeal) This was the judicial review of the grant of development consent for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, based on allegation that the requirements of the Habitats Directive had not been complied with.

Health and community care law

Jonathan has considerable experience of dealing with the full range of health and community care matters, including challenges to service reorganisations and funding decisions, human rights challenges, inter-authority disputes, challenges to the provision of services for adults and children and age assessment cases. He has advised on the compatibility of funding policies with Convention rights and equalities legislation. Recent cases include R (Buckinghamshire County Council) v Kingston-upon-Thames Royal London Borough Council [2011] EWCA Civ 457, [2012] PTSR 854 (High Court and Court of Appeal), where Jonathan represented Buckinghamshire on a challenge to a lack of consultation before another local authority placed an individual in receipt of community care services in its area.

information law

Jonathan has extensive experience of dealing with information law issues, and has particular expertise in human rights challenges to the retention and disclosure of data. Jonathan has acted in a large number of cases raising the compatibility of data retention regimes with Article 8 of the Convention, at all levels up to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, and he has recently been advising the Government on its review of the regime governing the retention of “mugshots” by the police. In the DPA context, Jonathan is currently instructed by a public body to represent it in proceedings relating to a large-scale data breach.

Recent examples of Jonathan’s information law cases include:

  • R (R) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2016] EWCA Civ 490, [2016] 1 WLR 4125 (Supreme Court; currently on appeal to the Supreme Court) A challenge to the disclosure of information about acquittals on criminal records certificates, based on an allegation that it was incompatible with the presumption of innocence under Article 6 and the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the Convention.
  • R (A) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 597 (High Court and Court of Appeal) Jonathan successfully resisted a challenge to the scheme for the disclosure of information about convicted child sex offenders known as “Sarah’s law” in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
  • R (Gaughran) v Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland [2015] UKSC 29, [2016] AC 345 (Supreme Court) Jonathan successfully represented the Home Office in this challenge, based on an alleged breach of Article 8 of the Convention, to the indefinite retention by police of the DNA profiles of persons who have been convicted of an offence.
  • R (RMC and FJ) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 1681 (Admin), [2012] 1 WLR 3007 (Divisional Court) A challenge to the national Management of Police Information policy on the ground that it was incompatible with Article 8 of the Convention.

 


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