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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. His work ranges from immigration detention (see also his equality work, and his inquest work) to Tier 2 sponsorship requirements, illegal working and the consequences of Brexit. In 2019 Nick represented one of the successful claimants in the case that brought about a public inquiry into abuses at Brook House immigration removal centre in 2017 (and now acts in relation to the resulting inquiry). He appeared in the EU deportation case of Vomero [2019] 1 WLR 4729 both in the Supreme Court and in the Grand Chamber of the CJEU. Nick also appears regularly before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Nick has acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in a number of cases concerning the hostile environment for migrants and its potentially discriminatory effect (cases include the current action by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants challenging the right to rent provisions, another concerned the NHS Charging Regulations).

The range of Nick’s work also takes in work in relation to the immigration status of carers, and advice to haulage companies on their carrier obligations.

Nick is an experienced discrimination lawyer, with particular expertise in relation to disability discrimination. As well as the immigration related cases above, Nick has acted for the EHRC in respect of prisons, including a challenge to the use of pepper spray in prisons. Nick’s education work (below) also often concerns equality claims.

Nick is an experienced education lawyer, representing children, parents, schools, local authorities and universities before the tribunals and in civil proceedings. 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). Nick is a school governor.

Nick is a very experienced inquest lawyer. He has acted in relation to a large number of prison deaths (including cases concerning particular clusters of deaths) and deaths in immigration detention. He acted for the family of Ann Maguire, the teacher who was stabbed by a pupil in a school in Leeds in 2014, and for the family of Paul McGuigan, a security operative murdered by another operative in Iraq in 2009.

Nick’s work before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission is mentioned above. Nick also represented Amnesty International in what became the “10 NGOs case”, which was concerned with the safeguards against state surveillance following the Edward Snowden revelations.

Nick is a very experienced prison lawyer. As well as the cases already mentioned 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 represents the claimant in Youngsam [2019] 3 WLR 33, which is 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. Nick is also in Gourlay [2017] 1 WLR 4107which is an important case concerning the costs liability of the Parole Board (currently on its way to the Supreme Court, and McAtee [2019] 1 WLR 3766, which concerns what is or is not a “criminal cause or matter” for the purposes of appeal rights.

Nick has significant experience of privacy and data protection across a number of his areas of practice. He appeared for the claimant in the key Supreme Court case concerned with criminal records checks, T v Chief Constable of Manchester [2015] AC 49, and in the successful follow up to that case, Gallagher [2019] 2 WLR 509. Nick also acted for the claimants in WXYZ v Secretary of State for Health [2016] 1 WLR 698, which was concerned with health authorities sharing migrant data with the Home Office (and is an important case on medical confidentiality). Nick’s work in the national security context also often contains a privacy element.

Nick regularly appears in community care judicial reviews, and in cases before the Court of Protection. A recent example is 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 is brought against the judge who authorised the detention, and raises 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 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 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

"Nick has the breadth of public law issues and a depth of knowledge across several fields so as to enable arguments from one jurisdiction to be marshalled in support of another."

Legal 500, 2022, Immigration (Including Business Immigration)

"Detailed, assertive and a real team player."

Legal 500, 2022, Inquests and Inquiries

"Nick is very knowledgeable and hard working; his drafting and advocacy skills are excellent."

Legal 500, 2022, Education

"He does an excellent job on complex cases."

Legal 500, 2022, Administrative & Public Law (Including Elections)

"Nicholas is very clever, well liked by leaders and fights hard for his clients."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Community Care

"In ten years I have never seen a more effective questioning. He is effective, never aggressive and displays skill in court." "He's an imaginative, very hard-working and creative barrister."

Chambers &Partners, 2022, Inquests & Public Inquiries

"Great with clients, provides robust advice and is a great advocate." "A very shrewd barrister who is able to engage with the client and explain complex matters in layman's terms."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Education

"He has a very clear approach which can help to simplify a complicated case."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Immigration

"He is very assertive and down to earth." "Nick Armstrong is a direct and forceful advocate, whose passion for the work and detailed knowledge puts him at the top end of our list of go-to counsel."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"He is an excellent barrister who is knowledgeable on human rights law." "A really good fighter for his clients - very impressive."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Administrative & Public Law

"He’s good on his feet in court – very direct, works very fast and keeps me involved.” “At the forefront of work on immigration detention, which can be very emotionally draining work, and he is legally intense, but he does it so well."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Administrative and Public Law, Band 1

"Nicholas is exceptionally good; he has a combination of real technical expertise and real commitment to his clients.” “One of the best witness handlers."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Band 1

"He is very astute at spotting the legal arguments that will or won’t run in front of a judge.” “He is always prompt, accessible and cuts to the heart of a case like a knife through butter."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Education, Band 1

"He is super smart and an excellent strategic litigator.” “He does phenomenal work across more than one area. In immigration, everything he touches turns to gold. He wins almost impossible cases."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Immigration, Band 1

"Incredibly committed to the clients and nice to work with, he will always put loads of effort in.” “He’s absolutely passionate about his cases, something which comes through in his advocacy."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Administrative and Public Law, Band 1

"He is exceptionally bright and very user-friendly.” “He is a highly committed and creative barrister."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Band 2

"Very tenacious and understands the interactions between education and social care very well."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Community Care, Band 1

"Nicholas is shrewd and canny.” “He’s very good and clients really like him."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Education, Band 1

"He’s very bright, very dedicated, and he’s prepared to have a good argument.” “He’s creative with cases and a polymath as he works in other disciplines, so he brings that to bear in a case. He’s fantastic."

