Mark regularly appears in the Administrative Court and the appellate courts (usually on behalf of public bodies facing judicial review claims and often in cases with a prominent human rights element) as well as in a range of disciplinary and regulatory tribunals. His particular areas of expertise (including advisory work) cover central government, professional regulators (especially in the health/care sector but also legal, financial, pensions, teachers and police regulators), utilities, immigration control, local government, freedom of information and data protection, environmental, media organisations and licensing bodies. Although Mark now has a broad client base, his experience and expertise are rooted in ten years’ service as Junior Counsel to the Crown from 1992 to 2002. Previously, Mark worked in a large firm of solicitors (Mallesons Stephen Jaques, now King & Wood Mallesons, in Melbourne), in the Legal Department of a local authority (Bournemouth Borough Council) and in the European Parliament’s Human Rights Unit (in Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Brussels). From 2005 until 2015 he held appointment and acted as a senior Special Advocate, approved by the Attorney General and cleared to a high level by the Security Services, to appear in terrorist cases.

In 2008 Mark became an accredited mediator, through CEDR. This is very much a growing part of his practice, now accounting for about a quarter of his time and covering all manner of disputes (ironically, mostly in the private not public sector). Increasingly, he deals with the more complex and weighty mediations, which demand advanced mediation skills and sometimes last for more than one day or even cover multiple parties, issues and sessions over weeks or months.

Mark is recognised by both of the main independent legal directories, Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, as a leading silk for his expertise in civil liberties, environment, professional discipline & regulatory (top tier) and as a mediator.

Recent comments include:

  • "A leading silk practising at the intersection of professional regulation and public law. He is razor sharp and easy to deal with."- Legal 500, 2024
  • "He is a very impressive advocate." - Chambers UK, 2023
  • "Mark Shaw is always clear and helps clients easily understand the mediation process." - Chambers UK, 2023

Previous quotes include:

  • “An exceptional performer who has unparalleled expertise in public sector mediations.” - Chambers UK
  • “immensely knowledgeable and reassuring”, with “complete moral and intellectual integrity”. - Chambers UK
  • “He adopts a very calm and empathetic approach while also cultivating an air of authority that clients respect.” - Chambers UK
  • “Mark Shaw KC was excellent. He is very clear and helpful. His style was open and realistic, and he spelt out the reality to us, when necessary, at certain junctures. This was an enormously difficult case and he helped us through it in a subtle and highly skilled way.” - Chambers UK
  • "An intellectual heavyweight" - Legal 500
  • "His advice has just been phenomenal, he's turned things around quickly and he's very clear. He's given us a huge amount of comfort that we have a clear and authoritative legal view." - Chambers UK
  • "Excellent technical legal knowledge, clear and concise drafting, highly persuasive advocacy, very personable and down to earth." - Legal 500
  • "An intellectual heavyweight." - Legal 500



Professional Discipline

Mark has a long-established practice, both as an advocate and adviser, in professional disciplinary and regulatory proceedings. Extensive work for almost all healthcare regulators lies at the core. They have instructed him regularly and frequently over many years, as a junior and in silk. His most important and regular regulatory clients include the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the General Dental Council, the General Chiropractic Council, the General Optical Council, the General Osteopathic Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the General Social Care Council, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the General Teaching Council, the Legal Services Board, the Bar Standards Board, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the British Veterinary Association, the Metropolitan Police Authority,  the Pensions Regulator and the Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board and financial services regulators in the UK and overseas, as well as a variety of local authorities, educational institutions, governing bodies and clubs .

Mark is not generally involved in the routine prosecution work. Instead, he appears before statutory committees and regulatory tribunals, the Administrative Court and the appellate courts (in judicial review claims and statutory appeals by registrants and the Professional Standards Authority, formerly the CHRE) when cases raise public law and human rights issues with implications beyond a single instance.

