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  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  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  3 WLR 829). He represents the claimant in Youngsam  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  1 WLR 4107, which is an important case concerning the costs liability of the Parole Board (currently on its way to the Supreme Court, and McAtee  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  AC 49, and in the successful follow up to that case, Gallagher  2 WLR 509. Nick also acted for the claimants in WXYZ v Secretary of State for Health  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  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.
Nick is recommended in a number of areas by both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. Current comments and rankings include:
“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 20121, 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 2019, 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 2019, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Band 2)
“Very tenacious and understands the interactions between education and social care very well.” (Chambers and Partners 2019, Community Care, Band 1)
“Nicholas is shrewd and canny.” “He’s very good and clients really like him.” (Chambers and Partners 2019, 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)