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Regulatory law

Charles has a busy regulatory law practice, drawing upon his expertise in public law and EU law. He provides advice and representation in a range of regulatory contexts, including (but not limited to) aviation, broadcasting, data protection, financial services, food standards, professional discipline, licensing and utilities. He has acted for a wide range of clients in the regulatory field including regulators, companies and users of regulated services. He is a member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers. He is an Independent Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' UK and Ireland Regulatory Sub-Board (since 2018).

Details of the most significant cases on which Charles has worked can be accessed by clicking the ‘cases’ link above. Recent highlights in the field of regulatory law include:

  • Broadcasting regulation: R (Traveller Movement) v. Office of Communications [2015] EWHC 406 (Admin), a challenge to Ofcom’s decision not to uphold a complaint that Channel 4 had breached broadcasting standards in relation to the TV programmes My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Thelma’s Gypsy Girls, raising important issues about the legality of Ofcom's procedures for determining complaints (with Christopher Jacobs).

  • Financial services regulation: acting for the Serious Fraud Office in a two-day hearing in the Commercial Court in November 2012 successfully striking out a claim alleging that the Director of the SFO negligently failed to exercise his powers of investigation against certain financial services providers pursuant to s.2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987: see Makar v. Russell Jones & Walker, Serious Fraud Office and others [2012] EWHC 3681 (Comm).

  • Tobacco/healthcare regulation: acting for the Secretary of State for Health in proceedings brought by the leading producer of Swedish snus seeking the invalidation of the provisions in the 2014 EU Tobacco Products Directive which ban the production and supply of tobacco for oral use within the EU (except in Sweden, Austria and Finland in respect of which there are limited saving provisions): R (Swedish Match AB) v. Secretary of State for Health (referred by the Administrative Court to the CJEU following a hearing in January 2017).

  • Regulation of Solicitors: acting for the claimant in R (Amlin UK) v. Solicitors Regulation Authority (2012, settled), a judicial review of a decision of the Solicitors Regulation Authority to rescind an earlier decision to refer the claimant's complaint of misconduct against a solicitor to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The case raised the far-reaching question of whether the applicable standard of proof in the SDT is the criminal standard or the civil standard, a matter which has been the subject of much discussion in recent years. The claim was granted permission to proceed by Burnett J and settled shortly before the substantive hearing in November 2012.

  • Regulation of Barristers: acting for the Crown Prosecution Service in defence of a judicial review of its decision of remove a barrister from its Advocate Panel following a finding that he had made recklessly misleading statements in the context of an application to renew his membership of the panel. The issues include the compatibility of the decision with Article 1 of the First Protocol ECHR and common law principles of procedural fairness, and whether decisions regarding membership of the CPD Advocate Panel are amendable to judicial review  (2017-ongoing).

  • Pub companies regulation: acting for the newly established Pubs Code Adjudicator in relation to his powers as regulator and as arbitrator of disputes between pub companies and their tied tenants pursuant to the Pubs Code etc. Regulations 2016 and the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

  • Regulation of immigration sponsors: appearing in the Supreme Court in R (New London College Ltd.) v. SSHD [2013] UKSC 51, a challenge to the legality of the sponsor licensing regime operated by the UK Border Agency to regulate educational institutions and employers that sponsor non-EU citizens’ applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK. Charles previously acted for the successful claimant in the lead case of R (London Reading College Ltd) v. SSHD [2010] E.L.R. 809, in which the High Court held that the revocation of the London Reading College’s Tier 4 Sponsor Licence was procedurally unfair and in breach of Article 1 of the First Protocol ECHR. He was subsequently engaged on the College’s £1.2m damages claim under s.8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in the Queen’s Bench Division, which recently settled. He also acted for the Claimant in R (Central College of London Ltd) v. SSHD [2012] EWHC 1273 (Admin), in which Hickinbottom J held that, in the context of a regulatory scheme, disciplinary action by the relevant public authority against the regulated body may be irrational and thus unlawful if it is a disproportionate response to the regulated body's conduct or actions (notwithstanding that disproportionality is not a general free-standing ground for judicial review).

  • Fisheries regulation: advising the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Environment Agency in England on regulation of salmon fishing, and acting in litigation in June 2013 in which the catch limits imposed by the Environment Agency on salmon fishing licences are being challenged.

  • Aviation regulation: advising one of the UK’s major airports in May 2014 on compliance with EU Regulations 2008/300 and 185/2010 on common basic standards for aviation security.

  • Food standards regulation: advising a well-known multinational company on compliance with food standards regulations under Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs.

  • Data protection regulation: acting for the Home Office in the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) in Home Office v. Information Commissioner [2012] UKFTT EA/2011/0203 concerning the interpretation of the First Data Protection Principle under Sch. 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998, which regulates the processing of personal data.

  • Consumer protection regulation: advising a leading international tyre service provider on the new regulatory requirements governing the display and sale of tyres which came into force in November 2012 under Regulation (EC) 1222/2009.