He also regularly advises a range of public authorities and professional, teaching and regulatory organisations and agencies on the application of public law principles and the Human Rights Act 1998 (especially articles 6, 8 and 10 of the ECHR) to their procedures both as regards general restructuring and specific issues. This has included, for example, advising the Metropolitan Police Authority regarding disclosure of the IPCC’s two reports on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station and regarding the decision whether to  bring disciplinary proceedings against senior officers. He has recently completed a detailed inquiry report, having been appointed as the independent investigator into a complaint made by a registrant against the head of a major UK professional regulator. As well as individual cases, Mark often deals with overarching points of principle and issues of law which act as precedents across a whole profession or activity. This includes advice and drafting on committee structures/procedures and on decision-making protocols, rules and regulations.

Legal 500 Hall of Fame.

Chambers & Partners Tier 1.

Chambers & Partners shortlisted (as one of three nominees) in October 2018 as “Silk of the Year” in Professional Discipline, when Blackstone Chambers won "Chambers of the Year" in the same category.

Many cases are too confidential to mention below.


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Mark became a CEDR accredited mediator in October 2008. Since then he has mediated all manner of disputes: commercial, tort, professional negligence, (re)insurance, corporate/partnership, neighbours/boundaries/land, landlord & tenant, costs, immigration, employment/workplace, industrial relations & trade unions, misconduct & misfeasance, family, pensions, care, social services, health, educational institutions and clubs, student discipline, religious institutions, media, financial services (commercial and regulatory/enforcement), health & safety, police, utilities, EU, discrimination and harassment, property development, public sector and public procurement (both private law and public law claims). Some take just a few hours, most last a day (and occasionally much of the night). Some weighty, sensitive, complex and/or high profile mediations have lasted multiple days or multiple sessions over weeks or months. Mark's strong background in public sector, public law, civil liberties and human rights work gives him an unusual depth of insight into the legal, presentational, financial, personnel and policy issues which often tax public and regulatory bodies. This experience extends to central and local government bodies, professional disciplinary and regulatory agencies, police authorities, pension funds, utilities and media organisations.

Since accreditation, Mark’s mediation practice has expanded through membership of the IPOS Mediation, CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) and the CMC (Central Mediation Council). IPOS Mediation boasts a small and select panel of some of the country’s (indeed, the world’s) leading and most active mediators. In recent years many lawyers (and non-lawyers) have qualified as mediators and claim to be active. In reality, remarkably few actually do any regular mediating. It is a relatively small minority of mediators who have most of the practical experience. Mark is one of them. In the last few years his mediating has expanded markedly, and now takes about a quarter of his time. It has evolved to feature larger, lengthier, more complex, high value, high profile, knotty and sensitive disputes/mediations; both in the UK and in various overseas jurisdictions. They often cover multiple parties, issues and areas of law, and demand creative solutions using advanced mediator skills. Usually, but not always, they involve long-running high-temperature disputes against the background of vigorous litigation. This busier practice has been both caused by and reflected in Mark’s rising ranking in the directories, including his elevation to the Legal 500 Hall of Fame (for mediation and in three other categories).

He has mediated a wide array of disputes, by no means limited to his main areas of practice. Recently, this has included various civil actions against different police forces, several professional negligence disputes, a long and complex four-party dispute about the allocation of millions of pounds of past, present and future social care costs between different public agencies, various discrimination/harassment/disciplinary claims in workplace and educational settings, a claim for damages/remediation in respect of a large contaminated industrial site, a joint mediation (with Lord Woolf) over what was said to have been the largest ever costs bill in UK civil litigation (after settlement of a very substantial negligence/nuisance claim brought by thousands of claimants as a class action), an industrial relations dispute arising from changes to the pension arrangements for 1000s of public sector workers, an international mediation about the legality and scale of enforcement action taken by the financial services regulator in an important offshore jurisdiction and a dispute between the government and the entire judiciary of an overseas jurisdiction regarding pension arrangements.

