Human Rights and Public Interest Law
Public law relates to the principles governing the activities of public bodies such as government departments and agencies, NHS trusts, local authorities, public corporations (such as the BBC or the Civil Aviation Authority) and the prison service
Issues of public law achieve prominence during public inquires such as the Leeveson Inquiry into the ethics and culture of the media and the Grenfell Tower inquiry. However, much of public law deals with daily decisions on immigration, welfare, taxation, data protection, the environment and more.
Public Law is also concerned with how a state treats its citizens. The term Human Rights broadly refers to the basic rights and freedoms set out (in the UK) in the Human Rights Act 1998, which made the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) directly enforceable in the UK courts.
Here we focus on careers in public & human rights law in the United Kingdom. Also see our related information on:
- Solicitors – for details on becoming a qualified solicitor in the UK
- Barristers – a comprehensive guide to becoming a barrister in the UK
- International Law – focuses on public and private law on an international stage, including international human rights.
Employers in the UK include:
- National government (e.g. the Government Legal Department)
- Courts, Tribunals and the Crown Prosecution Service
- Public bodies (e.g. NHS Trusts, BBC)
- NGOs (e.g. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, JUSTICE, Friends of the Earth)
- Private law firms with a public law practice area
- Armed Services
- Charities (e.g. Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Refugee Action, Law Works)
The legal landscape is changing – read more on this in the “about this sector” section of our information on solicitors.