Stephen Hocking is a leading public lawyer, particularly specialising in the fields of healthcare, education (with a particular interest in higher education and in SEND), and local government.
His areas of expertise include:
- judicial review in the health, education and local authority sectors;
- Regulatory issues in health and higher education;
- Major misconduct enquiries;
- Partnering and joint venture working between public and private sectors;
- The application of charity and equality law to public services;
- Corporate transactions within the public and charity sectors;
- Professional disciplinary proceeding for professional bodies and for registrants.
Before joining chambers, Stephen practised as a solicitor specialising in public law. He was an equity partner at DAC Beachcroft LLP for twenty years, where he was the head of the Public Law, and Public law and health projects teams for over a decade.
Stephen’s healthcare practice is principally for commissioners, providers and regulatory bodies, and has covered issues ranging from an individual funding request for one patient to the restructuring of hundreds of millions of pounds of NHS expenditure. He is particularly at home in cases with a complex scientific or technical content.
Recent experience includes:
- the conduct of health technology appraisals, appeals, and regulation and pricing of medical technologies
- approval and conduct of clinical trials, post trial data collection and exploitation, and patient issues connected with clinical trials and novel treatments
- disputes around patient treatment, particularly with regard to access to new or novel treatments such as cannabis based medicines,
- procurement challenges in the NHS
Stephen’s particular interests are higher education funding and regulation and all aspects of special educational needs and disabilities provision, for institutions and providers and for students, pupils and parents.
Recent experience includes:
- Advice relating to the assessment of research or teaching outputs
- Advising on closure of education providers
- Advice on the regulation of higher education providers
- Charity law advice in the higher education sector
- Conduct of special schools, admissions, tribunal litigation, and the governance or sale or transfer of special school activities
- Acting in connection with the IICSA
Stephen is a university governor, and he has in the past been a school governor
Stephen brings and defends professional misconduct cases for accountants, teachers, and medical professionals.
Equality and Human Rights
Stephen advises on equality and human rights issues for public sector service providers, professional bodies and individuals, in both judicial review claims and actions for financial compensation. His most recent work has focused on claims arising out of the impact of coronoavirus restrictions on people with disabilities.
2010 Appointed Deputy District Judge, South Eastern Circuit, civil cases
2020 Appointed Recorder South Eastern Circuit, public and private family law cases
Member of the Administrative Law Bar Association and formerly of the Public Law Solicitors’ Association
1992 BA degree, Oxford University, Biochemistry, First Class Honours
1993 Completed post graduate diploma in law/common professional examination, City University London, Commendation
1995 Called to the Bar of England and Wales
2002 Admitted as solicitor in England and Wales
“Stephen Hocking possesses vast experience defending judicial review and procurement challenges for public bodies in the health, education and local government sectors.
“He’s always extremely responsive and helpful, as well as being extremely wise and well-versed on healthcare issues.” “He is incredibly knowledgeable and easy to work with.” Chambers and Partners UK 2022 Edition, Administrative & Public Law, UK-wide
“Stephen Hocking is sharp, on the ball and strategic. He can be relied upon for a considered opinion on anything we throw at him” Legal 500 2022
‘Frankly outstanding’ practice head Stephen Hocking routinely defends clients in judicial review litigation, with recent engagements involving discrimination charges, medical treatment policy matters and procurement policy issues” Legal 500 2020
Stephen Hocking “is a tactical wizard in judicial review,” according to impressed market commentators. He is noted in the market for his considerable experience defending challenges concerning the NHS, local authorities, regulators and other publicly funded bodies. A client notes: “He has clarity of language, directness and structured thinking in the way he addresses issues. He knows the policy context in which legal instruments are applied, and it’s this broader experience that’s so valuable.” Chambers and Partners UK 2020 Edition, Administrative & Public Law, UK-wide
Stephen received the recommendations above while working as a solicitor.