Allied to mediation, Mark has also conducted some (public sector) adjudications and inquiries, which involve mediation skills in dealing with both parties and witnesses. Recently, he acted as an independent investigator for a major UK professional regulator, reporting on a complaint made by a registrant against the organisation’s head. Previously, he acted as a hybrid mediator/adjudicator/ visitor for Exeter University dealing with a challenge by the Christian Union to (1) its suspension from the Students’ Union for refusing to allow non-Christian members to become members or leaders and (2) the requirement for it to be renamed the Evangelical Christian Union. A judicial review claim by the Christian Union under the Human Rights Act 1998 (articles 9, 10 & 11 of the ECHR), against the underlying decision and the adjudication, was stayed pending the mediation/adjudication, then revived and dismissed by the Administrative Court.

Adjudication published on

Legal 500 Hall of Fame, 2022.

The mediated disputes are necessarily too confidential to mention below, save by way of the broadest summary.


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Public & Regulatory

Mark has established his reputation in this area by regular appearances in the higher courts (especially the Administrative Court) and tribunals on behalf of an array of government departments and agencies, regulators, trade associations, companies and individuals. He has a particular expertise in judicial review, statutory appeals and regulatory law in the fields of professional discipline, healthcare, transport, utilities, national security (as a Special Advocate), environment, freedom of information, immigration, local government, media, health and safety, nature conservation, advertising standards, waste disposal, construction, tobacco regulation and licensing. His Crown work involved numerous leading and high profile cases in the UK and Strasbourg, including the challenges by Myra Hindley and by the killers of James Bulger to their life sentences for murder as well as the applications to the Parole Board by the latter for release. Early in 2010 he appeared as the Lead (Senior) Special Advocate representing an alleged terrorist who successfully resisted deportation to Algeria. As regards his advisory work, much involves helping to establish or refine regulatory procedures, and to guide decision-making processes, capable of withstanding public law and human rights challenges. Many cases are too confidential to mention below.

Legal 500 Hall of Fame: Professional Discipline/Regulatory & Environmental law.


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Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Mark has a broad based Civil Liberties practice which dovetails with his Public Law work. 

Legal 500 Hall of Fame.

See the Public Law section for relevant cases.


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  • Human Rights Law & Practice (contributor) Butterworths, 1999 and (supplement) 2000.
  • Halsbury’s Laws of England: Immigration and Nationality, volume 4(2) reissue, (co-author) Butterworths, 1992.
  • The Primary Purpose Rule: A Rule with No Purpose (co-author) Justice, 1993.
  • JR, quarterly journal, (member of Advisory Board) Hart, since 1996.
  • Costs at the Leave Stage [1996] JR 8.
  • Costs against Magistrates [1996] JR 133.
  • Costs and Multiple Representation [1997] JR 4.
  • Discovery in JR (co-author) [1998] JR 12. 

Previous professional experience

  • 2008: Accreditation , and start of practice, as a mediator 
  • 2005 - 2015: Special Advocate (security cleared for terrorism cases)
  • 2002: Began practice as a Q.C.
  • 1991: Pegasus (Inner Temple) Scholarship to Mallesons Stephen Jaques, a large firm of solicitors based in Melbourne (dealing with various aspects of commercial and public law, particularly public utilities, planning and freedom of information).
  • 1988: Began practice at the Bar (in current Chambers).
  • 1987-88: Pupillage (in current Chambers).
  • 1986-87: Legal Department of Bournemouth Borough Council.
  • 1986: European Parliament “stage” (scholarship) within the Human Rights Unit based in Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Brussels.
  • 1985-86: Legal Department of Bournemouth Borough Council.
  • 1981-85: Double first in law (BA and LLM) at Durham and Cambridge Universities. 


  • Leading (Senior) Special Advocate, appointed by the Attorney General and security cleared to a high level enabling representation of alleged terrorists in national security cases mainly before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission and the Administrative Court (since 1998).
  • CEDR accredited mediator (since 2008).
  • Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (since 2008).
  • Previously, appointed by the Attorney General to the supplementary panel of Crown counsel (then known as the “B” Panel) from 1992 to 1995 and as Junior Counsel to the Crown (then known as the “A” Panel) from 1995 to 2002.  The latter appointment had to be relinquished on taking Silk.


