Commercial Public Law


Our commercial public law team is regularly instructed across diverse commercial and regulatory judicial review matters, as well as other commercial public law proceedings, within the UK and in other jurisdictions around the world.  Matrix has a particular strength in being able to bring to bear expertise across a wide range of interlocking disciplines, including competition, tax, EU and trade, immigration, environment, crime, employment and human rights.

We regularly advise and represent businesses seeking to challenge government decision-making, including decisions of government departments and of regulators.  We also frequently act for NGOs seeking to intervene in commercial judicial reviews, and for government bodies in defending such claims.

Notable cases

  • Four interlocking parallel judicial reviews and damages claims relating to the franchise competitions for the West Coast, East Midland and South Eastern rail franchises on whether Stagecoach and Arriva had been unlawfully excluded from the competitions for failure to comply with the pensions requirements of the bid;
  • Judicial reviews in the Cayman Islands relating to sanctions imposed by the telecoms regulator, stamp duty rules, and the legality of the grants of customs duty waivers;
  • A challenge on EU law grounds (including the general principle of equal treatment) to the decision to exclude onshore wind from access to government renewable energy subsidies while allowing offshore wind access to those subsidies;
  • State aid challenges by the owners of Coventry City Football Club in relation to the local council’s grant of 250-year lease of the club’s home ground to its new owners (Wasps RFC), and to the council’s grant of a £14.4m loan to its insolvent subsidiary;
  • A challenge by Heathrow Airport to the abolition of VAT Retail Export Scheme on the ground that the consultation was unlawful and the decision did not comply with WTO rules;
  • An appeal to the Privy Council on whether, by entering a lease, the Attorney General of the Turks & Caicos Islands should be taken to have granted outline planning permission for development in a national park or to have created a legitimate expectation that it would do so, giving rise to a constitutional right to compensation;
  • Judicial reviews of exclusionary rules in local government, police and armed forces pension schemes;
  • A challenge to the Office for Students’ regulatory framework;
  • Various challenges to refusals to grant licenses to universities and employers to sponsor foreign workers and students;
  • A challenge to the Office of Rail and Road’s decision regarding the costs which Heathrow Airport could recover from Crossrail for the use of the Heathrow Spur, connecting Heathrow Airport to Paddington;
  • Challenges by publicans to the restrictions imposed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic;
  • Advising on a challenge by mobile payment services providers to the introduction by the Phone-paid Services Authority of new regulatory conditions;
  • Advice on possible challenges to decisions by financial regulators, the Serious Fraud Office and other prosecutors’ decisions to bring criminal proceedings against banks and other businesses;
  • Advice on challenges to the FCA relating to listings on the London Stock Exchange.