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Emma Dowden-Teale


Emma Dowden Teale heads DLA Piper’s UK public law team.

Emma advises on all aspects of public law, both contentious and advisory, including in respect of human rights, equality, procurement and inquiries.

Emma is a trusted advisor to government in the UK, and often advises at the intersection between the public and private sector. Her practice includes, on the public sector side, drafting and implementation of legal frameworks, policies, decisions and legislation, as well as defending public bodies in judicial review, human rights claims, equality claims and statutory appeals. In the private sector, Emma advises clients in the shaping of operations to ensure compliance with relevant legislation, regulation and broader human rights requirements; in respect of procurements; and representing them in challenges to public sector decisions when appropriate to do so.

Her experience reaches the four corners of public law practice. She has previously been seconded to a number of UK public bodies to provide advice as in-house counsel, as well as acting in reviews, inquiries, public law litigation, human rights complaints and constitutional challenges outside of the UK. Emma is particularly adept at advising and litigating in legally and politically dynamic contexts.

Emma is highly experienced in liaising with sponsoring central Government departments and Parliamentary Counsel in connection with the production and passage of draft legislation through Parliament and variously drafting and commenting upon legislation, statutory instruments and statutory and other guidance, policies and procedures.


  • Judicial review proceedings variously relating to consultation obligations, out-sourcing decisions, human rights, Public Sector Equality Duty, apparent bias, legality, procedural propriety and rationality.
  • Variously leading or advising upon aspects of the statutory establishment, merger and demerger of public bodies, including several health bodies, Non-Departmental Public Bodies and a Non-Ministerial Department, involving work on required consultation, statutory drafting, transfer and transitional arrangements and readiness for commencement including the establishment of frameworks and policy formulation.
  • Advising and representing organisations in relation to statutory and other inquiries and investigations.
  • Advising investors in renewable energy regarding international human rights obligations.
  • Working with local counsel to bring multiple constitutional, human rights and judicial review challenges in several jurisdictions against a Commonwealth government in relation to domestic actions taken against a private sector contractual counterparty’s in-country assets and staff, in tandem with several LCIA arbitration proceedings and a Bilateral Investment Treaty claim.
  • English
  • Oxford University, MA (Oxon) Jurisprudence 2002
  • BPP Law School, Legal Practice Course 2003


  • Emma Dowden-Teale has been named as a leading Individual for Administrative and Public Law - Legal 500, 2024.
  • Legal 500, recommended for:
    • Public and Administrative Law since 2017 and a Next Generation Lawyer/Partner since 2017
    • Professional Discipline since 2017 and a Next Generation Partner since 2018
    • Education since 2018
    • Local Government since 2021
  • Emma has been recognised as a Next Generation Partner by Legal 500, UK for her practice in public law for a number of years, during which time it has various noted that “Emma Dowden-Teale is a joy to work with and always goes the extra mile to help. Her approach is such that she knows our business well and feels like an extension of our team. Emma’s knowledge and experience is so valuable and she is clearly a specialist in public law.” It also explains that she “has strategic judgement beyond her years”, “is a very effective public law litigator”, is “[v]ery knowledgeable and experienced. Very good at devising a pragmatic way forward in a difficult situation”, and “is ‘someone in whom clients feel complete confidence…’”
  • Emma was listed in the Westminster Index’s Top 25 Public Policy Lawyers, 2019/2020.


  • OJEU Notices Practical Law (PLC), 2017 - 2020
  • Supreme Court rules Wikileaks cable document should have been admitted into evidence LexisNexis, 2018
  • Making misogyny a hate crime LexisNexis, December 2018
  • Safeguarding in charities: After the storm Charity Finance, February 2019
  • A “phenomenon of our time”: when are intelligence leaks admissible in court? Law of Nations, February 2018
  • Responding to a crisis Civil Society, October 2019
  • Universal Credit ‘migration’ arrangements discriminatory LexisNexis, February 2020


  • Expert panellist at a digital Skills Town Hall in June 2021 regarding the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill at a digital Town Hall, together with the Shadow Minister for Further Education and Skills and Baroness Garden of Frognal and sector leaders.

Prior Experience

  • 2016 – 2022, Senior Associate and subsequently Partner (2017) in the Public Law and Regulatory department at London firm including roles as Head of Safeguarding Group and Head of Equalities Group.
  • 2008 – 2016, Associate in Public Law group at UK-based international firm, including secondments into various government departments.
  • 2004 – 2008, Training contract at Magic Circle law firm (London and Beijing offices), qualifying into International Dispute Resolution Department (Public Law and International Arbitration groups).

Additional Qualifications

  • Independent Reviewer, variously appointed in connection with reviews of serious domestic and international safeguarding incidents
  • Steering Committee of the working group commissioned by (what is now) the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to prepare domestically and internationally compliant guidance to international NGOs, following the House of Commons International Development Committee’s inquiry into exploitation, abuse and harassment in the aid sector. See here

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Member of the Public Law Solicitors Association
  • Member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Associate Member of the Administrative Law Bar Association