Practice Areas

Jenni Richards QC

Jenni Richards has an extensive public law and regulatory practice acting for individuals, public bodies and public interest groups in all areas affected by public law and regulation. She is recognised as “a star of the bar” and as being “as brilliant on her feet as she is on paper” (Chambers & Partners). She is a versatile advocate, appearing regularly in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and before a range of tribunals. Jenni recently acted for the successful claimants in the Supreme Court in the leading human rights case Rabone v Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust and she is representing Cheshire West and Chester Council in a forthcoming Supreme Court hearing on the meaning of deprivation of liberty in the health and social care context.

Jenni’s public law expertise includes local government, human rights, mental health, health and social (community) care, financial services, education, prison law and immigration/asylum. She is frequently asked to advise public bodies, especially local authorities, health trusts and regulatory bodies on a wide range of issues relating to their powers and duties, consultation processes, budgetary decision-making and compliance with the Human Rights Act. Current/recent cases in which she acted or is advising include: a judicial review challenge by a victim of sexual assault and domestic violence to failures by the police and CPS to investigate and bring charges; a judicial review of the decision of Arts Council England to cease funding for a highly respected Asian music organisation; and possible challenges to decisions of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Jenni’s local government practice is wide-ranging. She has recently completed an independent standards investigation into allegations of misconduct on the part of the leader of a county council. Current/recent cases in which she acted or is advising include: acting for a local authority in an appeal to the Upper Tribunal on the qualifying criteria for exempt accommodation under the housing benefit regime; advising a local authority in relation to challenges to its setting of care home fee levels; and representing a local authority in a claim for damages under the Human Rights Act arising out of alleged failures to protect a vulnerable service user. In the education field she acts for local authorities, individuals, statutory regulators and educational establishments. Recent education work includes advising higher education institutions on issues relating to HTS status and Tier 4 guidance, on disputes with students over course provision and the requirements for ATAS certificates, and representing a pupil in a claim against a school for breach of Articles 3, 5, and 8.

Jenni’s regulatory and disciplinary work covers a wide range of areas. She has a particular interest in financial services regulation and represented the Financial Services Authority in R (Canada Inc) v FSA [2011] EWHC 2766 (Admin) as well as in various enforcement proceedings in the Upper Tribunal. She has appeared before CIPFA and has advised the ICAEW. Recent advisory work has included advising a regulator on policies and procedures in relation to obtaining and relying upon evidence from children and vulnerable adults, advising a regulator on a challenge to the compatibility of its decision-making procedures with Article 6 ECHR and advising a financial regulator on intervention in Supreme Court proceedings concerning the regulator’s entitlement to rely on information about spent convictions and cautions. Jenni has particular expertise in the regulation of health care professionals, the regulation of fertility services by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the regulation of hospitals and care homes and the regulation of teachers. She acts for regulators and for individual professionals facing fitness to practise or disciplinary allegations. in proceedings before conduct/fitness to practise panels, in statutory appeals and in judicial review challenges. Recent/current work includes representing a leading psychoanalyst in disciplinary proceedings before a non-statutory body, representing a leading fertility practitioner in licensing proceedings before the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and representing the Health and Care Professions Council in a judicial review of a decision not to refer a case to a conduct committee.

Jenni has extensive experience in difficult and sensitive inquests and inquiries, in particular those in which there is a public component such as the responsibility of the state in relation to the cause of death. She has represented local authorities, NHS trusts, central government, families, employers and other properly interested persons at inquests ranging in subject matter from asbestos exposure to deaths in custody. She has been involved in many leading cases concerning the investigative and substantive obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, including Savage v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust [2008] UKHL 74, Rabone v Pennine Acute Hpsiptals Trust [2012] UKSC 2, and R (Lewis) v HM Coroner for Shropshire [2009] EWCA Civ 1403.

Jenni is often instructed in the most complex or novel cases under the Mental Capacity Act involving difficult decisions relating to capacity, medical treatment (especially end of life cases) and deprivation of liberty. She acted for the family of Mr L, a severely brain damaged Muslim man in a challenge to a hospital’s decision to withhold life-saving treatment contrary to his religious principles. She is representing the local authority in the forthcoming Supreme Court appeal in Cheshire West and Chester Council v P, concerning deprivation of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act.

