Public law & regulation

Inside knowledge of both business and regulatory perspectives

Led by partner John Cooper, this dedicated team comprises public law and regulation specialists, as well as experts from across the firm. Its lawyers advise regulators, consumer councils, trade associations, listed companies, small and medium enterprises, and other public and private bodies on a range of public law issues.

These include judicial review; the interpretation and application of statutory and regulatory frameworks; the exercise of duties, functions, and powers by public bodies; the interpretation and application of EU law in the context of public law, particularly with regulated industries; the constitution and set up of statutory bodies including drafting rules of procedure and delegation protocols and provisions; and the publication of information in accordance with Freedom of Information Act requirements. The team also provides general support to other clients of the firm.

Public law experts advised the Consumer Council for Postal Services in its successful judicial review of the industry regulator. It challenged the Postal Services Commission in relation to its failure to enforce a licence condition of Royal Mail plc, in relation to the payment of compensation to business customers. This is the first time a statutory consumer body has judicially reviewed an industry regulator. The judgment resulted in an additional £25 million in compensation being paid to consumers.

One of many highlights is acting for NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and Special Health Authorities in relation to the statutory framework of powers and duties in both the public and private healthcare sectors. This included advising a large number of trusts on their legal ability to contract with private healthcare providers, a Special Health Authority on its powers to dispose of assets, and the Department of Health on variations in the regulatory framework between the public and private sectors, as well as the scope for greater alignment.

As well as healthcare, sector specialists work with clients in the energy, food & drink, pharmaceutical, utilities, telecoms, gambling and transport industries.

Sector expertise and previous careers equip the team with inside knowledge of both business and regulatory perspectives. Prior to joining Wragge & Co, qualified barrister John was a senior legal adviser at OFGEM, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.

Being re-appointed as principal legal adviser to the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation enhanced the team's reputation for energy-related work. Energy and regulatory experts advised on the legislative framework for the introduction of the Single Electricity Market in the island of Ireland, the role of the Authority within this framework and the exercise by the Authority of its statutory duties and functions in light of the new framework.

Clients include Cadbury plc, EDF Energy, Department of Health, Consumer Council for Postal Services, Birds Eye, Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation and energywatch

For more about public law and regulation, contact John Cooper (john_cooper@wragge.com).