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MEET:

Nick Armstrong KC

"Nick does amazing work in the area of human rights. He does it by making creative arguments and bringing a personal touch to his advocacy."

Chambers & Partners 2023
Called: 2001
Silk: 2023
Solicitor: 1998

Nick has a mixed public law and civil actions practice. He acts for individuals, businesses, charities, interest groups, unions and educational institutions.

Nick is an Equality and Human Rights Commission A panellist. In 2019 he was human rights and public law junior of the year in the Chambers and Partners Bar Awards.

Nick began his legal career as an academic, and then became a solicitor. He graduated in 1991, obtained a PhD in civil justice reform in 1995 (as Lord Woolf’s reforms, which became the Civil Procedure Rules, were being formulated), and then qualified as a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell in 1998 where he began to focus on public law. In 2001 he transferred to the Bar, joining Matrix in 2007.

Nick is a very experienced immigration lawyer. He also does a lot of work where immigration crosses over with his other areas. His work ranges from immigration detention, to social welfare and asylum support and accommodation, and specific areas such as sponsor licensing (a growth area post-Brexit). In 2022 Nick represented a number of core participants in the Brook House Inquiry (having previously represented one of the two claimants in the judicial review which brought the inquiry about). Nick appears regularly before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (“SIAC”). He recently acted in FGF, which confirmed the power to award costs against the Secretary of State in SIAC reviews. Nick is currently acting in what is thought to be the first case concerning deportation action against a climate protestor.

Nick is an experienced discrimination lawyer, with particular expertise in disability discrimination. He uses his long experience in education cases to inform actions in respect of the neurodiverse in prisons and other detention settings. He has acted in two of the most important cases concerned with wheelchair users in immigration detention. In 2023 and 2024 he acted in three cases which succeeded in recovering substantial sums for disabled persons caught up in a lack of pre-planning when Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre had to be evacuated.

Nick is an experienced education lawyer, having represented children, parents, schools, local authorities and universities before the tribunals and in civil proceedings since he was a solicitor. He has particular experience in relation to special educational needs and disability. He has also acted for schools with regard to their regulation (including by Ofsted, and by the Education and Skills Funding Agency). He appeared for the National Autistic Society in the case which changed the definition of disability in relation to those with a tendency to physically abuse (C v Governing Body of a School [2018] ELR 554). He assists schools and parents with inquests (see further below) and issues around mental health and gender.

Nick is the SEN link governor of a sixth form college in Brighton. He was previously the SEN link governor at a community school in Ealing.

Nick is a very experienced inquest lawyer, and also sits as an assistant coroner in Brighton and Hove and West Sussex. In 2021 he acted for the family of Jack Merritt, killed in the terrorist attack at Fishmongers Hall in 2019. He is currently acting for the family of Deji Omishore, who died after leaping into the Thames after being tasered by police on Chelsea Bridge in June 2022. Previous cases include having acted for the families of Ann Maguire, the teacher who was stabbed by a pupil in a school in Leeds in 2014, and of Paul McGuigan, a security operative murdered by another operative in Iraq in 2009.

Nick has a particular interest in inquests arising out of immigration detention (having acted in a number of them), cases arising out of struggling prisons which sometimes face a series of deaths (Woodhill, Nottingham and now Eastwood Park are examples), and cases concerning teenage suicide.

Nick is a very experienced prison lawyer. He represented two of the victims of John Worboys in their successful challenge to the decision of the Parole Board to release him (DSD v Parole Board [2018] 3 WLR 829). He represented the claimant in Youngsam [2019] 3 WLR 33, an important case concerned with whether determinate sentence prisoners enjoy the protection of Article 5(4) of the ECHR, and the doctrine of binding precedent, and which (as of 2024) is currently before the European Court in Strasbourg. He has done a lot of work around IPP sentences, including having acted in the key case of James, Wells and Lee v UK (2013) 56 EHRR 12 (and the preceding domestic proceedings).

In addition to the above, Nick has extensive experience across other areas of public law. He is currently representing the RSPCA in a case concerned with broiler chicken welfare (R (Humane League UK) v SSEFRA [2023] EWHC 1243 (Admin)). Nick has acted in several of the key cases concerned with privacy and the disclosure of past criminal records. He acted in both the Supreme Court cases T v Chief Constable of Manchester [2015] AC 49, and the successful follow up to that case, Gallagher [2019] 2 WLR 509. He has another case, O v UK, on the same subject and which is currently before the Strasbourg Court.

Nick also regularly appears in community care judicial reviews, and has experience in the Court of Protection. He acted in Mazhar v Lord Chancellor [2019] HRLR 19, an important case arising out of the forced detention of a physically disabled but mentally capacitous man. The case was brought against the judge who authorised the detention, and raised important issues about the process for challenging judicial acts under the Human Rights Act 1998.