Jenni is an experienced mediator, who trained with CEDR. As counsel, she is frequently involved in dealing with matters through mediation and many of her cases are resolved successfully without the need for judicial determination. As a mediator she focuses upon judicial review disputes (of all kinds) and Court of Protection cases. She has acted as mediator in a range of cases involving disputes between individuals and public bodies, including disputes over the provision of services to individuals, as well as disputes between different public bodies as to their respective responsibilities.


Jenni is recommended as a leading silk in Administrative & Public Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Court of Protection, Local Government, Mediation, Professional Discipline and Community care in Chambers & Partners 2013.  Jenni is also ranked by Legal 500 in Administrative and public law (including local government) and Civil liberties and human rights.


"She has a big brain and really gets behind the case. Her commitment is incredible. She represents with passion." "She is consistently brilliant, both on paper and in court.""Her advocacy is brilliant - she's exceptionally hard-working and truly believes what she does, which really shines through." "She is a leading silk, particularly in relation to mental health issues." "She's fantastic - she has a huge knowledge of this field, is a very persuasive advocate and is well-rounded and versatile." "She's very good to work with, invariably pleasant with opponents, but also has a steely core, and is extremely robust in defence of her clients' interests." "One of the best around, who is both extremely clever and pragmatic; she understands capacity law inside out." "Her advocacy is brilliant; she's exceptionally hard-working and truly believes in what she does." "A very compassionate person, who has fabulous advocacy skills and a vast knowledge of the law." Chambers & Partners 2015

"A true star."
"An incredible advocate; knowledgeable, helpful and a safe pair of hands." Legal 500 2014

"If I had a case which required leading counsel, I would go to her without a doubt.” “She is a knowledgeable, well-organised and enthusiastic specialist who shows impressive commitment.” "She is a class act. She is very easy to deal with, great with clients and a very robust advocate." "Consistently brilliant, both on paper and in court.""She is very bright, and an aggressive and effective advocate." "A very skilled advocate. She is extremely good at absorbing large amounts of information and has a down-to-earth approach." "She is a superb local government all-rounder, and someone you want on your side." "She's very businesslike and gets on with it. She knows how to advance things," "She is supremely knowledgeable when it comes to regulatory law, and confident and assertive in court."“She is truly excellent in terms of her attention to detail. She can drill down into large amounts of paperwork on many people and still pick out the perspective of one individual.”  Chambers & Partners 2014

"'knowledgeable’ and ‘persuasive’, and has ‘excellent advocacy skills’" Legal 500 2013

"a guru of all things public law”, “incredibly bright”, “can turn her hand to anything”, “very clear, very logical and great at cutting to the chase and identifying the key issues” Chambers & Partners 2013

“clever and incisive, and thinks about cases strategically and from all perspectives”, “depth of knowledge in public and human rights law is astonishing” Legal 500 2012

“excellent with clients and always manages to somehow get the judge on her side”, “outstanding knowledge of health and welfare matters”, “great on her feet”, “adds to the ranks of the set’s outstanding silks” Chambers & Partners 2012

“highly rated”, “always a pleasure to work with”, “outstanding” Chambers & Partners 2011

“extremely clever and imaginative," Chambers & Partners 2010

"a consummate expert in the field of community care and enjoys one of the highest profiles in the arena. Advising local authorities on their powers and duty of care is her particular forte" Chambers & Partners 2010

"a bullish opponent who's as brilliant on her feet as she is on paper." Chambers & Partners 2009

"she's friendly, approachable and great to have on your side" Chambers & Partners 2009

"committed, hard-working and imaginative" Chambers & Partners 2009

"a complete star" Legal 500 2009

"she manages to fight her corner, whilst remaining charming and measured" Chambers & Partners 2008

"a genuine expert" Legal 500 2008

A "tenacious advocate, who can be relied upon to put the point across in a forceful way ... astute and level-headed" Chambers & Partners 2007


Appointed silk 2011
CEDR Accredited mediator
Appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Counsel 2013

