Richard Gordon QC

Year of Call: 1972 Silk: 1994

Clerk: Ian Moyler

Richard Gordon QC

Year of Call: 1972 Silk: 1994

Clerk: Ian Moyler

“‘extremely knowledgeable’ and ‘an outstanding advocate’.”
- Legal 500 2013

“a strikingly accessible lawyer who thinks very widely around all sorts of public law issues.”
- Chambers & Partners 2013


Richard Gordon is widely recognised as one of the leading silks in Administrative and Public Law, Constitutional Law and Human Rights/Civil Liberties. Increasingly, too, he is recommended in judicial review for EU and Competition Law cases. He is a Visiting Professor at University College London and Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong. In 2008 he was a Senior Visiting Fellow at Auckland and Melbourne Universities, and Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong 2008 - 2011. He is currently on the Panel of Queen's Counsel as an advocate for the Welsh Government.

He has acted in many of the most important Public Law, Constitutional and Human Rights cases in recent years. He appears regularly before the UK appellate courts as well as in foreign jurisdictions and before the ECJ and European Court of Human Rights.

practice areas

Experience/Areas of Practice

  • Public and Administrative Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • European Law and Competition
  • Human Rights

Also undertakes work in the areas of Judicial review and other fields of public law (e.g. contempt) and related areas including regulatory, commercial, telecommunications, local authority, environmental.

