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David Wolfe
MEET:

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a public lawyer at Matrix and the Chair of the Press Recognition Panel.

Barrister Since: 1992

David Wolfe works as a public lawyer (QC) at Matrix. He is also Chair of the Recognition Panel established by the Royal Charter in the light of the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the news publishers.

Until April 2013, alongside his work as a barrister David was also a Commissioner (non-executive director) at the Legal Services Commission and a Board Member of the Legal Services Board.

Until July 2008, he was a part-time Chair of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. David is an A-Panel member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel.

David also trains lawyers and others, particularly in education and public law. He contributes regularly to general and specialist publications and radio broadcasts on legal issues.  David is an ADR Group Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator.

David believes passionately that public bodies should act in a fair and open way, and that the law and lawyers have a key role in ensuring that happens.

As a public lawyer, David specialises in “judicial review” challenges to the decisions of, among others, government, regulators (including environmental and professional regulators), local authorities, schools and health bodies. David has particular expertise in:

David’s clients include: individuals (typically people seeking their legal entitlement to public services and to lawful decisions), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), such as Wild Justice, Talk Fracking, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Client Earth, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust, Humanists UK, Fish Legal, the National Secular Society, Badger Trust, The Sikh Federation, The 35% Campaign, RSPCA, Guide Dogs, IPSEA (the Independent Provider of  Special Educational Advice), The Marine Conservation Society, An Taisce (the Irish National Trust), and HS2AA (HS2 Action Alliance); and bodies such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

David is regularly identified by the legal directories as a “leading” barrister in the areas in which he practices. He enjoys working as part of a close and relatively informal team with clients and those instructing him. He is flexible in how he applies his skill and experience, including as a lawyer, to meet his clients’ needs and will make sure that ‘reasonable adjustments’ are made as needed.

David specialises in judicial review challenges to planning and other decisions which permit environmentally harmful development. His cases often involve complex legal matters, including principles derived from European Union law (such as the requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment). The subject matter has included climate change; wild birds; fracking; waste disposal facilities; incinerators; mobile phone masts; nuclear installations; cement kilns; new roads; wind farms; and contaminated land.

Before he was a barrister, David did a PhD in Engineering. He is regularly involved in cases involving complex technical evidence.

David regularly acts for NGOs and parents/children in Upper Tribunal appeals and judicial review challenges relating to education law, particularly around schools. This includes Special Educational Needs (SEN), disability discrimination, admissions, exclusions, the curriculum, collective worship, school re-organisations and legal issues arising from the Covid lockdowns.

David has particular expertise and experience in issues arising from the establishment and operation of academies and free schools.

David’s SEN cases have involved all aspects of SEN law including questions about jurisdiction of the SENDIST; the obligation to specify and quantify provision in an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP); the designation of special schools; the obligations in relation to parental preference; and the enforcement of provision set out in an EHCP.

David’s exclusion cases have considered a range of issues such as the complainant’s right to appear before an exclusion appeal; the legality of Government guidance on exclusions; and the admissibility of ‘hearsay’ evidence.

David’s school re-organisation cases include a particular focus on how Academies are set up and operated, and on the involvement of the public in those processes.

Other cases have involved the inclusion of non-religious world views in the RE curriculum and of persons with such views in Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education

David advises and acts for NGOs and individuals (including many people with a disability).

David’s cases have involved judicial review and “Best Interests” challenges on things like:

  • the Public Sector Equality Duty
  • doctors’ misconduct;
  • the right to medical treatment;
  • whether life-saving medical treatment should be continued or withdrawn and the imposition of DNACPR notices;
  • discrimination, including disability discrimination and the equality duties;
  • community care assessments, care plans and the provision of community care generally;
  • obligations on CCGs relating to NHS continuing care;
  • User Independent Trusts;
  • manual lifting;
  • hospital closures and consultations;
  • the establishment of Independent Sector Treatment Centres (and other private provision) within the NHS
  • eligibility criteria and the rationing of services including health services;
  • mental health issues including questions of “capacity”;
  • charging for services;
  • complaints procedures;
  • confidentiality including the confidentiality of patient information;
  • health care and benefit entitlements; and
  • the interaction between health, education and social services provisions.

David advises and acts for individuals, community groups and NGOs on a wide range of matter to do with local authority funding, governance and decision-making including:

  • decision-making around housing and regeneration schemes;
  • budget making and budget decisions;
  • re-organisations and closures of facilities like libraries and day centres
  • consultation;
  • the Public Sector Equality Duty; and
  • the Best Value duty.
  • the delivery of proper and sufficient social housing

For over 10 years, David Wolfe has produced the Noddy Guide to Statements of SEN and EHC Plans.

