Vivienne Sedgley

Call: 2011 

'A standout junior'

Legal 500 2021

'Excellent judgement’

Legal 500 2021

‘She is carving out a niche in the very specialist area of election law’

Legal 500 2020

‘Hard working, responsive, good client manner’

Legal 500 2021

A ‘persuasive advocate, bright, knowledgeable and a team player’

Legal 500 2021

Practice Summary

Vivienne practises in public, planning, housing/property, commercial and regulatory law.

She is recommended by the Legal 500 as a leading junior in both local government, and administrative and public law.

Clients describe her as ‘outstanding’, ‘an excellent advocate […] down to earth and persuasive’, ‘very sound judgement’, ‘she responds very well to pressure and tight deadlines’, ‘clear, concise, logical and fluent in her advice’.

She is a published author in her practice areas, writing for Supperstone, Goudie and Walker: Judicial Review and Parker’s Law and Conduct of Elections.

She is known for her approachability and clear written advice, particularly in tricky areas of law.

Further detail about her practice areas can be found below.

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Public & Administrative

Vivienne has a busy public law practice, acting for both public authorities and individuals.

Elections: Vivienne is an election law specialist. Since 2017, she has been Assistant Editor to Richard Price OBE QC for one of the leading election law commentaries: Parker’s Law and Conduct of Elections. Her instructions include:

  • Retained as ‘on call’ counsel during the general election period.
  • Acting in a case concerning election expenses and potential criminal offences.
  • Acting in a case concerning attempts to access to the full electoral register.
  • Advising on electoral registration.
  • Advising on councillors’ terms of office.
  • Advising on the validity of votes.
  • Advising on local government referendums.

Judicial review: Vivienne provides both pragmatic advice at an early stage and advocacy at court. She contributes to one of the leading legal commentaries: Supperstone, Goudie and Walker: Judicial Review. She has extensive experience of working in-house with public authorities (e.g. local authorities, government departments and the House of Commons) and is well-versed in the competing economic and time constraints.

Instructions include:

  • Legitimate expectation in a dispute between a local authority and a developer.
  • Disputes regarding the adequacy of consultations.
  • Council tax premiums and discounts.
  • Educational and care provision.
  • Combined authorities (She acted (as led junior) in the first reported case regarding combined authorities: R (on the application of Derbyshire CC) v Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority [2016] EWHC 3355 (Admin).)
  • Advising on decision-making reports, with a view to reducing the chances of a subsequent, successful legal challenge.

Freedom of Information and Data Protection: Vivienne has expertise in dealing with initial disclosure, the application of exemptions, complaints to the Information Commissioner and appeals to a tribunal. Her recent work includes:

  • Disclosure in a complex case involving the overlap between subject access requests, proceedings held in private and disclosure in criminal proceedings.
  • Acting in a civil claim for damages for alleged breach of the Data Protection Act in hospital record keeping.
  • Advising on the disclosure of legal advice obtained by a public authority.
  • Making successful submissions to the Information Commissioner.
  • Advising on the interaction between election law, data protection and disclosure obligations under the Civil Procedure Rules.

Mental capacity and mental health: Vivienne acts in proceedings under the Mental Health Act 1983 and Mental Capacity Act 2005, in the County Court, Court of Protection and First-tier Tribunal. Her instructions include:

  • Acting in particularly sensitive and high-profile proceedings requiring reporting restrictions and anonymity orders.
  • Cases concerning the capacity to conduct relationships.
  • Advising on statutory wills.
  • Nearest relative applications.
  • Deputyship applications.

Regulatory, Professional Discipline & Business Crime

Since 2017, Vivienne has acted as clerk to the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (which deals with the regulation of barristers).

Vivienne is adept at dealing with all stages of professional disciplinary and regulatory proceedings, such as:

  • Initial advice
  • Interim orders
  • Substantive/final hearings
  • Applications for judicial review
  • Related professional negligence proceedings

She accepts instructions to act for both regulators and registrants, with a focus on medical and legal professionals.

She has considerable experience of tribunal proceedings at first instance, including:

  • Hearings lasting several weeks
  • Voluminous documentation
  • More than one hundred charges
  • Cross-examination of multiple experts
  • High-profile cases involving associated criminal investigations, safeguarding investigations and/or media coverage.
  • Sensitive cases, involving vulnerable witnesses, relationships between professionals and clients, and the deaths of nursing patients.

Planning & Environment

Vivienne deals with both large-scale developments and individual planning issues.

Her instructions include:

  • Acting as part of the team for the Greater London Authority at the Examination in Public of the London Plan.
  • Advising on the application of the public sector equality duty in controversial regeneration projects.
  • Advising on powers and duties to carry out works under the Highways Act 1980, and landowners’ associated rights to compensation.
  • Statutory reviews and judicial reviews of local planning authority decisions.
  • Advising on traffic regulation orders.

She has written on the presumption in favour of sustainable development and the application of the Public Sector Equality Duty in the context of planning.

Property & Housing

Vivienne’s practice covers a range of housing and property issues, from possession proceedings to local authority accounting for housing expenditure and misrepresentation in the sale of property.

She regularly appears in both the property tribunals and the courts. She has a significant amount of trial experience, including vulnerable and expert witnesses.

Previous instructions include:

  • Appeals against financial penalties imposed under the Housing Act 2004, including instructions (led by Jonathan Manning) in two of the first appeals to the Upper Tribunal.
  • Acting for the landlord in complex possession proceedings involving disputes about agency.
  • Representing local authorities seeking to address anti-social behaviour by way of closure orders, possession proceedings and/or injunctions.
  • Advising on the right to buy and the use of right to buy receipts.
  • Advising on relief for registered social landlords and registered providers of social housing.
  • Advising on the exercise of an option to purchase the freehold.

Commercial & Chancery

Vivienne has broad commercial and chancery expertise, with a particular interest in cases involving agency disputes, allegations of fraud and issues regarding mental capacity.

Previous instructions include acting in an application for a freezing order in a complex commercial and property dispute, and acting for an appellant in an application to the Court of Appeal in a long-running dispute regarding breach of contract and agency.

Contract: She has significant experience of contractual disputes, including multiple companies, misrepresentation, suspicions of fraud and third parties such as agents. She has also drafted and advised on the drafting of contracts, including £multi-million contracts for utilities, leases and settlements.

Insurers: She has advised and acted for insurers seeking to avoid liability, including cases of civil fraud, setting aside settlement agreements and ‘ghost brokers’.

Agency: She has advised and acted in disputes regarding the agency of estate agents, family members and employees.

Leases: Vivienne had advised public authorities on their commercial obligations under various contracts and arrangements involving wholly owned companies.

Statutory wills: Vivienne has significant experience of the Court of Protection and has advised on property and affairs matters, such as beneficiaries’ likely entitlement under a statutory will.

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