Jenni Richards

Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers

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.

Practice areas


  • Clare College, Cambridge. BA (Hons) Law, First Class: 1986-1989
  • University of Toronto LLM: 1990-1991

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