  • ARDL (Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers): member & former committee member.
  • ALBA (Constitutional & Administrative Law Bar Association): member & former committee member.
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers: international fellow.
  • CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution): member.
  • CMC (Central Mediation Council): member.
  • The Mediation Chambers (In Place of Strife): panel member. 
  • Justice: member.

Selected earlier reported cases

Public Law & Civil Liberties

  • Advising Gambling Commission on the scope of its right to review the operating licences of companies in administration.
  • Advising major utilities companies resisting disclosure requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
  • Advising an array of police authorities resisting disclosure requests under the Audit Commission Act 1998.
  • Advising a British citizen living abroad on his response to allegations being investigated by the CPS that many years ago he tortured prisoners in a foreign state while working there as a high-ranking police and security officer. Apart from the issues of universal jurisdiction (torture can be tried in the UK even if the alleged acts were committed abroad), the case raised issues of extradition, inferences to be drawn from silence and the admissibility of evidence.
  • Advising the Health & Safety Executive on various aspects of its environmental regulatory work; such as licence conditions for nuclear sites, the incidence of the burden and the standard of proof under article 6 ECHR in prosecutions for breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the approval of the rail safety case presented by London Underground prior to restructuring the Tube through the PPP scheme, the approval of the rail safety case presented by Railtrack after the Potter’s Bar rail crash.
  • R (Beacon) v GMC [Administrative Court] (2011)
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council and Unison [Administrative Court] (2011-2012)
  • Pendennis Shipyard v South West Regional Development Agency (2011-2012)
  • Smartsource Drainage & Water Reports Ltd v Information Commissioner Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber), 23 November 2010 [2010] UKUT 415 (AAC); [2011] J.P.L. 455 and its sequel Fish Legal v Information Commissioner (C-279/12) European Court of Justice (Grand Chamber), 19 December 2013 [2014] Q.B. 521; [2014] 2 W.L.R. 568; [2014] 2 C.M.L.R. 36; [2015] All E.R. (EC) 795; [2014] Env. L.R. 18
  • R (Transport for London) v Pension Protection Fund [Administrative Court] (2010-2012)
  • Network Rail Limited & Elsenham Level Crossing (2011-2012)
  • Liang v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Yan Bin Li v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Mirzalli v Secretary of State for the Home Department [various County Courts and Court of Appeal] (2008-2010)
  • T (Boukhetache) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [Special Immigration Appeals Commission] SC/31/2005 (22 March 2010)
  • Van Gaalen v Network Rail [Court of Appeal] (2008)
  • Secretary of State for the Home Department v KK [Administrative Court] (2007-2008)
  • LighterLife v HMRC (2008)
  • Q (Mihoubi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [Administrative Court] (2007)
  • Martin v Exeter University Students’ Guild and Exeter University (2007)
  • Network Rail Limited v Information Commissioner [Information Tribunal] EA/2006/ 0061-0062 (2007)
  • R (Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority & Passenger Transport Executive) v Secretary of State for Transport [Administrative Court] [2006] EWHC 226 (Admin)
  • Henshall v GMC [Administrative Court and Court of Appeal] [2006] Lloyd’s Rep. Med. 103 and Times 9 January 2006.
  • R (Green) v Police Complaints Authority & Secretary of State for the Home Department [House of Lords] [2004] 1 WLR 725 (HL), [2004] UKHL 6
  • R (ProLife Alliance) v BBC [House of Lords] [2003] 2 WLR 1403 (HL)
  • International Transport Roth v Home Office [Court of Appeal] [2002] 3 WLR 344 (CA) 
  • Thompson and Venables v Newsgroup Newspapers Limited [Family Division] [2001] 2 WLR 1038 (Fam)
  • R (Bulger) v Lord Chief Justice and Secretary of State for the Home Department [Divisional Court] [2001] 3 All ER 449 (DC)
  • R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Myra Hindley [Divisional Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords] [1998] QB 751 (DC), [2000] 1 QB 152 (CA) and [2001] 1 AC 410 (HL) 
  • R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Thompson and Venables [House of Lords] [1998] AC 407 (HL) and T and V v United Kingdom [European Court of Human Rights] (2000) 30 EHRR 121 (ECtHR)

