Elections and electoral law

Sharpe Pritchard is one of the few firms which offers expertise in electoral law, advising returning officers and other election officers in the complex procedures connected with running local and general elections and referendums.  We advise on post-election difficulties and when the conduct or result of an election is challenged by election petition.  Our specialist solicitors advise upon:

  • pre-election publicity;
  • expenses;
  • mayoral election and referendum processes;
  • electronic voting;
  • High Court election petitions;
  • Expenditure of candidates and political parties;
  • voter registration;
  • candidate nomination;
  • election literature;
  • voting documentation and lawfulness; and
  • absent and postal voting processes.

Sharpe Pritchard operate an election hotline available to give urgent advice during polling day and the count.

Recent work

  • acting for the returning officer in an election petition which challenged the election of the mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2014;
  • advising and acting for a returning officer where the result of a county council election had been challenged as to the conduct of the vote counting process and a recount refused;
  • advising on unlawful expenditure in advertising a candidate’s achievements in a local magazine and a London Borough sponsored newssheet and on the use of photographic images;
  • advising on the rejection of a candidate’s nomination as incomplete and not containing necessary information; and
  • acting in an election petition where electors were waiting in queues outside polling stations had been unable to vote.

Reported cases include:

  • Earlham & Others v Rahman (2015 Tower Hamlets);
  • Sanders v Chichester;
  • Ali & Others v Haques & Others (Tower Hamlets);
  • Saghir v Najib;
  • Scarth v Amin (Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council); and
  • Knight v Nicholls.


What others say

The electoral law team has an “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.

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.

Emyr Thomas’ “technical ability in this area is invaluable and he is able to interpret legislation for all concerned."
Chambers and Partners UK 2017.

The electoral law team at Sharpe Pritchard has "made a name for itself through its work for returning officers.” 
Legal 500 2016.

Partner Ashley Badcock is described as “fantastic” and Emyr Thomas was also recommended as a leading individual in this area. 
Legal 500 2016.

Ashley Badcock is identified as a key individual in Chambers UK.

"Excellent - well organised, efficient, customer-focused and knowledgeable." 
Chambers and Partners 2016.

"They are renowned experts in this area so we rely on them a lot." Chambers and Partners 2016.

Our people


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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10 November 2016

Recognition and praise for Sharpe Pritchard LLP in Chambers and Partners UK 2017
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