Public Law

Important Cases

  • G v E (2010) (successfully represented the Official Solicitor in a major case in the Court of Appeal and incapacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005)
  • TTM v. London Borough of Hackney (2010) (success in important case in the Court of Appeal involving relationship between Article 5 and habeas corpus)
  • Norbrook Laboratories v Veterinary Medicines Directorate (important EU case in Northern Ireland on effect of EU Directive on veterinary medicines)
  • R (Government of Bermuda) v. OFCOM (judicial review of OFCOM's powers overseas)
  • Sky v OFCOM and Virgin Media (successfully acted for Virgin Media in competition judicial review in the CAT)
  • Mucelli v Government of Italy (key House of Lords case on interpretation of extradition procedural rules)
  • Barry v London Borough of Southwark (successfully acted for Appellant in challenge to free movement of workers ruling)
  • Ignaou and Others v Judicial Authority of the Court of Milan (key habeas corpus on behalf of alleged terrorists)
  • Dobson v. Thames Water Utilities Ltd (successful appeal in HRA damages in claims for nuisance)
  • R (Schofield) v Secretary of State for Health (successful judicial review challenge to GP's pensions restrictions)
  • R (Grogan) v. Bexley NHS Trust (successful claim relating to liability of NHS to fund continuing health care).
  • R (MH) v. S/S for the Home Department (HL case on procedural safeguards for mental patients under s. 29).
  • R (Norris) v. S/S (high profile extradition case for USA law firm White and Case).
  • R (Takeley Parish Council) v Stansted Airport (important environmental case on blight).
  • R (Jones) v LB of Southend (community care case on access to services).
  • R (Spink) v LB of Wandsworth (charging under CSDPA s. 2).
  • R (Noble) v Thanet BC (EIA and relationship between EU and domestic law).
  • R (Countryside Alliance) v A-G (the hunting ban human rights case).
  • Representing Belfast City Council in the House of Lords in a sex establishment licensing appeal.
  • R (Ealing LBC) v Audit Commission (crucial case on fettering of discretion).
  • R (Mercke Sharpe and Dohme) v Licensing Authority (important EU pharmaceuticals case).
  • Cardiff Bay Development Corporation v Cardiff City Council (case on local authority powers).
  • R (Scottish Power) v Electricity Markets Authority (judicial review over electricity charging).
  • R (Rockware Glass) v Chester CC (successful planning and environmental case about legality of discharge consent for largest glass manufacturing plant in Europe).
  • R (Transco) v EA (important case re transfer of liability provisions)
  • Burke -v- GMC July 2004 (landmark victory before the High Court establishing the right of a competent adult patient to receive life-saving treatment).
  • S & M -v- Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police July 2004 (major case before the House of Lords involving the legality of retaining DNA samples from acquitted persons).
  • Hong Kong Telecommunications Authority (three appearances before the Hong Kong Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in March, June and September 2004 where, in the judgments to date, the Authority has been successful on all points of legal principle).
  • Re the Rt. Hon Iain Duncan Smith M.P. March 2004 (acted successfully on behalf of Iain Duncan Smith - former Leader of the Conservative opposition) in the Mawer Inquiry).
  • Glass -v- United Kingdom March 2004 (acted successfully in a Strasbourg challenge over ‘do not resuscitate' procedures in a UK hospital)
  • R (Sacker) -v- HM Coroner for West Yorkshire February 2004 (acting successfully for Claimant in appeal before the HL relating to the right to life under Article 2 ECHR).
  • R -v- Financial Services Commissioner ex p. X and Others September 2003 (acting successfully for the Financial Services Commissioner in Gibraltar on a challenge to disclosure of confidential information).
  • R (Exoteric Gas Solutions) -v- Transco 2003 (acting successfully for Transco on a challenge brought against the Secretary of State relating to alleged monopoly abuse by Transco).
  • R (Watts) -v- Secretary of State for Health 2003 (successfully challenged NHS waiting lists under Community law).
  • Matthews -v- MOD (2003) (challenge in HL to immunity certificates issued under the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 - now acting in another case (Roche) in Strasbourg on behalf of Liberty challenging the correctness of Matthews.
  • Wilson -v- First County Trust (2003) (successfully acted for a number of insurance companies under the auspices of the Association of British Insurers in major human rights challenge to commercial consumer legislation).
  • R (Munjaz) -v- Secretary of State (2003) (successful challenge on behalf of MIND to seclusion in mental hospitals).
  • R (Prokopp) -v- LB of Tower Hamlets (2003) (successful defence of challenge to planning decision of LB of Tower Hamlets in respect of the East London Railway Extension).
  • Motorola -v- Uzan (2003) (human rights challenge in the Court of Appeal in applications by Motorola for world-wide freezing injunction of defendants' assets)
  • Peck -v- United Kingdom (2003) (successful Strasbourg challenge for breach of privacy under Article 8 ECHR relating to use of CCTV).
  • R (Quintavalle) -v- Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (2003) (major case in HL relating to cloning).
  • R -v- Securities and Futures Authority, ex p. Fleurose 2002 (successful defence of SFA in a challenge by an arbitrage trader raising the civil/criminal divide under the Convention for the SFA/FSA).
  • Persey and Others -v- Secretary of State for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs 2002 (high profile challenge to the failure of the Government to hold an inquiry into the foot and mouth outbreak)
  • Heather -v- Leonard Cheshire Foundation 2002 (major case as to the extent of the term ‘public authority' under the Human Rights Act 1998).
  • Roth GMBH -v- Secretary of State for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs 2002 (Successful challenge to the S/S clandestines policy as being in breach of Article 1 Protocol 1 and Article 6 of the European Convention)
  • Yukos -v- FSA , London Stock Exchange & Rosneft (Succesfully resisting leave being granted to Yukos . Acting for LSE in relation to proceedings brought in an attempt to frustrate the $10 bn IPO of the Rosneft group of companies )


EU/ECHR and other cases in foreign courts:

  • Teixeira v London Borough of Lambeth (2010) (success in Luxembourg on right of residence under EU law for parent caring for child of migrant worker)
  • Rowse v Secretary for the Civil Service (successful judicial review on natural justice grounds in Hong Kong on behalf of civil servant disciplined for failing to oversee the budget for the Harborfest)
  • Roche v UK (success in Strasbourg on Article 8 in the context of Crown immunity certificates).
  • S&M v UK (d advised in successful challenge in Strasbourg on DNA sample retention from acquitted patients).
  • Advising Hong Kong housing corporation on new IDO - in successful judicial review defence)
  • HL v United Kingdom - (landmark case in successful Strasbourg challenge to detention of incapacitated patient)
  • Peck v United Kingdom (successful challenge in Strasbourg under Article 8 on privacy grounds)
  • Yvonne Watts v United Kingdom (successful challenge in the ECJ to NHS waiting lists)
  • Wells v United Kingdom (successful challenge in the ECJ to NHS waiting lists)
  • R v Department of Justice, ex p. Rowse (successful judicial review of Hong Kong disciplinary decision)
  • R v Financial Services Commissioner of Gibraltar ex p. X and Y (successful defence of judicial review challenge to FSC decision in the Gibraltar Court of Appeal)
  • Currently instructed in the European Court of Human Rights in the high- profile challenge to the hunting ban for the Countryside Alliance.

Other Cases include:

T Mobile v. Ofcom (acting for BT intervening) Acted for BT3G in the challenge to the Mobile phone Licence Auctions (see above). Acted for the Laming Inquiry (Harold Shipman Case) in the challenge brought by families concerning open and public hearings. Appeared for The Greater London Authority on the PPP challenge. Acted for a major Telecommunications company in a potential Review in the Far East. Successfully.appeared for Taber in Needler -v- Taber, a review of the FSA compensation arrangements for pension misselling. Acted in Shirley Porter case. Acted for the Pro Life Alliance in relation to the Diane Pretty case. Acted for various clients in challenges to the compliance of the Police Complaints Authority with the ECHR, the legality of DNA retention re the ECHR, and the legality of domestic investigations into deaths under Articles 2-3 ECHR, ‘designer babies’. Acted in R v. NE Devon Health Authority, ex p Coughlan - locus classicus on legitimate expectation in judicial review. Represented the drug company Upjohn in the European Court of Justice.

Other Clients include:

Has acted for clients as far apart politically as Ken Livingstone, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Foster of Thames Bank. Acted for Iain Duncan Smith on the Mawer Inquiry and Lord Foster on non-dom issues relating to the House of Lords; also advised on and appeared in the hunting ban in the UK on behalf of the Countryside Alliance, acted in the MMR judicial review and represented the Claimant in the high-profile cleft palate case (Jepson). Clients also include: the Equality Commission, the Audit Commission, the Bar Council, Davidoff, Philip Morris, the Association of British Insurers, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Competition Commission, the Rail Regulator, the Strategic Rail Authority, the Advertising Standards Authority, OFCOM, the Financial Services Authority, the Financial Services Commissioner of Gibraltar, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, the Independent Regulator for NHS Foundation Trusts, the Internal Review Service, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, BT, Gamma Telecommunications, Express Dairies Distribution Ltd, Upjohn, Genzyme, Roche Pharmaceutical Products, Merck, the Standards Authority for England and Wales, the Telecommunications Authority in Hong Kong, National Grid Transco, Government of Cyprus, UK Film Council.

Advisory work includes:

  • Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority over power to develop new tram system in Liverpool.
  • Davidoff re impact of tobacco regulations.
  • Lottery Commission - enforcement powers.
  • Department of Transport on rail issues.
  • ODPM and Housing Corporation on commercial contractual powers.
  • Hong Kong Housing Corporation re new IPO.
  • Earl of Halifax re Madonna of the Pinks.
  • Audit Commission powers.
  • Powers of Transport for London.
  • Advising NHS Trust on private patient income cap and effect on Trust powers.
  • FSA over regulatory prosecutions.
  • Advising in relation to Northern Rock and its impact on foreign financial regulators.
  • Advising the Government of Cyprus in a judicial review involving air routes.
  • Hedge funds over fundamental rights issues in Icelandic insolvency litigation against Icelandic banks.

