Carl Gardner

Barrister, Owner of the 'Head of Legal' website
Carl practised as a lawyer in the UK government for twelve years, including periods at HMRC, DWP and the Department of Health, Cabinet Office and the Attorney General’s Office. He advised ministers on public, EU and human rights law, drafted legislation and defended the government in judicial review proceedings and in the European courts. He negotiated for the UK in Brussels, including on the text of the European Constitution.
Contributed to


Consultation: requirement and process
Practice notes

This Practice Note examines the legal requirements of consultation. There is no general duty for public authorities to consult those affected by their decisions, but a consultation duty may be imposed by statute, or may arise in public law either because of the duty to act fairly, or as a result of a legitimate expectation. This Practice Note examines the case law that helps define when and how to conduct effective consultation.

Parliamentary elections, dissolution and summoning of Parliament
Practice notes

This Practice Note outlines the rules relating to dissolution, elections and summoning of Parliament under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011. The usual term of Parliament is five years from the date of the last general election. This Practice Note looks at the circumstances for calling an early election. It also covers the role of the Electoral Commission, electoral offences and disqualification from standing as a member of parliament.

Parliamentary privilege and the Bill of Rights 1688
Practice notes

Parliamentary privilege means the rights enjoyed by each House collectively as a constituent part of Parliament; and by Members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their functions. Some privileges are based purely on the law and custom of Parliament, while others have been defined by statute.

Parliamentary privilege, the FOI exemption
Practice notes

This Practice Note considers the exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FIA 2000), s 34 (parliamentary privilege).

Parliamentary procedure
Practice notes

This Practice Note outlines the basic procedures for passage of a Bill in the UK Parliament. Parliament makes and changes the law by considering draft legislation in the form of a Bill. If passed by both Houses of Parliament, a Bill is enacted on Royal Assent and in due course becomes law. The main types of Bills are Public Bills introduced by the government in the House of Commons.

Parliamentary supremacy the enrolled bill rule
Practice notes

An Act of Parliament is assented by the monarch, Lords and Commons to have full force and authority as laid down in the Bill of Rights. When enrolled on the Parliamentary roll it is an Act regardless whether those affected have had notice or other procedural reasons.

Parliamentary supremacy—implied repeal
Practice notes

This Practice Note deals with the principle that Parliament is not bound by previous legislation and cannot bind its successors. It tracks the development of this doctrine from its origins through inconsistencies in the 1930s and limiting effects of UK’s membership of the EU and other constitutional statues such as devolution.

Separation of powers—legislative, executive and judiciary
Practice notes

This Practice Note examines the doctrine of the separation of powers. The separation of powers is the idea that government consists of three functions or branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) and that liberty is best protected where the three branches are kept institutionally separate from each other.

Sources of constitutional law
Practice notes

The British constitution has a variety of written and unwritten sources: legislation, case law, the prerogative, constitutional conventions and Parliamentary sovereignty. This Practice Note identifies the various sources, their operation and any limitations and developments.

Standing Orders and Parliamentary questions
Practice notes

Standing Orders are written rules formulated by each House to regulate proceedings. This Practice Note examines the key Standing Orders of both Houses with more detail on procedures for Parliamentary Questions including Prime Minister’s Questions.

The executive and the civil service
Practice notes

This Practice Note identifies the remit of the civil service working in government departments and agencies to support the government develop and deliver policies.

What is a public authority?
Practice notes

This Practice Note reveals the case law and statutory definitions of public authority, clarifying the various similarities and distinctions. The note covers common law judicial review, as well as human rights, freedom of information/environmental information regulations and miscellaneous statutory definitions.

Other work


Using examples from case law, this checklist identifies the key considerations in relation to conducting consultations in the context of public policy and decision making. These considerations include: the duty to consult, who to consult, when to consult, how to consult and what to do next following consultation.

Practice areas


  • Consulting Editorial Board
  • Contributing Author


  • Manchester Polytechnic, Common Professional Examination in Law, 1992
  • Inns of Court School of Law, Bar Vocational Course, 1993
  • Oxford University, BA Modern Languages 1984-88

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