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David Lock was called to the Bar in 1985 and made a QC in 2011.  He has appeared in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the County Court, the Court of Protection, has drafted Parliamentary Bills and has advised individuals, companies and government bodies in a variety of international jurisdictions.  He has vast trial experience, including cross-examining expert and lay witnesses, but also has a wide-ranging public law and appellate practice.

"Absolutely outstanding. He has all the attributes of a great silk. His knowledge of the case is second to none, and his knowledge of the law is absolutely superb. His judgement is impeccable."
Chambers and Partners (2015)

David took silk in 2011 and since then has appeared in a series of high profile administrative and public law cases, acting for public bodies and against them.  David’s technical expertise as a public lawyer has been recognised by his appointment as one of the joint editors (along with David Blundell) of the leading journal “Judicial Review”.

He was on the panel of Treasury counsel before taking silk.  He is a recognised specialist in healthcare law and is one of the authors of the present edition of the leading practitioners’ book in the area, Grubb, Laing & McHale.  David has also appeared in leading cases concerning local government, police, prisoners’ rights and procurement law.


David’s practice includes all areas of work within Healthcare Law including:-

  • Consent to treatment and patient applications
  • Vires and legality of actions of NHS bodies
  • NHS Continuing care
  • List management and regulatory law for the NHS
  • GP, dental and pharmacy contracts
  • EU law affecting the NHS
  • Procurement and contracting issues

David has appeared in leading cases involving the NHS in recent years including Keep Wythenshawe Special Ltd v NHS Central Manchester CCG & Ors [2016] EWHC 17 (Admin) (challenge concerning the reconfiguration of NHS service Manchester) and Re N [2015] EWCOP 76 (case concerning the continuation of artificial nutrition and hydration for a multiple sclerosis patient).

He regularly advises a large number of NHS bodies on public law issues. However he also advises and acts for patients who are challenging decisions of the NHS and for doctors who are subject to regulatory action by NHS bodies including the recent case of R (Richmond Pharmacology Ltd) v The Health Research Authority [2015] EWHC 2238 (Admin).

David maintains the website which is an open source guide to the law relating to general practice, with particular focus on the role of GPs as commissioners within the NHS.

Police Law

David is a recognised specialist in public law relating to the police. He has acted in many judicial reviews concerning the law relating to police officers and has a particular expertise in police pensions (see for example Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v The Police Medical Appeal Board [2013] EWHC 1203 (Admin)).  He has represented Chief Constables, senior police officers, constables and former police officers in a wide variety of cases.  David acted for the successful former police officer in the case of AB v A Chief Constable (June 2014) which established that Chief Constables are bound by promises made by other officers. 

Local Authorities

David is regularly instructed on a wide range of local government issues and has reported cases acting for and against local authorities in the High Court and Court of Appeal. His expertise includes procurement, election law, social care responsibilities, governance and public sector finance.  He acted for Cornwall Council in the PH case, which is a leading case about ordinary residence of service users without capacity (which was heard in the Supreme Court in March 2015) and Walsall Council in the ZYN case about charges for services users who have personal injury awards.

Court of Protection

David has acted in a series of complex cases in the Court of Protection. He appeared in the widely reported case of Wye Valley NHS Trust v B  [2015] EWCOP 60 about the right of a patient lacking capacity to refuse life-saving medical treatment and in leading case of Re RK in the Court of Appeal concerning the law relating to the deprivation of liberty of children in local authority care. He also appeared in Re SK which is the leading case on parallel CoP and QB proceedings. 

Public Sector Pensions

David is a recognised national authority on public sector pensions, particularly police pensions where he has a series of reported cases involving the proper interpretation of the police pension scheme.

Information Governance

David took the Freedom of Information Bill through the Commons as a Junior Minister and was on the Bill Committee for the Data Protection Act. He is regularly instructed on information governance matters, particularly for NHS bodies and local government and has reported cases involving information governance and appeared in the recent AB case out the fairness of processing of personal data.

Human Rights and EU law

Many of the cases David is instructed on have a human rights or EU law element. He has advised and acted on EU and HR cases up to the Court of Appeal, and has advised or appeared in cases on issues as wide as whether development schemes constitute state aid through to whether it is a breach of the HR rights to prevent detained mental health patients from smoking (see here).


"He knows what clients want and need, is very practical and has a huge brain." "He is so incisive and gets the idea that you're working as part of a team." - Chambers UK 2015

“Able to reduce complex and esoteric legal quandaries into simple propositions” - Legal 500 2015

Highly respected for his broad public law expertise, David Lock QC receives particular plaudits for his expertise in matters at the intersection of public law and healthcare law. a very good advocate. He has served in local government and is very highly respected in the legal profession at a local and national level - Chambers UK 2014

David Lock QC is ‘impressive on his feet’, and ‘makes very complicated areas of law appear quite simple’ - Legal 500 2013

David Lock QC acts for both claimants and defendants in a broad range of public law matters, but has an acknowledged expertise in healthcare law and public law issues pertaining to the NHS. Sources say that he is "a genius when it comes to the more complex aspects of law and statute in the public law field" - Chambers UK 2013

David Lock QC commands high respect from the Administrative Law Bar. He is well equipped to deal with judicial review and Court of Protection cases relating to health and NHS policy, procurement law, police pensions and elections matters. He regularly provides strategic advice to NHS bodies on government interaction and issues connected with high-cost medical drugs - Chambers UK 2012

David has had an interesting and diverse career. After spending 10 years at the Bar in Birmingham he was elected as a Member of Parliament and was appointed to be a Minister at the Lord Chancellor's Department from 1999 to 2001. He has also served as a local councillor and chaired substantial Non-Departmental Public Bodies. He has also worked within a major law firm, Mills & Reeve, leading the healthcare practice and seeing life from the other side of the solicitor/barrister divide. David is a member of the BMA Ethics Committee, is chair of Innovation Birmingham Limited (the company which runs the Birmingham Science Park) and has served as a non-Executive director of a major NHS Foundation Trust.

David was selected by the Birmingham Law Society to be their 'Barrister of the Year' in 2011.

Outside work

David takes time away from practice annually to complete another leg of a charity cycle ride from England to Australia – in segments over a number of years: see for details. So far he and his wife have covered about 8,000km and have got as far as Tbilisi, Georgia!