Competition Cases

  • Virgin Media and B Sky v. Competition Commission and Secretary of State (media plurality case; successfully acted for Virgin Media in CAT and (in substantive result) the Court of Appeal).
  • Tobacco Litigation for OFT  (advising the OFT following the litigation in the CAT and in the judicial review proceedings instituted thereafter).
  • Dairy Litigation for OFT (advising the OFT in its litigation in the CAT).
  • TVB v Communications Authority (Advising) Competition Hong Kong (advising TVB in a competition judicial review in Hong Kong)
  • OFCOM’s Dispute Resolution Guidelines (advising BT on OFCOM’s dispute resolution guidelines).
  • Hanson and Lafarge v. Competition Commission (instructed on behalf of Hanson in forthcoming competition judicial review in the CAT).

Qualifications & Further Information


MA Oxon
LLM London


Visiting Professor of Law in the Faculty of Laws, University College, London (1994 - )
Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong (2011 - )
Honorary Visiting Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2008 - 2011)
Visiting Senior Fellow at Auckland University & Melbourne University (2008)
Special Advocate (2004 -2010)
Bencher of the Middle Temple (2003)
Recorder of the Crown Court since 2001
Executive Committee Administrative Law Bar Association 1991-2000
Christ Church, Oxford 1967-1970 (Open St. Cyres Scholar in Modern History).
Richard Gordon QC is in Category 1 of the Administrative Law Section of Chambers & Partners Directory and The Legal 500. He also starred in those
directories for his expertise in Human Rights, EU/Competition and environmental law.

Further Information

Work includes:

Judicial review, human rights and other fields of public law (eg contempt) and related areas including regulatory, commercial, telecommunications, European Community, local authority, environmental, pharmaceuticals. Has also advised/appeared in foreign jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Bermuda. He appears regularly in appellate courts including the House of Lords. In 2003- 2004 he appeared in the House of Lords 10 times. In the area of commercial regulation Richard Gordon Q.C. has advised and/or appeared for Channel 4, Ofcom, the FSA, the Strategic Rail Authority, the Competition Commission, the Rail Regulator and has also advised and/or appeared for many other regulators both in the UK and abroad including the Financial Services Commissioner of Gibraltar, Transco, the Hong Kong Telecommunications Authority, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, and the Jersey Financial Services Commission.
In the field of telecommunications law he has advised major companies in the UK (eg BT, Gamma Telecommunications) and elsewhere (eg Starhub and the Telecommunications Authority in the Far East) on issues such as local loop unbundling, interconnections and general public law issues related to the grant and revocation of licences.
He appeared in the third generation mobile phones judicial review involving a number of telecommunications bodies. More recently he has advised the Cayman Islands Government on telecommunications licence and competition issues and has appeared in Hong Kong three times this year on different telecommunications disputes for the Telecommunications Authority. In the context of EC law he has appeared many times in Luxembourg before the ECJ including a successful challenge on behalf of the RSPB to the Secretary of State's application of the Wild Birds Directive. A recent case before the ECJ concerns environmental impact assessments where the ECJ, following the Advocate General's Opinion, has given a favourable ruling. Most recently he has successfully challenged the legality of NHS waiting lists as contravening Community law before the Administrative Court and successfully defended a local authority against a major Community law environmental challenge. He has also advised local authorities on procurement issues, telecommunications companies in relation to the new Competition Appeal Tribunal procedures and has advised over the tobacco litigation. He has acted for a number of tobacco companies in relation to UK advertising restrictions, and advising on behalf of other public bodies in respect of issues under the UK Competition Act 1998 and procurement and State Aid issues. He has been instructed by the UK Competition Commission and has acted for/advised the former Strategic Rail Authority on (amongst other things) issues arising in relation to competitive franchises. In the field of pharmaceuticals he is currently advising and representing a pharmaceutical company in a major judicial review case.  Richard Gordon QC is in Category 1 of the Administrative Law Section of the Legal 500. He is also starred in the Chambers Directory and the Legal 500 for his expertise in Human Rights and environmental law and (in the 2007 Chambers) for Commercial Law.