Significant Cases

P v Cheshire West and P and Q v Surrey County Council, [2014] UKSC 19
IM v LM & Ors , [2014] EWCA Civ 37
North Dorset NHS Primary Care Trust v Coombs, [2013] EWCA Civ 741
R (R & others) v CAFCASS [2012] EWCA Civ 853
R (Asian Music Circuit) v Arts Council England , [2012] EWHC 1583 (Admin)
Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Trust, [2012] UKSC 2
Wirral MBC v Salisbury Independent Living , [2012] EWCA Civ 84
Levinge v Health Professons Council , [2012] EWHC 135 (Admin)
Cheshire West and Chester Council v P, [2011] EWCA Civ 1257
R (Palmer) v HM Coroner for Worcestershire , [2011] EWHC 1453 (Admin)
R (on the application of Canada Inc) v Financial Services Authority, [2011] EWHC 2766 (Admin)
AH v Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust & others , 1 January 2011, [2011] EWHC (CoP)
Salisbury Independent Living v Wirral Borough Council , 1 January 2011, [2011] UKUT 44 (AAC)
R (L) v Leeds City Council , 2011, [2010] EWHC 3324 (Admin)
R (on the application of Michael Mwanza) v Greenwich London Borough Council , Bromley London Borough Council , [2010] EWHC 1462 (Admin)
R (Lewis) v HM Coroner for the Mid & North Division of Shropshire & Secretary of State for Justice , [2010] 1 WLR 1836
Stanley Muscat v Health Professions Council, [2009] EWCA Civ 1090
R (Lewis) v HM Coroner For the Mid & North Division of the Country of Shropshire & Secretary Of State For Justice:R (Calvert) v HM Coroner, [2009] EWHC 661 (Admin)
St Helens Borough Council v Manchester Primary Care Trust & anor (CA), [2008] EWCA Civ 931
Savage v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust & MIND , (HL) [2009]1 AC 681; (2009) UKHRR 480
HK (Turkey) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (CA), [2007] EWCA Civ 1357
AI v Secretary of State for the Home Department (CA), [2007] EWCA Civ 386
JE v DE, Surrey County Council and EW , 1 January 2006, [2006] EWHC 3459 (Fam)
Cavanagh, Bhatt & Redmond v Health Service Commissioner (CA), [2005] EWCA Civ 1578; The Times 13 January 2005
ID & others v Home Office, [2005] EWCA Civ 38, [2006] 1 WLR 1003
A Local Authority v Z (Fam), (2005) 1 WLR 959 : (2005) 1 FLR 740 : (2005) HRLR 2 : Times, December 09, 2004
Uttley v Secretary of State for the Home Department (HL), (2004) 1 WLR 2278; (2004) HRLR 42; (2004) UKHRR 1031; Times, August 13, 2004
R (A, B, X & Y) v East Sussex County Council and Disability Rights Commission (QBD), [2003] LGR 529; (2003) 6 CCLR 177 and 193
R v Redcar and Cleveland BC ex p Armstrong; R v Manchester City Council ex p Stennett (CA), TLR 29/8/2002; [2002] 3 WLR 584, [2002] 4 All ER 124; [2002] 68 BMLR 247
R (Coughlan) v North and East Devon Health Authority (CA), 16 July 1999, 16 July 1999 [2000] 2 WLR 622

Related News

Successful challenge to prisoner book ban
Jenni Richards QC, Victoria Butler-Cole and Annabel Lee appear in prison book ban challenge
Jenni Richards QC and Victoria Butler-Cole act for prisoner "in despair" by the ban on books
Jenni Richards QC represents Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust at Hillsborough Inquests
P, P and Q: The key to the gilded cage - Seminar video
Jenni Richards QC named Lawyer of the week by The Times
Five members of Thirty Nine Essex Street appear in landmark deprivation of liberty case
Jenni Richards QC, Catherine Dobson and Rose Grogan successfully represent widow wishing to keep husband’s sperm
Five members of Thirty Nine Essex Street appear in the Supreme Court
Ten members of Thirty Nine Essex Street nominated for Chambers 100 UK Bar
MDAC Asks UK House of Lords to Amend Legal Capacity Law
First Thirty Nine Essex Street Inquest Law Newsletter Launches Today
Jenni Richards QC, Alex Ruck Keene, Rory Dunlop, Anna Bicarregui and Victoria Butler-Cole have been appointed to the Equality Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Counsel.
Jenni Richards QC concludes local government standards investigation into allegations against council leader
Jenni Richards QC and Vikram Sachdeva act in case with family seeking to overturn DNACPR Order based on patient's belief that all possible treatment should be provided
Jenni Richards QC and Josephine Norris have secured an important ruling from the Court of Appeal about landlords' entitlement to appeal housing benefit decisions
Jenni Richards QC wins landmark human rights case in the Supreme Court
Landmark House of Lords ruling on scope of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights


Local Government Standards: new regime (with Annabel Lee)
Inquests and Article 2 ECHR (with Colin Thoman)

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