I specialise in public and administrative law, providing strategic advice and consultancy support for local authorities and other governing bodies. I also give expert legal advice and assistance, usually directed at the highest levels of organisations. My work often requires political awareness and sensitivity.
I am a team player and worked in-house for over 15 years before joining the private sector. My last role in local government was as Borough Secretary and Solicitor for Greenwich Council managing a team of 150 staff across a dozen functions, including; contracts standards and monitoring, equalities, community safety and emergency planning, democratic services, elections and legal. Before that I was Head of Legal Services for Lewisham Council and prior to that was Assistant Head of Legal and Principal Economic Development Solicitor for Kirklees Council where I was involved in many new and innovative projects, including; Kirklees Stadium, Kirklees Henry Boot Partnership, Kirklees Community Association and Kirklees Theatre.
I regularly advise on public sector vires and governance including advice on decision-making and constitutional issues; conduct and ethics; option appraisals and structuring (both public-public/shared services and public-private sector partnerships); major projects and regeneration schemes, including asset vehicles; PPPs; setting up and managing companies, charities and social enterprises; income generation; judicial review and minimising challenge.
My team and I strive to provide seamless additional support to in-house legal departments.
I have contributed articles to Health & Social Care for Local Government Lawyer, EM LawShare, SOLACE and the Municipal Journal
Recent articles include:
The importance of Place and Revenue Growth for Local Government
Seminars and Training
I regularly hold seminars for SOLACE, the Westminster Forum, and LLG
UPDATED: COVID-19 Local authority governance and decision making
Councils must be prepared for Statutory Officer disciplinary...
The MJ - article published 20 June 2019
Use of grievance procedures to impose sanctions for councillors'...
Commentary on R (Harvey) v Ledbury Town Council  EWHC 1151 (Admin)
The Haringey ruling and local authorities' duty to consult
Commentary on governance issues
Strengthening standards for councillors and mayors – a missed...
DCLG is consulting on proposals to update the criteria that bar individuals from becoming or being a local councillor or...
Role for Local Government in NHS Sustainability and Transformation...
Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) are at the heart of the Government's objective to drive greater efficiency and...
Sustainability and Transformation Planning: The Governance Challenges
There is a tight timetable for the delivery of the sustainability and transformation plans ("STPs") across England and it is...
What should a consultation look like?
The Cabinet Office has issued a revised set of consultation principles that are intended to act as guidance for Government...
Is your Constitution due a Health Check?
With Annual Council only a few months away, now is the time to be doing it.
Devolution Act gets Royal Assent
The Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 has now received Royal Assent. The Bill has been much amended and extended...
The politics of setting the Budget
The politics of setting the Budget
Judith Barnes is a standout expert in local government law. Speaks and advises with authority and very knowledgeable across all areas of local government law. As a head of legal, I go to no-one else.