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Sir Jeffrey Jowell combines an active practice of unusual variety with a distinguished academic career. From 2010-2015 Jeffrey was the inaugural Director of the Bingham Centre on the Rule of Law. His practice continued during that time and he returned to full-time practice in October 2015.
Sir Jeffrey is recognised as a leading silk in both the key legal directories, Chambers UK and Legal 500 for his expertise in offshore law and public international law. Previous quotes include:
The Times Law 100 2012 - Jeffrey is featured in The Times’ list of the 100 most influential lawyers. He was listed in The Times newspaper’s inaugural ‘Law 100: the UK's most powerful lawyers’ list, where he was described as “a leading authority on public, constitutional and administrative law”.
The scope of Sir Jeffrey’s work includes judicial review, human rights and other aspects of public and international law. He advises extensively on the drafting of national constitutions, the relationship between the UK and dependent territories, and the design and application of internal regulatory and Ombudsmen schemes. He regularly appears on these matters in the courts of Commonwealth countries as well as the Privy Council and the UK Supreme Court.
His advice is enhanced by the practical experience he gained through his role (between 2000–2011) as the UK’s member of the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (“The Venice Commission”) where he assisted with the constitutional and public law of a number of countries.
He has held public office such as Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution; Non-Executive Director of the Office of Rail Regulation (‘ORR’). He is a member of the Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights and is a trustee of various foundations in the UK and abroad.
Sir Jeffrey is Professor Emeritus of Public Law at University College London where he was Dean of the Law Faculty and a Vice Provost. His authority as an academic commentator is reflected in many citations to his work in the judgments of courts in this country and abroad. His many publications include the standard text on Judicial Review (with Lord Woolf et al): de Smith’s Judicial Review (8th ed. 2018) and (with Professor Colm O’Cinneide), The Changing Constitution (9th ed. 2019).
He is a Bencher of the Middle Temple and has been awarded a number of honorary degrees and awards including Hon. Fellow of UCL, Hon. Fellow of Hertford College Oxford, Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Cape Town, Athens and Paris, and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Sir Jeffrey is an accredited CEDR Mediator.
Sir Jeffrey is instructed by private and government solicitors in the UK and abroad, and by international organisations on issues of constitutional, administrative and human rights law. He has recently assisted with the constitutions of the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Burma, Sri Lanka, Georgia and The Gambia. He has acted as an expert witness in the recent extradition case of The Government of the Republic of Turkey v Buyuk, Celik and Ipek, in which he was described as an “authoritative and persuasive witness”. He regularly advises on public law matters in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. He has been involved in the constitutional settlements of Serbia, Bosnia, the Maldives and Luxembourg. He has appeared in the courts of a number of countries including Malawi, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. He assisted with the South African constitution and its administrative law statute. He appeared in the recent Supreme Court case, R (Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal.
“A leading authority on public, constitutional and administrative law.”The Times Law 100, 2012
acted for the successful appellants in this leading UK Supreme Court case on
He successfully advised and appeared in the Privy Council in this case.
In 2013, he appeared successfully in this case which is likely to stand as a major authority on electoral law in Commonwealth jurisdictions and on constitutional interpretation generally.
Sir Jeffrey is a CEDR accredited mediator. His wealth of experience derives not only from his professional practice across the public law and human rights arena, but also from his distinguished career as a high profile academic and administrator. He has also developed an impressive portfolio of constitutional work for national governments abroad and he is well known for his strong diplomatic skills in this field.
Sir Jeffrey has been involved in practical rule of law projects in many different ways. He was the founder-director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law ( a London-based international body ); and the UK Member of the Council of Europe's Commission for Democracy Through Law (the 'Venice Commission', which provides advice to countries in Europe and beyond on rule of law issues). He has advised a number of countries on their constitutions, on their law-making, electoral, law-enforcement and regulatory systems and on techniques to ensure access to justice, rights and judicial independence. He is a leading authority on administrative law, including the necessary powers of the state and ways to ensure good and lawful governance.
Sir Jeffrey has advised and litigated in many countries on different issues concerning constitutional and international human rights standards. He has represented a number of Commonwealth countries and British Overseas Territories and Dependencies on their relative powers and constitutional duties. He has recently appeared in the courts of countries in the Caribbean on such matters, and in the Privy Council and the UK Supreme Court.
“An astute operator and is able to see things on a plane which others rarely can”Legal 500, 2021
“He deserves his reputation as a pre-eminent jurist whose experience and calm assurance provide comfort and understanding for the client.”Legal 500, 2021
“Definitely up there as a leading PIL silk.”Legal 500, 2018
“Outstanding – an absolute star.”Legal 500, 2017
“A giant of the English Bar and an expert on rule of law issues generally”Legal 500, 2016
“His written and oral advocacy is beautifully crafted - he is a tremendous authority.”Legal 500, 2015
He represented the Maduro Board.
Sir Jeffrey has worked on different issues offshore for countries, attorneys-general and civil society. His work includes litigation on public law matters in places such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Malawi, the Southern African Development Community’s Tribunal in Namibia and related litigation in the Privy Council and Supreme Court. For many years he has been the constitutional advisor to the Cayman Islands, and in 2018 both advised in respect of the Sanctions and Money-Laundering Act and assisted in their constitutional negotiations with the FCO. He has similarly advised the Governments of Gibraltar, Jersey and Guernsey on their relationship with the United Kingdom. He has advised on matters such as the relationship on the compatibility of measures to combat tax evasion in the Overseas Territories with human rights to privacy. He has recently advised on the new Georgian, Sri Lankan and Gambian constitutions. Previous work includes advice on public law and human rights issues in Singapore, Malaysia, the Maldives and South Africa.
“He advises the highest levels of offshore government.”Legal 500, 2019
“He advises offshore governments on sensitive governance issues.”Legal 500, 2018
In 2014 Jeffrey appeared successfully on behalf of Guernsey and Jersey intervening in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Sir Jeffrey Jowell KCMG KC will present The Rothschild Foster Human Rights Trust annual lecture on the question ‘Does the UK’s Unwritten Constitution Safeguard Our Democracy?’. This event will take …12 Oct 22
The Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands (Goldring P, Field and Morrison JJA) has allowed the Government’s appeal in The Deputy Registrar of the Cayman Islands and The Attorney …19 Nov 19
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