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HB Public Law

    HB Public Law Leaw directory

    HB Public Law was created in 2012 by combining Harrow and Barnet Councils’ legal teams in a shared service.

    The practice has been growing steadily as more organisations are attracted by the high quality of our work and our very competitive prices. Feedback from clients is very positive and in particular, some comment on appreciating our collaborative way of working and the deep understanding our lawyers have of their businesses, while others refer to our commercial acumen and sensitive handling of political matters.

    What we do

    Adult Social Care

    We advise on the Councils’ responsibilities to the elderly, vulnerable adults and those with mental illness or seeking asylum.  This includes advising on challenges to decisions on eligibility for services, assessments and care plans.  Our proactive approach has prevented a number of judicial review applications being lodged against the Councils in recent years.

    Child Care

    Our team of experienced child care lawyers deal with all aspects of child protection, adoption and fostering.  We work closely with Children’s Services and neighbouring authorities to deliver vital training for officers on child care matters.

    Contracts and Procurement

    Our contract lawyers advise on all aspects of contract law including EU procurement, competition, tendering, contracts for goods and services, contractual disputes and negotiations.

    Criminal Litigation

    We regularly deal with the prosecution of individuals and businesses for criminal offences including benefit fraud, fly tipping, noise pollution, licensing, health and safety, food hygiene and planning contraventions.  We also advise schools and Councils and prosecute for education attendance offences.


    We provide legal advice to community, voluntary aided and academy schools on admissions, exclusions, reorganisations, employment, procurement and property issues.  We advise the Councils on special educational needs, school improvement, standards, strategic planning and education welfare.  We clerk and provide training on exclusion panels and independent review panels and undertake advocacy at tribunals.

    Our practical advice has assisted schools in avoiding judicial reviews, defending disability discrimination claims and meeting their statutory duties in cost effective ways.

    We also provide advice to schools on governance structures, the creation of Interim Executive Boards and compliance with regulatory requirements.


    The in-house team provides legal advice on a range of employment matters and legal representation in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal with an extremely high success rate.  The team provides training to staff and governing bodies and organises the annual legal seminar for schools.


    We provide advice to schools on governance structures, the creation of Interim Executive Boards and compliance with regulatory requirements.

    Housing & Civil Litigation

    We provide advice and assistance on homelessness, disrepair, possession actions and options to tackle anti-social behaviour. We are experienced in advising on dispute resolution and act for the clients as claimant and defendant in a range of matters including insurance work, commercial and contractual disputes, injunctions and judicial reviews.

    Information Law

    We regularly advise on freedom of information, data protection, rights of access by third parties and public interest immunity and provide targeted training and policy advice to ensure both Councils local schools and academies meet their legal requirements and follow Information Commissioner guidance.


    Our team provides full support for both Councils planning functions, including advice to Planning Committees, drafting agreements and acting on behalf of the Councils in enforcement matters.  The practice also provides expert team members for high profile public inquiries and advice on major infrastructure projects.


    We advise on a wide range of property matters from simple leases and on site telecoms masts to complex development agreements, including housing stock transfers, property and partnership agreements and academy and free school land arrangements.

    Today, HB Public Law has nearly 100 lawyers who work with local authorities, schools, academies, housing organisations and others in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

    As one of the leading local authority legal practices in the country, we are ambitious about our development and embrace innovation and change.

    We are a founder member of the forward thinking London Boroughs’ Legal Alliance, have created the first private/public partnership of its kind with private sector law firm Bevan Brittan and have an ABS licence to enable us to work for private sector organisations.

    Client Care and Recent Successes

    We are constantly striving to deliver an excellent service, including delivering in house training and publishing newsletters to clients with updates of the law affecting their service.  Our success has been recognised by the Law Society, the Lawyer and Local Government Chronicle.  We hold Lexcel and Investors in People Gold accreditation.

    The staff take pride in offering a professional and solutions-led service and are encouraged to develop their potential via our comprehensive staff development programme.


    We are very proud of the positive endorsements we get from our clients; they speak for themselves:

    “The legal services provided on this case were excellent ….and better described as exemplary”

    “The advice we were given was excellent”

    “You did a wonderful job in a very difficult situation”

    “You understand what it’s like in our world” 

    About Us

    We are a local authority legal practice specialising in public law and hosted by Harrow Council.  We provide services to local authorities, maintained schools, academies, local authority trading companies and housing associations.