David was interviewed for the Consultation Institute’s “Latest Law” video updates in Spring 2018 here (10m 40s in) and in Spring 2019 here (2m 35s in).

David is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy while collecting and holding personal data as needed to provide legal services to his clients. That includes the personal data of his clients and others who feature in the issues in question. To read David’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

David is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A brilliant and fearless advocate who shows outstanding commitment and skill in claimant environmental work."

"He is an amazing advocate and strategic thinker. One of the best on his feet, and his presentation skills are second to none. He is the go-to silk for environmental claimants."

"He has encyclopaedic knowledge and is a go-to person for academisation."

"Intelligent, quick, bold and inventive."

Legal 500 2021

"Phenomenally bright – he gets to the answer before we’ve even asked the question. He’s also really inclusive and loves working as part of the team. He’s always willing to draw in junior team members, and is very tactical and realistic."

"He has an encyclopedic knowledge of education and equality law."

"One of the most creative barristers I have ever worked with, he has the ability to single out issues which arise in the midst of incredibly complicated matters."

"He’s very intelligent and is able to quickly think on his feet. He’s courageous and takes points others would be too reticent to take on."

"He’s dogged, determined and prepared to take on difficult cases."

"He’s absolutely brilliant and he can pick anything up and run with it."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"Very responsive and approachable."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Administrative and Public Law)

"He is astute and strategic, an outstanding advocate.” “He is easy to work with, tenacious on his feet and clients love him."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

"Very adaptable and accessible in a way that means things are turned around quickly."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Community Care)

"He’s so approachable, and always provides sensible and down-to-earth advice."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Education)

"He is just excellent. Bright and very imaginative.” “A very clever advocate."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Environment, Local Government)

"An excellent community care practitioner."

Legal 500, 2018 (Court of Protection and Community Care)

"Incisive and tactically astute, he is in a league of his own on SEN cases."

Legal 500, 2018 (Education)

"Very active in the field of environmental law."

Who’s Who Legal, 2018
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
David Wolfe
Barrister Since: 1992

David Wolfe is a public lawyer at Matrix and the Chair of the Press Recognition Panel.

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Community Care Law
  • Discrimination and Equality
  • Education Law
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources
  • EU Law
  • Healthcare, Mental Health and Mental Capacity
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Investigations
  • Local Government Law
  • Mediation
  • Public Law
  • Public Law: Information, Data and Privacy
  • Health and Social Care (including welfare benefits)
  • Commercial Public Law

David Wolfe

Contact David: davidwolfe@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact David's Practice Team (Team X): TeamX@matrixlaw.co.uk


David Wolfe works as a public lawyer (QC) at Matrix. He is also Chair of the Recognition Panel established by the Royal Charter in the light of the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the news publishers.

Until April 2013, alongside his work as a barrister David was also a Commissioner (non-executive director) at the Legal Services Commission and a Board Member of the Legal Services Board.

Until July 2008, he was a part-time Chair of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. David is an A-Panel member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Preferred Counsel.

David also trains lawyers and others, particularly in education and public law. He contributes regularly to general and specialist publications and radio broadcasts on legal issues.  David is an ADR Group Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator.

David believes passionately that public bodies should act in a fair and open way, and that the law and lawyers have a key role in ensuring that happens.

As a public lawyer, David specialises in “judicial review” challenges to the decisions of, among others, government, regulators (including environmental and professional regulators), local authorities, schools and health bodies. David has particular expertise in:

David’s clients include: individuals (typically people seeking their legal entitlement to public services and to lawful decisions), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), such as Wild Justice, Talk Fracking, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Client Earth, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust, Humanists UK, Fish Legal, the National Secular Society, Badger Trust, The Sikh Federation, The 35% Campaign, RSPCA, Guide Dogs, IPSEA (the Independent Provider of  Special Educational Advice), The Marine Conservation Society, An Taisce (the Irish National Trust), and HS2AA (HS2 Action Alliance); and bodies such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

David is regularly identified by the legal directories as a “leading” barrister in the areas in which he practices. He enjoys working as part of a close and relatively informal team with clients and those instructing him. He is flexible in how he applies his skill and experience, including as a lawyer, to meet his clients’ needs and will make sure that ‘reasonable adjustments’ are made as needed.

