Martin Westgate QC

Year of Silk


Year of Call

Martin Westgate QC
What the others say

Martin is ranked as a silk in Chambers and Partners under Administrative and Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Local Government, and Social Housing and was Human Rights and Public Law silk of the year 2015. He is described as a distinguished human rights practitioner with a broad practice, who demonstrates great strength in complex public law matters and with a particular strength in appellate work. In social housing he is said to be the “go to silk for tenants and applicants”.


In the Legal 500 he is ranked under Administrative and Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Court of Protection and Community Care and Social Housing.


Comments in the directories include:


Superb, especially in the highest courts”.


Truly excellent


Tenacious yet approachable


He's very clever, he wades through details with ease." "He combines thoroughness and reliability with analytical ability."


A true titan of public law matters." "A top QC in this area, who is very personable and easy-going.


Career Summary

Martin’s practice has always been a broad one making him well suited to cases with a multi-disciplinary element. This carries through to public law which is now the majority of his work covering a wide range of subject areas in the Administrative Court and on appeal from it. He also maintains his longstanding specialism in housing law and property related disputes. He is head of the public law team in Doughty Street Chambers and until 2018 was head of the housing team. He is Chair of the Administrative Law Bar Association. 


Specialist areas 

Cases in recent years demonstrate the range of Martin’s work. They include:


Access to Justice, costs and legal aid: Ben Hoare Bell v Lord Chancellor [2015] EWHC 523 (legal aid for judicial review); Lynch c CC Warwickshire [2014] Inquest LR 247 (inquest costs); Public Service Ombudsman for Wales v Heesom [2015] EWHC 3142 (Admin) (venue for detailed assessment);


Housing: Panayiotou v Waltham Forest LBC [2017] EWCA Civ 1624 (meaning of vulnerability); Poshteh v RBKC [2017] UKSC 36 (Suitability – Article 6 ECHR); Nzolameso v City of Westminster [2015] UKSC 22 (out of area placements); Telchadder v Wickland Holdings [2014] UKSC 57 (mobile homes security of tenure); NJ v Wandsworth [2014] PTSR 497 CA (local connection, reviews); R (Jakimaviciute) v Hammersmith & Fulham [2014] EWCA Civ 1438 (reasonable preference); Superstrike v Rodrigues [2013] 1 WLR 3848 CA (tenancy deposits).


Immigration and immigration detention:  Machnikowski v SSHD [2016] EWHC 3470 (Admin) (detention pending deportation – EU nationals); Lumba v SSHD [2011] UKSC 12 (causation, false imprisonment, damages)


Local authority: R (Attfield) v Barnet LBC [2013] PTSR 1559 (power to levy parking charges), TfL v Uber [2015] EWHC 2918 (Admin) (PSV licensing - taxi meters); Jones v LB Southwark [2016] EWHC 457 (Ch) (water resale); Eatherley v Camden LBC [2016] EWHC 3108 (Admin) (basement extension - planning permission);


Police law and pensions: R. (on the application of Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board) v SSWP CA [2013] 1 WLR 444 (change from RPI to CPI to uprate public sector pensions); Chief Constable of Hampshire v Police Appeals Tribunal [2012] EWHC 746 (Admin) (police discipline – oral evidence); R (CC Dorset) v PAT [2012] EWCA Civ 1047 (police discipline – dishonesty); Allard v CC Devon and Cornwall [2015] EWCA Civ 42 (police overtime); R (CC Thames Valley) v PAT [2016] EWCA Civ 1315 (disciplinary proceedings, hearsay evidence).  


Procurement: Hersi v Lord Chancellor [2017] EWHC 2667 (TCC) (LAA contracting).


Unincorporated Associations: Foster v McNicol [2016] EWHC 1966 (QB) (acted for Jeremy Corbyn in dispute about whether he should appear on the ballot for leader)


Victims of trafficking: R (G) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 942 (Admin) (Support for victims); R (PK) v SSHD (2018] EWCA Civ 98 (guidance on discretionary leave).


