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Nick Armstrong

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Nick Armstrong has a mixed public law and civil actions practice. Much of his work has an immigration, detention or social welfare element. He acts mostly for individuals, but also for charities, interest groups, some businesses, schools and local authorities.


Nick is a former academic, and a former 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.

Areas of practice

In immigration Nick has acted in a number of significant cases including most recently cases with a substantial EU element. These include FA (Iraq) in the Supreme Court (creating a right of appeal for a class of EU cases); FV (Italy) in the Court of Appeal (a leading EU deportation case); and now ZZ v SSHD (key case on closed material procedures in national security cases concerning EU citizens). Nick has also been acting in an increasing number of immigration cases with a business or commercial element.

Nick also carries out a lot of immigration-detention related work. This includes false imprisonment actions (such as AM (Angola) in the Court of Appeal, a case concerned with what amounts to evidence of torture, and also Suppiah, which was concerned with child immigration detention). He has brought systems challenges (for example Razai, which was about the Secretary of State’s system for allocating bail addresses). Nick has also brought a number of private law actions arising out of immigration detention, particularly cases with an equality element. He has also acted for interveners, including MIND.

Nick is a sought-after prison law expert. He acted for Lee and Wells in their successful applications to Strasbourg in connection with the IPP regime (James, Lee and Wells v UK). He continues to act for Lee in the on going IPP litigation, Lee v SSJ (on its way to the Court of Appeal). Nick intervened for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Griffiths & Coll v SSJ (a case concerned with equality of access to probation hostels for women).

Nick is an experienced community care, mental capacity and mental health, education and health and healthcare practitioner. Many of his cases overlap with his immigration and equality practices. He acted in the recent KA v Essex CC litigation (migrants and s.17 of the Children Act 1989). He is currently in the WXYZ v DOH litigation (lawfulness of the NHS sharing patient information with the Home Office). Nick has also acted in a number of cuts cases and cases concerned with the contracting out of public services (a recent example being RB v Devon CC, which was concerned with the decision of Devon County Council to contract out approximately £130m of children’s services to Virgin Care). Nick appears regularly in the Court of Protection. Although he usually acts for individuals and families Nick has also appeared at all levels on behalf of schools, residential care homes and local authorities.

Each year Nick acts in a number of inquests, and the civil claims which sometimes follow. Nick acts in cases concerning deaths in prison, immigration detention, hospitals, and in police custody. Nick has acted in a number of inquests with a significant media interest. He is currently instructed in a case concerned with the murder of security contractors in Iraq.

Nick also has experience of commercial public law challenges, challenges concerning wider human rights issues, and EU law. He has particular expertise in acting for solicitors’ firms in their disputes with the Legal Aid Agency. Some of these cases raise procurement issues. An increasing number of Nick’s cases concern data-sharing. As well as WXYZ, above, Nick also acts for the claimant in T v CC Greater Manchester, now in the Supreme Court and concerned with the disclosure of childhood cautions to employers.


Nick regularly writes and speaks on all aspects of his practice and on civil justice reform. He is a regular contributor to the journal Judicial Review. Nick has also written extensively on the current legal aid proposals. He regularly briefs MPs and members of the House of Lords on legal aid and judicial review, and has given evidence to Parliamentary committees.

Nick is married with two children. He lives in London.

Nick accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.

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