Environmental Law

David specialises in judicial review challenges to planning and other decisions which permit environmentally harmful development. His cases often involve complex legal matters, including principles derived from European Union law (such as the requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment). The subject matter has included climate change; wild birds; fracking; waste disposal facilities; incinerators; mobile phone masts; nuclear installations; cement kilns; new roads; wind farms; and contaminated land. Before he was a barrister, David did a PhD in Engineering. He is regularly involved in cases involving complex technical evidence.

Education

David regularly acts for NGOs and parents/children in Upper Tribunal appeals and judicial review challenges relating to education law, particularly around schools. This includes Special Educational Needs (SEN), disability discrimination, admissions, exclusions, the curriculum, collective worship, school re-organisations and legal issues arising from the Covid lockdowns. David has particular expertise and experience in issues arising from the establishment and operation of academies and free schools. David’s SEN cases have involved all aspects of SEN law including questions about jurisdiction of the SENDIST; the obligation to specify and quantify provision in an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP); the designation of special schools; the obligations in relation to parental preference; and the enforcement of provision set out in an EHCP. David’s exclusion cases have considered a range of issues such as the complainant’s right to appear before an exclusion appeal; the legality of Government guidance on exclusions; and the admissibility of ‘hearsay’ evidence. David’s school re-organisation cases include a particular focus on how Academies are set up and operated, and on the involvement of the public in those processes. Other cases have involved the inclusion of non-religious world views in the RE curriculum and of persons with such views in Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education

Discrimination/Equality and Health Law

David advises and acts for NGOs and individuals (including many people with a disability). David’s cases have involved judicial review and “Best Interests” challenges on things like: the Public Sector Equality Duty doctors’ misconduct; the right to medical treatment; whether life-saving medical treatment should be continued or withdrawn and the imposition of DNACPR notices; discrimination, including disability discrimination and the equality duties; community care assessments, care plans and the provision of community care generally; obligations on CCGs relating to NHS continuing care; User Independent Trusts; manual lifting; hospital closures and consultations; the establishment of Independent Sector Treatment Centres (and other private provision) within the NHS eligibility criteria and the rationing of services including health services; mental health issues including questions of “capacity”; charging for services; complaints procedures; confidentiality including the confidentiality of patient information; health care and benefit entitlements; and the interaction between health, education and social services provisions.

Local Government Law

David advises and acts for individuals, community groups and NGOs on a wide range of matter to do with local authority funding, governance and decision-making including: decision-making around housing and regeneration schemes; budget making and budget decisions; re-organisations and closures of facilities like libraries and day centres consultation; the Public Sector Equality Duty; and the Best Value duty. the delivery of proper and sufficient social housing

Publications and Downloads

For over 10 years, David Wolfe has produced the Noddy Guide to Statements of SEN and EHC Plans. David was interviewed for the Consultation Institute’s “Latest Law” video updates in Spring 2018 here (10m 40s in) and in Spring 2019 here (2m 35s in).
David's Privacy Notice

David is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy while collecting and holding personal data as needed to provide legal services to his clients. That includes the personal data of his clients and others who feature in the issues in question. To read David’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A brilliant and fearless advocate who shows outstanding commitment and skill in claimant environmental work."

"He is an amazing advocate and strategic thinker. One of the best on his feet, and his presentation skills are second to none. He is the go-to silk for environmental claimants."

"He has encyclopaedic knowledge and is a go-to person for academisation."

"Intelligent, quick, bold and inventive."

Legal 500 2021

"Phenomenally bright – he gets to the answer before we’ve even asked the question. He’s also really inclusive and loves working as part of the team. He’s always willing to draw in junior team members, and is very tactical and realistic."

"He has an encyclopedic knowledge of education and equality law."

"One of the most creative barristers I have ever worked with, he has the ability to single out issues which arise in the midst of incredibly complicated matters."

"He’s very intelligent and is able to quickly think on his feet. He’s courageous and takes points others would be too reticent to take on."

"He’s dogged, determined and prepared to take on difficult cases."

"He’s absolutely brilliant and he can pick anything up and run with it."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"Very responsive and approachable."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Administrative and Public Law)

"He is astute and strategic, an outstanding advocate.” “He is easy to work with, tenacious on his feet and clients love him."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

"Very adaptable and accessible in a way that means things are turned around quickly."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Community Care)

"He’s so approachable, and always provides sensible and down-to-earth advice."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Education)

"He is just excellent. Bright and very imaginative.” “A very clever advocate."

Chambers & Partners, 2019 (Environment, Local Government)

"An excellent community care practitioner."

Legal 500, 2018 (Court of Protection and Community Care)

"Incisive and tactically astute, he is in a league of his own on SEN cases."

Legal 500, 2018 (Education)

"Very active in the field of environmental law."

Who’s Who Legal, 2018