Welfare benefits: R (Carmichael) v SSWP [2016] UKSC 58 (bedroom tax); MK v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 1896 (Admin) (asylum support pending fresh claims); R (MG) v SSHD [2015] EWHC 3142 (Travelling expenses for dispersed asylum seeker);  R (RF) v SSWP [2017] EWHC 3375 (Admin) (amendments to PIP regulations quashed); R (DA) v SSWP [2017] EWHC 1446 (Admin) (benefit cap)


Publications seminars

Contributor to Supperstone, Goudie & Walker: Judicial Review (6th edn); Co-editor of Halsburys Laws of England Judicial Review (forthcoming); co-author of a regular series of articles on public  law in Legal Action Group bulletin.

Martin regularly presents seminars on topics including public law and housing law and is happy to discuss bespoke in-house training. 


Administrative and Public Law

This is a core part of Martin’s practice. Many of his recent cases overlap with specific substantive areas and are considered below. Others include:

  • R (Attfield) v Barnet LBC  [2013] P.T.S.R. 1559 (Admin) – Local authority not entitled to set parking charges as a means of raising revenue.
  • KM (Jamaica) and WL (Congo) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] 1 AC 245. Landmark case on administrative detention decided by a 9 judge Supreme Court establishing that a public law error that bears on the decision to detain renders it unlawful. Martin acted for KM and undertook the argument on behalf of the Appellants in relation to damages.
  • R (Castle and others) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [2011] EWHC 2317 (Admin), [2012] 1 All E.R. 953  - establishing that the chief officer of police owes a duty under the Children Act 2004 to ensure that due regard is given to the welfare of children.
  • R (BP) v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 276; [2011] 1 W.L.R. 3187 – power of the Administrative Court to deal with a case without a hearing.

Employment Law and Industrial Relations

Martin acts in a wide employment and related disputes, particularly in the public sector where is often instructed in employment disputes with a public law element. He also acts for and advises unions on their internal rules and election procedures and in relation to collective action. He has particular specialism in police and civil service terms and conditions including pensions.

His recent cases include:

  • R (CC Dorset) v Police Appeals Tribunal [2012] EWCA Civ 982 – circumstances in which dismissal is an appropriate sanction in a case of operational dishonesty.
  • CC Hampshire v Police Appeals Tribunal [2012] EWHC 746 (Admin) – concerning the circumstances in which oral evidence must be called in a Police Appeal Tribunal.
  • R (Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] 1 W.L.R 444 – challenge to the decision to uprate public sector pension benefits by CPI and not RPI.
  • R (Rennie) v Home Secretary [2009] EWHC 488 (Admin); successful challenge to the failure of the Home Secretary to uprate police pensions in accordance with actuarial tables.
  • Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWHC 1173 (Admin); challenge to the decision of the Home Secretary not to accept a Police Negotiating Board recommendation regarding police pay.
  • R (Hodgson) v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2008] EWHC 1183 amenability to judicial review – compulsory retirement of police officers.

Police pensions cases:

  • R (Pollard) v PMAB [2009] EWHC 403 (Admin)
  • Merseyside Police Authority v PMAB [2009] EWHC 88 (Admin)
  • R (Ashton) v PMAB [2008] EWHC 1833 (Admin) [2009 I.C.R. 51

Housing and Social Welfare

Martin has a long track record in all aspects of housing and social welfare law. His recent cases include:

  • R (Jakimaviciute) v LB Hammersmith and Fulham [2014] EWCA Civ 1438 – Allocation scheme declared unlawful for failure to give a reasonable preference to people accepted as homeless but in suitable temporary accommodation. 
  • Telchadder v Wickland Holdings Limited [2014] UKSC 57 – requirements for and validity of a notice to terminate a Mobile Homes Act 1983 agreement.
  • NJ v Wandsworth LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 1373, [2014] P.T.S.R. 497 – local connection acquired through residence in a refuge; decision that intervening events meant that the original decision was deficient so as to require a minded to find notice under Reg 8 of the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review Procedure) Regulations 2009.
  • R (MA) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWCA Civ 13, [2014] P.T.S.R. 584. Challenge the “bedroom tax” as indirectly discriminating against disabled people.
  • Superstrike Ltd v Rodrigues [2013] 1 WLR 3848 CA – Appeal establishing that the tenancy deposit regime applies to statutory periodic tenancies arising after the provisions came into force even where the original tenancy was granted beforehand.
  • R (CPAG) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2011] Eq. L.R. 1233 – a challenge to the decision of the Secretary of State to introduce national caps on the amounts of housing benefit payable. Martin acted pro bono for the CPAG.
  • Crown Estates Commissioners v Governors of the Peabody Trust [2011] EWHC 1467 (Ch), [2011] L. & T.R. 23 – whether protected crown tenants become secure or assured on transfer of the landlords interest to a private body. Martin was instructed on behalf of the tenants.
  • Martin acted for the protester Brian Haw in his successful appeal against the Mayor of London’s action for possession against him of Parliament Square Gardens [2010] EWCA Civ 817, [2011] 1 W.L.R. 504. He also acted on the remitted hearing [2011] EWHC 585.
  • Dixon v Rochdale MBC [2012] P.T.S.R. 1336 CA – judgment pending – Power of a local authority to seek possession for non-payment of water rates.

