David Lock KC

Practice summary

Public and Administrative

Practice Summary

David Lock was called to the Bar in 1985 and made a KC in 2011. He was a public law specialist until he generally retired as a practising barrister at the end of 2022.  During his career he was awarded ‘Public Law Silk of the Year’ at the 2020 Legal 500 UK Bar Awards.

He now sits part time as a Deputy High Court Judge in the King’s Bench and Family Divisions and also as a Recorder in the Crown Court, as well as serving as a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics.

David is joint editor (with Hannah Gibbs) of the leading practitioner’s book, “NHS Law and Practice” (2018).  A second edition is in the process of being written and will be published in late 2023. He is also one of the authors of the Landmark Guide to the Law on Police Pensions.

Outside legal work.

David has served as a Member of Parliament and was a Legal Minister in the UK government between 1999 and 2001.  He has also served as Chair of national and regional public bodies, as well as conducting sensitive investigations for public bodies. 

Currently he is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Prisoners of Conscience Charity and serves as an expert member of the BMA Ethics Committee.  Along with his wife, Dr Bernie Gregory, he has taken extended periods of time away from legal work annually for the last 10 years to amble across obscure parts of the world on a bicycle (and now on trikes) see  for details.

Public and Administrative

Information Governance

David took the Freedom of Information Bill through the Commons as a Junior Minister and was on the Bill Committee for the Data Protection Act. He is regularly instructed on information governance matters, particularly for NHS bodies and local government and has reported cases involving information governance and appeared in the recent AB case out the fairness of processing of personal data.

Police Law

David is a recognised specialist in public law relating to the police. He has acted in many judicial reviews concerning the law relating to police officers and has a particular expertise in police pensions (see for example R (Evans) v Cheshire Constabulary [2018] EWHC 952 (Admin), R (Boskovic) v Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police [2018] EWHC 14 (Admin) [permission has been granted for this case to the Court of Appeal] and Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v The Police Medical Appeal Board [2013] EWHC 1203 (Admin)). He has represented Chief Constables, senior police officers, constables and former police officers in a wide variety of cases. David acted for the successful former police officer in the case of AB v A Chief Constable (June 2014) which established that Chief Constables are bound by promises made by other officers.

Public Sector Pensions

David is a recognised national authority on public sector pensions, particularly police pensions where he has a series of reported cases involving the proper interpretation of the police pension scheme.

Court of Protection

David has acted in a series of complex cases in the Court of Protection. He appeared in the widely reported case of Wye Valley NHS Trust v B [2015] EWCOP 60 about the right of a patient lacking capacity to refuse life-saving medical treatment and in leading case of Re RK in the Court of Appeal concerning the law relating to the deprivation of liberty of children in local authority care. He also appeared in Re SK which is the leading case on parallel CoP and QB proceedings.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Many of the cases David is instructed on have a human rights or EU law element. He has advised and acted on EU and HR cases up to the Supreme Court, such as the case of MM concerning the rights of restricted mental health patients where judgment is awaited. He was also counsel in R (KG) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 1767 (Admin) concerning the rights of immigration detainees to medical treatment.

David has advised or appeared in cases on issues as wide as whether development schemes constitute state aid through to whether it is a breach of the HR rights to prevent detained mental health patients from smoking (see here).

Local Government including Local Government Finance

David is regularly instructed on a wide range of local government issues and has reported cases acting for and against local authorities in the High Court and Court of Appeal. This includes the recent case of R (CP) v North East Lincolnshire Council [2018] EWHC 220 (Admin). His expertise includes procurement, election law, social care responsibilities, governance and public sector finance. He acted for Cornwall Council in the PH case, which is a leading case about ordinary residence of service users without capacity (which was heard in the Supreme Court in March 2015) and Walsall Council in the ZYN case about charges for services users who have personal injury awards.

NHS, Health and Community Care

David has a nationally reputation as a leading lawyer concerning the law of the NHS.

Chambers and Partners, 2018: “When it comes to healthcare, he’s unrivalled – his knowledge is encyclopaedic. He’s a first choice for complex medical law questions.” 

His practice includes all areas of work within Healthcare Law including:

  • Consent to treatment and patient applications
  • Vires and legality of actions of NHS bodies
  • NHS Continuing care
  • List management and regulatory law for the NHS
  • GP, dental and pharmacy contracts
  • EU law affecting the NHS
  • Procurement and contracting issues.

David has appeared in leading cases involving the NHS, including:

He regularly advises a large number of NHS bodies on public law issues. However, he also advises and acts for patients who are challenging decisions of the NHS and for doctors who are subject to regulatory action by NHS bodies including the recent case of R (Richmond Pharmacology Ltd) v The Health Research Authority [2015] EWHC 2238 (Admin).

David edits the Guide to the Law of the NHS on the Landmark website.

David has in the past chaired the Steering Groups for Public Law at Landmark Chambers.


Court of Protection

Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Local Government including Local Government Finance

NHS, Health and Community Care

Provides good political, legal and commercial insight."

Chambers and Partners

CP Top Ranked Chambers Uk leading silk 2023 1

Qualifications and achievements


  • British Medical Association Ethics Committee


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