Professional Discipline 

  • Disciplinary proceedings against a regulator’s own Council/committee members.
  • Disciplinary proceedings arising from alleged professional misconduct arising from a report into a national tragedy many years after the event. 
  • The Construction Industry Training Board and the imposition of a levy on the construction industry.
  • The extent to which disciplinary allegations need to be particularised.
  • Gambling Commission’s right to review the operating licences of companies in administration.
  • Regulation of education provided overseas by UK medical schools.
  • A jockey challenging a decision of the Jockey Club.
  • Language requirements for foreign healthcare workers.
  • Disclosure of fitness to practise information by and to employers, regulators and other third parties.
  • A solicitor challenging various decisions of the Solicitor’s Disciplinary Tribunal.
  • End of Life Guidance for the medical profession.
  • Transfer of the disciplinary adjudicatory function from various professional regulators to the independent Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (“OHPA”), recently abolished.
  • A barrister challenging a disciplinary decision.
  • The legal relationship between the Independent Safeguarding Authority (established after the Soham murders to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse) and the GMC.
  • A broadcaster challenging a decision of Ofcom.
  • A major pharmaceutical company successfully challenging, on appeal, the NICE assessment of the clinical and cost effectiveness of a new medical device for NHS use.
  • R (Nicklinson) v DPP & R (AM) v DPP, SRA and GMC [2012] EWHC 2381 (Admin)
  • Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster (2012)
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council v Bowyer, Harvey, Moss and Prince (2011-12) 
  • General Optical Council and disclosure under section 13C of the Opticians Act 1989 [County Court] (2012 and ongoing)
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council (2012) 
  • General Dental Council and mistaken removal of a registrant from the register (2012) 
  • GMC v Ahmad Zia [Court of Appeal] (2010-2011) (on appeal from Admin Court)
  • R (McNicholas) v (1) GMC (2) Dr Murphy (3) Dr Khaleeli [Administrative Court and disciplinary tribunals] (2005-2010)
  • Accountancy & Actuarial Discipline Board (2010-2012)
  • Prof David Southall & GMC disciplinary proceedings involving child protection at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust (2008-2012)
  • Jean Charles de Menezes/Stockwell I & II reports (2007-2009)
  • R (AvMA) v GMC [Administrative Court] [2009] EWHC 2522 (Admin) (24 February 2009 (permission) and 16 October 2009 (protective costs)) 
  • Haywood v NMC [Administrative Court] (2009)
  • R (Pal) v GMC [Administrative Court] [2009] EWHC 1061 (Admin)
  • Cheatle v GMC [Administrative Court] [2009] EWHC 645 (Admin)
  • Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians & The General Optical Council (2009) 
  • General Social Care Council v Lisa Arthurworrey [Administrative Court] (2008) 
  • Martin v Exeter University Students’ Guild and Exeter University (2007)
  • R (Haward and Green) v GMC [2007] EWHC 2236 (Admin)
  • Appearing and advising in numerous other recent GMC judicial review claims and statutory appeals including R (Varma) v GMC, R (Jackson) v GMC, R (Davies) v GMC, R (Al-Ruby) v GMC, R (Rahman) v GMC, R (Pal) v GMC, R (Thompson) v GMC, R (Colman) v GMC, R (Abraham George) v GMC, Southall v GMC, Kane v GMC, Uruakpa v GMC, R (Shah) v GMC, R (Ubani) v GMC, Brown v GMC, R (Cohen) v GMC,  Igboaka v GMC, R (Mousa) v GMC, R (Tate) v GMC, Macklin v GMC, R (Hemming) v GMC, Paul v GMC, Gopakumar v GMC, Shanker v GMC, R (Ratcliffe) v GMC, Calhaem v GMC and Wakefield v GMC.

Interests & activities

  • Golf: Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Bar Golfing Society from 1999 to 2003
  • The Athenaeum Club: Member (2008-2014) and Chairman (2012-2014) of the Wine Committee, and former member of most other committees
  • Running
  • Scuba diving
  • Wine
  • Italy.

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