In part because he is a former solicitor, Nick is also instructed in a range of professional regulatory matters on behalf of solicitors. He carries out a lot of work around legal aid contracting. He appears regularly before the Contract Review Body of the Legal Aid Agency and other legal aid contractual bodies. He has acted in a number of related judicial reviews, including of legal aid tendering decisions. Nick has also appeared before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and before the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Society of Jersey.

Nick is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Nick needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Nick’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Nick 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. Nick is qualified to carry out direct access work and will do so in an appropriate case.

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"Nicholas gets into the heart of matters, he gives good advice and he can be pragmatic and strategic. He knows what arguments will work well." "He is deeply committed and he gives absolutely everything to the case." "Nicholas has very strong legal knowledge and can advance arguments well."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Administrative & Public Law

"An outstanding barrister. He has a gigantic brain for thinking through issues and getting results for his clients."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"Nicholas brings a lot of novel legal arguments." "His submissions help take forward issues."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Community Care

"Very client-friendly and strategic. Gets to the heart of the case and provides pragmatic advice. Good style of drafting for advice and external correspondence."

Legal 500, 2024, Education

"Nicholas is a real joy to work with, very client-friendly, gets to the heart of every issue and cuts to the chase effectively and efficiently. He is strategic and experienced in high-profile judicial reviews." "He is great to work with, fearless in his approach and has a very good instinct for a winnable case." "Nicholas is very good and has a solid practice."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Education

"Thoroughly engaging and shows a real understanding of client issues. He is excellent on his feet and knows his tribunal well. His pleadings are a cut above."

Legal 500, 2024, Immigration (Including Business Immigration)

"I found him very approachable and reasonable. His submissions were thorough and detailed." "Nicholas is exceptionally good at thinking about the innovative points to make." "His submissions were persuasive and great to listen to."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Inquests and Inquiries

"Nick takes a very strategic approach but is up for a fight when needed. His clients love him for that." "He has a relaxed style of advocacy that is pin-point accurate and his drafting is so punchy."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Administrative and Public Law

"Nick does amazing work in the area of human rights. He does it by making creative arguments and bringing a personal touch to his advocacy." "A leading junior in the area who is operating with silk quality." "He has a relaxed style of advocacy that is pin-point accurate - it is something to be in awe of."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"He handles complex cases with ease. He is at the top of his game."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Education

"I can't recall another barrister with such a skill for turning a daunting hearing into an amicable conversation. He has a relaxed style of advocacy that is pin-point accurate. It's something to be in awe of."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Immigration
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Called: 2001
|
Silk: 2023
|
Solicitor: 1998

"Nick does amazing work in the area of human rights. He does it by making creative arguments and bringing a personal touch to his advocacy."

Chambers & Partners 2023

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Education Law
  • EU Law
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Immigration, Asylum and Free Movement
  • Local Government Law
  • Public Law
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Health and Social Care (including welfare benefits)
  • Commercial Public Law
  • Equality and Discrimination Law
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources
  • Competition and EU

Nick Armstrong KC

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

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


Nick has a mixed public law and civil actions practice. He acts for individuals, businesses, charities, interest groups, unions and educational institutions.

Nick is an Equality and Human Rights Commission A panellist. In 2019 he was human rights and public law junior of the year in the Chambers and Partners Bar Awards.

Career

Nick began his legal career as an academic, and then became a solicitor. He graduated in 1991, obtained a PhD in civil justice reform in 1995 (as Lord Woolf’s reforms, which became the Civil Procedure Rules, were being formulated), and then qualified as a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell in 1998 where he began to focus on public law. In 2001 he transferred to the Bar, joining Matrix in 2007.

Immigration

Nick is a very experienced immigration lawyer. He also does a lot of work where immigration crosses over with his other areas. His work ranges from immigration detention, to social welfare and asylum support and accommodation, and specific areas such as sponsor licensing (a growth area post-Brexit). In 2022 Nick represented a number of core participants in the Brook House Inquiry (having previously represented one of the two claimants in the judicial review which brought the inquiry about). Nick appears regularly before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (“SIAC”). He recently acted in FGF, which confirmed the power to award costs against the Secretary of State in SIAC reviews. Nick is currently acting in what is thought to be the first case concerning deportation action against a climate protestor.

Discrimination

Nick is an experienced discrimination lawyer, with particular expertise in disability discrimination. He uses his long experience in education cases to inform actions in respect of the neurodiverse in prisons and other detention settings. He has acted in two of the most important cases concerned with wheelchair users in immigration detention. In 2023 and 2024 he acted in three cases which succeeded in recovering substantial sums for disabled persons caught up in a lack of pre-planning when Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre had to be evacuated.

Education

Nick is an experienced education lawyer, having represented children, parents, schools, local authorities and universities before the tribunals and in civil proceedings since he was a solicitor. He has particular experience in relation to special educational needs and disability. He has also acted for schools with regard to their regulation (including by Ofsted, and by the Education and Skills Funding Agency). He appeared for the National Autistic Society in the case which changed the definition of disability in relation to those with a tendency to physically abuse (C v Governing Body of a School [2018] ELR 554). He assists schools and parents with inquests (see further below) and issues around mental health and gender.