    Our Mission, Vision and Values are shown below:


    Our mission is to always work in collaboration with our clients to provide exceptional legal services at an affordable cost, while ensuring our people are valued and able to excel.


    We want to be viewed as our clients’ ‘In House Legal Team’.

    We will achieve this vision by being:

    •     High quality, low cost
    •     Highly client focused
    •     Collaborative
    •     Experts
    •     Politically aware
    •     Innovative in delivery


    We will deliver our mission and our vision by demonstrating the following values:

    •     Ambitious and performance driven
    •     Expert and competent
    •     Collaborative - ensuring our clients/customers get the best out of our combined expertise
    •     Creating a great team atmosphere between colleagues; both within and between teams
    •     Commercial in our mindset, looking for opportunities to earn revenue or save costs in ways that do not conflict with our core purpose
    •     Innovative and open to new ideas (proactive in implementing positive changes)
    •     Flexible and adaptable to changes (quick to respond to changes outside of our control)
    •     Investing in our staff to grow and develop them

    Overview of HB Public Law
    HB Public Law (‘HBPL’) is a confident and ambitious practice, committed to creating a sustainable future for our staff and to provide first class legal services to our clients.  HBPL was formed in 2012 on the joining of Barnet and Harrow’s legal departments.  Within 2 months of going live the new practice had secured Lexcel, IIP Gold and the IIP staff health & wellbeing award.  The practice is based in and hosted by Harrow Council, where it enjoys high level cross party support

    Our mission is to work in collaboration with our clients to provide exceptional legal services at an affordable cost, while ensuring its people are valued and able to excel.  Our  vision is to be viewed as the equivalent to an ‘In House Legal Team’ by our clients by reflecting a deep understanding of them and their needs - hence our motto ‘working in collaboration with you’.

    On 1st June 2015, the London Borough of Hounslow joined the practice and on 1st September Aylesbury Vale District Council joined us, which now comprises over 100 lawyers, supported by a practice management team, a business support team and a finance team, with access to a dedicated legal library and comprehensive online legal research materials.

    The practice is organised into a number of specialist teams, each lead by a manager.  New joiners comment on the friendly, supportive atmosphere which enables them to settle quickly.  The practice is committed to developing its staff, and has commissioned a bespoke management development programme as well as starting to recruit its first apprentices.

    All staff work on a fully integrated Iken case management system, into which all documents are scanned, so that any fee earner can work on any matter, anywhere.  All land title deeds are held in an electronic system which enables fee earners to access, inspect and advise on title matters without recourse to paper documents.

    HBPL was the first local authority legal practice to apply to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority for an ‘Alternative Business Structure’ (‘ABS’) licence.  This enables us to act for outsourced service providers which the employed solicitors’ rules would otherwise prevent us from doing.  We are therefore uniquely placed to develop the practice as local government is rationalised and services outsourced in response to the Government’s austerity programme.

    HBPL has a unique partnership with Bevan Brittan LLP, ‘the public services law firm’.  Completed after a national procurement exercise, the partnership brings a new offering to the market, comprising HBPL’s depth of local government experience and Bevan Brittan’s broader sector specialisms.  The partnership is working on a number of high profile projects which demonstrate its value to the parties and to clients.  It also gives us access to support in running our business and making it successful and gives our staff access to private sector experience not available in other local authority practices.         

    The practice is based in a modern, purpose built office suite – designed by lawyers for lawyers, with hot desks, break out spaces, dedicated meeting rooms with IT & telephony for confidential client conferences, excellent pubic transport links and wi-fi connectivity.


    Visit our website at

    Key contacts:

    Jessica Farmer
    Head of Legal Practice
    Tel: 020 8424 1889
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    Serena Clarke
    Legal Practice Manager
    Tel: 020 8424 1893
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    Sarah Wilson
    Principal Lawyer - Litigation & Social Care
    Tel: 020 8424 1417
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    Matthew Adams
    Principal Lawyer - Commercial
    Tel: 020 8424 1403
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    Service by email is not accepted unless otherwise agreed between the parties.

    Our address is - HB Public Law, Harrow Council, PO Box 2, Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow, Middlesex. HA1 2UH.

    DX 30450 HARROW 3

    HB Public Law 270