Parliamentary Privilege: Evolution or codification? (Constitution Society 2013)
Select Committees and Coercive Powers - Clarity or Confusion (Constitution Society 2012)
Repairing British Politics - A Blueprint for Constitutional Change (Hart Publishing, 2010)
Judicial Review in Hong Kong (Lexis Nexis 2009)
EC Law in Judicial Review (OUP, 2007)
Contributor to Building the UK's New Supreme Court - National and Comparative Perspectives (OUP, 2004)
Judicial Review in the New Millennium (Sweet & Maxwell 2003: ed and contr)
The Strasbourg Case Law - Leading Cases from the EHRR (Sweet & Maxwell, 2001)
Consultant Editor 'UK Human Rights Reports' (Sweet & Maxwell, 2000 - )
Editor in Chief: Crown Office Digest
The Human Rights Act 1998 and Judicial Review (Cavendish Publications, 2000: co-auth)
Human Rights in the United Kingdom (OUP, 1997: co-ed)
Local Authority Powers (Monitor Press, 1996)
Judicial Review and Crown Office Practice (Sweet & Maxwell, 1999: ed)
Judicial Review: Law and Procedure (Sweet & Maxwell, 2nd ed 1996)

Recent Talks and Articles

Fixing Standards of Review of Regulatory Decision-Making

Two Dogmas of Proportionality

Judicial Review Across the Common Law World - Some Lessons from a Comparative Survey  Given to Attorney-General's chambers in Singapore

Directory Quotes

  • "Meticulous in his preparation and authoritative in his advice." (The Legal 500 2014)
  • "Very strong on the judicial review aspects of competition cases." (The Legal 500 2014)
  • "Advises on the public law aspects of environmental law and is very knowledgeable in this area." (The Legal 500 2014)
  • "Imaginative and very bright, with a string of important cases at the highest level." (The Legal 500 2014)
  • "provides innovative and flexible advice on complex legal issues at very short notice." "He shows complete mastery in cases before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court." (Chambers & Partners 2014)
  • "One of the first ports of call for anything involving human rights." (Chambers & Partners 2014)
  • "He is pretty hot. He is a very good lawyer and when he is acting as an advocate he knows how far to go and how not to overdo it." (Chambers & Partners 2014)
  • “the ‘imaginative and innovative’ Richard Gordon QC” (The Legal 500 2013)
  • “the ‘accessible and inclusive’ Richard Gordon QC is noted for his ‘imaginative approach to identifying civil liberties and human rights points’” (The Legal 500 2013)
  • “Richard Gordon QC is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and ‘an outstanding advocate’.” (The Legal 500 2013)
  • ""high up on the list for commercial judicial review issues," and is a favourite of elite City solicitors as he gives "clear, unequivocal advice." (Chambers & Partners 2013)
  • ""a strikingly accessible lawyer who thinks very widely around all sorts of public law issues." He has international judicial review experience" (Chambers & Partners 2013)
  • "imaginative and innovative and always looking for the best angle to defend or probe a case" (Legal 500 2012)
  • "unanimously considered by those who instruct him to be 'outstanding.'" (Chambers & Partners 2012)
  • "pre-eminent public law silk Richard Gordon QC is a first port of call for cases involving constitutional, administrative, public and civil liberties law. "He has an incredibly creative legal mind" and is "accessible and always open to discuss things," enthuse sources." (Chambers & Partners 2012)
  • "The highly regarded Richard Gordon QC is described as ‘the human rights barrister par excellence'." (Legal 500 2011)
  • ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of public law matters' (Legal 500 2010)
  • ‘a pre-eminent public law practitioner with deep knowledge of the environment sector' (Chambers & Partners 2011)

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