Public law and Parliamentary

Sharpe Pritchard is a recognised leader in advising clients from both the public and commercial sectors on all aspects of public law.  

Lawyers in all departments of the firm advise on public law issues, including on governance issues, collaborative arrangements, trading powers, licensing (including prosecutions), freedom of information, human rights and vires. With many of our lawyers coming from public sector backgrounds, we have the expertise to deal with all these issues authoritatively.

Sharpe Pritchard is one of the few firms of lawyers with Roll A parliamentary agents amongst their number. The firm has practised as parliamentary agents for over 125 years and has promoted and opposed hundreds of Bills in Parliament. 

The firm is also an acknowledged expert in election law, advising on an wide range of electoral issues, including pre-election publicity, postal voting and expenses, in relation to all types of election from parish to parliamentary, European and mayoral.

Sharpe Pritchard has one of the UK's most celebrated administrative law teams, with a longstanding reputation for acting for parties in judicial reviews, injunctions, and statutory reviews and appeals.

Recent work

  • promoting all the London Local Authorities Acts for the London Boroughs (including bills promoted jointly with Transport for London), which have included many important provisions, a number of which have been taken up subsequently by the government on a national basis;
  • promoting Acts for local authorities to enable them to close highways for filming, and to deal with street trading;
  • acting for the returning officer in an election petition which challenged the election of the mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2014;
  • advising health charities, local authorities and pressure groups on tobacco control legislation;
  • advising the tri-boroughs on structures for its intelligent client model;
  • assisting a large county council with an investigation into a member’s conduct; and
  • advising Essex County Council on its powers to trade and trading structures;

John Sharland is the author of the book A Practical Approach to Local Government


What others say

The team is known for “Comprehensive practice encompassing both parliamentary agency and elections work. Excellent track record advising public authorities and highly experienced in the promotion and opposition of major new bills going through Parliament." 
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

The parliamentary and public law team at Sharpe Pritchard is "Very impressive in terms of their speed of understanding of specific election practices. Their client services are exceptional."
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

Sharpe Pritchard’s public law team is “entrusted by local authorities to handle complex and sensitive litigation including judicial reviews. Particular experience in defending planning decisions.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

"We are impressed with their thoroughness." 
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

Partner Ashley Badcock “has deep experience in the field of election law and is known for his representation of returning officers, regularly advising on an array of disputes and procedural matters.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

Alastair Lewis “is well versed in the promotion and opposition of all kinds of legislation including that relating to major national infrastructure projects.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

Alastair Lewis is "always extremely knowledgeable, accessible and good on customer care."
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

Emyr Thomas has “a broad parliamentary agency and election law practice, covering a range of legislative matters.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.


21 December 2017

Court of Appeal confirms that Local Government Act 1972 provides local authorities with power to authorise music festivals in parks held on trust for the public
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21 March 2017

Sharpe Focus 18 – news, projects and legal updates
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14 March 2017

Sharpe Pritchard wins Tier 1 place on Central Government Panel as part of innovative PwC consortium
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