Chambers and Partners, Immigration, Band 2
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. His work ranges from immigration detention (see also his equality work, and his inquest work) to Tier 2 sponsorship requirements, illegal working and the consequences of Brexit. In 2019 Nick represented one of the successful claimants in the case that brought about a public inquiry into abuses at Brook House immigration removal centre in 2017 (and now acts in relation to the resulting inquiry). He appeared in the EU deportation case of Vomero [2019] 1 WLR 4729 both in the Supreme Court and in the Grand Chamber of the CJEU. Nick also appears regularly before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Nick has acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in a number of cases concerning the hostile environment for migrants and its potentially discriminatory effect (cases include the current action by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants challenging the right to rent provisions, another concerned the NHS Charging Regulations).

The range of Nick’s work also takes in work in relation to the immigration status of carers, and advice to haulage companies on their carrier obligations.

Discrimination

Nick is an experienced discrimination lawyer, with particular expertise in relation to disability discrimination. As well as the immigration related cases above, Nick has acted for the EHRC in respect of prisons, including a challenge to the use of pepper spray in prisons. Nick’s education work (below) also often concerns equality claims.

Education

Nick is an experienced education lawyer, representing children, parents, schools, local authorities and universities before the tribunals and in civil proceedings. 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). Nick is a school governor.

Inquests

Nick is a very experienced inquest lawyer. He has acted in relation to a large number of prison deaths (including cases concerning particular clusters of deaths) and deaths in immigration detention. He acted for the family of Ann Maguire, the teacher who was stabbed by a pupil in a school in Leeds in 2014, and for the family of Paul McGuigan, a security operative murdered by another operative in Iraq in 2009.

National security

Nick’s work before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission is mentioned above. Nick also represented Amnesty International in what became the “10 NGOs case”, which was concerned with the safeguards against state surveillance following the Edward Snowden revelations.

Prison

Nick is a very experienced prison lawyer. As well as the cases already mentioned 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 represents the claimant in Youngsam [2019] 3 WLR 33, which is 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. Nick is also in Gourlay [2017] 1 WLR 4107which is an important case concerning the costs liability of the Parole Board (currently on its way to the Supreme Court, and McAtee [2019] 1 WLR 3766, which concerns what is or is not a “criminal cause or matter” for the purposes of appeal rights.

Privacy

Nick has significant experience of privacy and data protection across a number of his areas of practice. He appeared for the claimant in the key Supreme Court case concerned with criminal records checks, T v Chief Constable of Manchester [2015] AC 49, and in the successful follow up to that case, Gallagher [2019] 2 WLR 509. Nick also acted for the claimants in WXYZ v Secretary of State for Health [2016] 1 WLR 698, which was concerned with health authorities sharing migrant data with the Home Office (and is an important case on medical confidentiality). Nick’s work in the national security context also often contains a privacy element.

Social welfare

Nick regularly appears in community care judicial reviews, and in cases before the Court of Protection. A recent example is 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 is brought against the judge who authorised the detention, and raises important issues about the process for challenging judicial acts under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Professional regulatory

In part because he is a former solicitor, Nick is 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 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.

Articles and Downloads


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

"Nick has the breadth of public law issues and a depth of knowledge across several fields so as to enable arguments from one jurisdiction to be marshalled in support of another."

Legal 500, 2022, Immigration (Including Business Immigration)

"Detailed, assertive and a real team player."

Legal 500, 2022, Inquests and Inquiries

"Nick is very knowledgeable and hard working; his drafting and advocacy skills are excellent."

Legal 500, 2022, Education

"He does an excellent job on complex cases."

Legal 500, 2022, Administrative & Public Law (Including Elections)

"Nicholas is very clever, well liked by leaders and fights hard for his clients."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Community Care

"In ten years I have never seen a more effective questioning. He is effective, never aggressive and displays skill in court." "He's an imaginative, very hard-working and creative barrister."

Chambers &Partners, 2022, Inquests & Public Inquiries

"Great with clients, provides robust advice and is a great advocate." "A very shrewd barrister who is able to engage with the client and explain complex matters in layman's terms."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Education

"He has a very clear approach which can help to simplify a complicated case."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Immigration

"He is very assertive and down to earth." "Nick Armstrong is a direct and forceful advocate, whose passion for the work and detailed knowledge puts him at the top end of our list of go-to counsel."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"He is an excellent barrister who is knowledgeable on human rights law." "A really good fighter for his clients - very impressive."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Administrative & Public Law

"He’s good on his feet in court – very direct, works very fast and keeps me involved.” “At the forefront of work on immigration detention, which can be very emotionally draining work, and he is legally intense, but he does it so well."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Administrative and Public Law, Band 1

"Nicholas is exceptionally good; he has a combination of real technical expertise and real commitment to his clients.” “One of the best witness handlers."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Band 1

"He is very astute at spotting the legal arguments that will or won’t run in front of a judge.” “He is always prompt, accessible and cuts to the heart of a case like a knife through butter."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Education, Band 1

"He is super smart and an excellent strategic litigator.” “He does phenomenal work across more than one area. In immigration, everything he touches turns to gold. He wins almost impossible cases."

Chambers and Partners 2021, Immigration, Band 1

"Incredibly committed to the clients and nice to work with, he will always put loads of effort in.” “He’s absolutely passionate about his cases, something which comes through in his advocacy."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Administrative and Public Law, Band 1

"He is exceptionally bright and very user-friendly.” “He is a highly committed and creative barrister."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Band 2

"Very tenacious and understands the interactions between education and social care very well."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Community Care, Band 1

"Nicholas is shrewd and canny.” “He’s very good and clients really like him."

Chambers and Partners 2020, Education, Band 1

"He’s very bright, very dedicated, and he’s prepared to have a good argument.” “He’s creative with cases and a polymath as he works in other disciplines, so he brings that to bear in a case. He’s fantastic."

Chambers and Partners, Immigration, Band 2