Community Care and Health

Martin has an active community care practice. He acted for the father baby RB in his opposition to the application by the NHS Trust to withdraw life sustaining treatment [2009] EWHC 3269 (Fam), [2010] 1 FLR 946.  Other recent cases include:

  • R (Jump) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] – challenge to changes to funding of local welfare provision. The claim was compromised when the Defendant agreed to re-consider.
  • R (Sumpter) v SSWP [2014] EWHC 2602 (Admin) – Challenge to the 20m threshold for enhanced rate personal independence payment on the basis of inadequate consultation.
  • R (MK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 1896 Admin – determining that the Secretary of State’s policy requiring fresh asylum claims to be considered before their applications for support was unlawful because it created an unacceptable risk of a breach of Art. 3 ECHR.
  • In G v E [2010] EWCA Civ 822 he acted for the appellants in a case defining the relationship between deprivation of liberty under the best interests jurisdiction in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Article 5 ECHR.
  • R (K) v SSHD [2010] EWHC 1002 (Admin); [2011] EWCA Civ 671 - scope of the powers of the Secretary of state to provide support to failed asylum seekers when they are in a mixed household with a person who is not an asylum seeker and so entitled to mainstream benefits.

Human Rights

Human Rights arguments feature across the whole spectrum of Martin’s work. His recent cases have dealt with issues as diverse as the right to life (RB and AP), right to home and family life (see e.g. K, Peabody), private life (Wood), freedom from arbitrary detention (e.g. WL, G v E), rights to protest and free speech (Haw, Castle) rights to property and possessions. His recent cases under this head not already highlighted above include:

  • Ismail v Secretary of State for Defence [2013] EWHC 3032 (Admin), [2014] ACD 34 –whether detainees in Afghanistan could be transferred to the Afghan authorities before they had received legal advice.
  • R (Catt) v ACPO [2013] 1 WLR 3305 – Martin acted for Liberty as intervener in this case concerning the retention of data in respect of an elderly protester.
  • R (AP) V HM Coroner for Worcestershire [2011] EWHC 1453 (Admin), [2011] Med LR 397 – investigative duty where a vulnerable young man was attacked and killed after having complained about his attacker to the police.

International Law

Martin advises and represents in a range of issues concerning the law of other jurisdictions – principally those with a right of appeal to the Privy Council. His work in this field has included advice on the powers of the Governor of Gibraltar to dispose of land, the application of state immunity in Gibraltar, compulsory purchase in Antigua (HMB Holdings v Antigua [2007] UKPC 37), environmental law in (Belize Alliance of Conservation NGOs v Department of the Environment of Belize [2004] UPKC 6; [2004] Env LR 38) and advice on whether forced evictions in Zimbabwe were a crime against humanity. Read More.


Most of Martin’s costs work arises from his substantive practice areas but he is not confined to this. He acted for one of the successful Appellants in Matthews/Roach v The Home Office [2009] EWHC 312 (QB); [2010] QC 256 establishing that costs incurred in the course of an inquest were recoverable in subsequent civil proceedings. He has represented a number of claimants in cases concerning the costs of incidental proceedings (e.g. Wilton v YJB [2010] EWHC 90188 (Costs)). He has advised on a range of costs issues including the validity of conditional fee arrangements, recovery of insurance premiums and referral arrangements and disputes relating to legal aid and contracting. He acted for the claimants in R (CMX) & ors v (1) Legal Services Commission (2) Home Secretary [2010] EWHC 1896 (Admin) - a challenge to the decision of the LSC to withdraw a legal services contract from Refugee Migrant Justice after it went into receivership and has also been instructed in several cases resisting re-payment to the LSC of sums paid on account. He is a member of the Bar Council Civil Legal aid sub-committee.

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