020 7242 4986 or  0333 240 0591 London  |  Birmingham  |  Cardiff
Philip Kolvin

Dr Alex Williams

020 7242 4986

Alex comes to the Bar from an academic career at Durham University, where he was Lecturer in Law and Co-Director of the Human Rights Centre.

Alex is available to take instructions. Widely published in the field of public law and human rights, he aims to develop a broad practice in all of Chambers' core areas.

Alex's PhD concerned the applicability of judicial review and human rights obligations to non-state actors. His research is particularly relevant to hybrid bodies such as housing associations who are facing public law challenge: either as defendants to a claim, or as claimants who are facing a public law defence. As an academic lawyer his advice was often sought by barristers and solicitors having to grapple with these issues. He also acted as a consultant to the Law Commission.

Alex has published widely in the field of public law and human rights in distinguished journals such as the Law Quarterly Review and Modern Law Review. He has lectured to expert audiences in various countries across the world. He is co-author of a major public law textbook, Text, Cases and Materials on Public Law and Human Rights (4th edn, Routledge, 2016), which serves as core reading on many undergraduate law courses in England and Wales. In addition to his post at Durham University, he has held visiting fellowships at Cambridge University, University College London and UNSW, Sydney.

Alex studied at Cambridge (BA, MA), Durham (MJur, PhD) and BPP (BPTC). As a student he received a number of awards for academic and mooting achievement and appeared before the First-tier Tribunal on social security matters as a FRU advocate.

Alex works mostly in the social housing, planning and general public law fields but is also gaining experience of freedom of information and data protection law. He is often involved with providing advice, drafting and preparing arguments in connection with litigation in the High Court and Court of Appeal. He is regularly instructed to appear in the County Court in his own right.

Alex's publications prior to coming to the Bar include:

1st February 2018

•  'Judicial Review and Monopoly Power: Some Sceptical Thoughts' (2017) 133 Law Quarterly Review 656-682.

• 'Public Authorities and the HRA 1998: Recent Trends' [2017] Judicial Review 247-262.

• 'Public Functions and Amenability: Recent Trends' [2017] Judicial Review 15-26.

• 'The British Bill of Rights Debate: Lessons from Australia' [2016] Public Law 471-490 (with George Williams).

Text, Cases and Materials on Public Law and Human Rights (4th edn, Routledge, 2016) (with Helen Fenwick and Gavin Phillipson).

• 'Strasbourg's Public-Private Divide and the British Bill of Rights' [2015] European Human Rights Law Review 617-630.

• 'Public and Private: Neither Deep Nor Meaningful?', in Kit Barker and Darryn Jensen (eds), Private Law: Key Encounters with Public Law (Cambridge University Press, 2013) 45-88 (with William Lucy).

• 'Horizontal Effect and the Constitutional Constraint' (2011) 74(6) Modern Law Review 878-910 (with Gavin Phillipson).

• 'A Fresh Perspective on Hybrid Public Authorities under the Human Rights Act: Private Contractors, Rights-Stripping and "Chameleonic" Horizontal Effect' [2011] Public Law 139-163.

• 'What is a Public Authority?', in David Hoffman (ed), The Impact of the UK Human Rights Act on Private Law (Cambridge University Press, 2011) 48-65.

• 'Devolution', in Helen Fenwick and Gavin Phillipson, Text, Cases and Materials on Public Law and Human Rights (3rd edn, Routledge, 2010) 232-294 (with Gavin Phillipson).

• 'YL v Birmingham City Council: Contracting out and "functions of a public nature"' [2008] European Human Rights Law Review 524-531.

  • Planning and Environment Bar Association
  • Social Housing Law Association
  • Society of Legal Scholars


Response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee's inquiry on fracking

24th April 2018

Some of our planning barristers have responded to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee's inquiry into planning guidance on fracking. You can read the response here.  Our barristers have extensive experience in....


Cornerstone Barristers Housing Conference 2018

2nd October 2018


Hosted by the Cornerstone Housing Team, the conference will provide a thorough analysis of the latest developments in housing law and policy, as well as practical advice on a wide....


Seminar - Public law defences to possession claims

6th June 2018


This seminar seeks to explain and explore the myriad public law and discrimination challenges often seen in defences to residential possession claims brought on discretionary and/or mandatory grounds. It is aimed....