Nick is the SEN link governor of a sixth form college in Brighton. He was previously the SEN link governor at a community school in Ealing.

Inquests

Nick is a very experienced inquest lawyer, and also sits as an assistant coroner in Brighton and Hove and West Sussex. In 2021 he acted for the family of Jack Merritt, killed in the terrorist attack at Fishmongers Hall in 2019. He is currently acting for the family of Deji Omishore, who died after leaping into the Thames after being tasered by police on Chelsea Bridge in June 2022. Previous cases include having acted for the families of Ann Maguire, the teacher who was stabbed by a pupil in a school in Leeds in 2014, and of Paul McGuigan, a security operative murdered by another operative in Iraq in 2009.

Nick has a particular interest in inquests arising out of immigration detention (having acted in a number of them), cases arising out of struggling prisons which sometimes face a series of deaths (Woodhill, Nottingham and now Eastwood Park are examples), and cases concerning teenage suicide.

Prison

Nick is a very experienced prison lawyer. He represented two of the victims of John Worboys in their successful challenge to the decision of the Parole Board to release him (DSD v Parole Board [2018] 3 WLR 829). He represented the claimant in Youngsam [2019] 3 WLR 33, an important case concerned with whether determinate sentence prisoners enjoy the protection of Article 5(4) of the ECHR, and the doctrine of binding precedent, and which (as of 2024) is currently before the European Court in Strasbourg. He has done a lot of work around IPP sentences, including having acted in the key case of James, Wells and Lee v UK (2013) 56 EHRR 12 (and the preceding domestic proceedings).

Other public law and regulatory work

In addition to the above, Nick has extensive experience across other areas of public law. He is currently representing the RSPCA in a case concerned with broiler chicken welfare (R (Humane League UK) v SSEFRA [2023] EWHC 1243 (Admin)). Nick has acted in several of the key cases concerned with privacy and the disclosure of past criminal records. He acted in both the Supreme Court cases T v Chief Constable of Manchester [2015] AC 49, and the successful follow up to that case, Gallagher [2019] 2 WLR 509. He has another case, O v UK, on the same subject and which is currently before the Strasbourg Court.

Nick also regularly appears in community care judicial reviews, and has experience in the Court of Protection. He acted in Mazhar v Lord Chancellor [2019] HRLR 19, an important case arising out of the forced detention of a physically disabled but mentally capacitous man. The case was brought against the judge who authorised the detention, and raised important issues about the process for challenging judicial acts under the Human Rights Act 1998.

In part because he is a former solicitor, Nick is also instructed in a range of professional regulatory matters on behalf of solicitors. He carries out a lot of work around legal aid contracting. He appears regularly before the Contract Review Body of the Legal Aid Agency and other legal aid contractual bodies. He has acted in a number of related judicial reviews, including of legal aid tendering decisions. Nick has also appeared before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and before the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Society of Jersey.


Nick's Privacy Notice

Nick is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Nick needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Nick’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"Nicholas gets into the heart of matters, he gives good advice and he can be pragmatic and strategic. He knows what arguments will work well." "He is deeply committed and he gives absolutely everything to the case." "Nicholas has very strong legal knowledge and can advance arguments well."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Administrative & Public Law

"An outstanding barrister. He has a gigantic brain for thinking through issues and getting results for his clients."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"Nicholas brings a lot of novel legal arguments." "His submissions help take forward issues."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Community Care

"Very client-friendly and strategic. Gets to the heart of the case and provides pragmatic advice. Good style of drafting for advice and external correspondence."

Legal 500, 2024, Education

"Nicholas is a real joy to work with, very client-friendly, gets to the heart of every issue and cuts to the chase effectively and efficiently. He is strategic and experienced in high-profile judicial reviews." "He is great to work with, fearless in his approach and has a very good instinct for a winnable case." "Nicholas is very good and has a solid practice."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Education

"Thoroughly engaging and shows a real understanding of client issues. He is excellent on his feet and knows his tribunal well. His pleadings are a cut above."

Legal 500, 2024, Immigration (Including Business Immigration)

"I found him very approachable and reasonable. His submissions were thorough and detailed." "Nicholas is exceptionally good at thinking about the innovative points to make." "His submissions were persuasive and great to listen to."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Inquests and Inquiries

"Nick takes a very strategic approach but is up for a fight when needed. His clients love him for that." "He has a relaxed style of advocacy that is pin-point accurate and his drafting is so punchy."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Administrative and Public Law

"Nick does amazing work in the area of human rights. He does it by making creative arguments and bringing a personal touch to his advocacy." "A leading junior in the area who is operating with silk quality." "He has a relaxed style of advocacy that is pin-point accurate - it is something to be in awe of."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"He handles complex cases with ease. He is at the top of his game."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Education

"I can't recall another barrister with such a skill for turning a daunting hearing into an amicable conversation. He has a relaxed style of advocacy that is pin-point accurate. It's something to be in awe of."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Immigration