• Very knowledgeable and experienced. Very good at devising a pragmatic way forward in a difficult situation

    Legal 500 2021

  • Emma Dowden-Teale is a very effective public law litigator

    Legal 500 2021

  • Emma Dowden-Teale has strategic judgement beyond her years

    Legal 500 2020

  • Recognised as a Key Lawyer and a Next Generation Partner

    Legal 500 2020

  • Noted practitioner

    Legal 500 2018

  • Emma is ‘someone in whom clients feel complete confidence in’, standing out for her niche expertise in awarding body regulation

    Legal 500 2017

  • Next generation lawyer

    Legal 500 2017


I advise on all aspects of regulatory and public law, both contentious and advisory, including in respect of equality duties, human rights, safeguarding, public procurement and inquests.

This can comprise work for public bodies themselves, or the private or third sector bodies or individuals who fall within their regimes or are affected by their decisions. It includes advice across the spectrum of public law and regulatory functions from the establishment or exercise of statutory functions; statutory drafting and preparation of related policies and procedures; to representing clients in challenges in the Administrative Court, County Court or First Tier Tribunal.

I have particular interests in the regulation of Education, Charity and Health and Social Care. Within my broader practice, I lead Bates Wells’ sector groups in Safeguarding, Awarding Organisations and Equalities. I am also a member of our Professional Discipline, International NGO, Public Benefit and Procurement and State Aid teams.


  • I give advice for multiple clients across the full spectrum of public law duties

    These include general vires issues, consultation, the public sector equality duty, reasonableness, proportionality, human rights and following appropriate procedure, including in connection with actual and potential judicial review challenges and statutory appeals.

  • I advise third sector clients operating nationally and internationally in relation to safeguarding

    This includes devising policies, managing incidents and guiding engagement with investigations and/or inquiries by local authority safeguarding boards, the Care Quality Commission, Ofsted, the Charity Commission and/or DfID.

  • I have given extensive advice in relation to the regulation of qualification awarding organisations generally and the imposition of Ofqual sanctions specifically.
  • I carry out Conduct of Equality Act claims.
  • I have given advice to the commissioners and providers of health and social care in relation to all aspects of regulation.
  • I advise, variously, on the establishment and/or re-formulation of public body’s functions and regulatory framework under new legislation, including strategy advice and proposal of statutory drafting.
  • I advise the National Audit Office and public sector auditors on all aspects of public law and audit law.
  • I have represented parties in the First Tier Tribunal in respect of challenges to various public bodies’ regulatory decisions, particularly in relation to Special Educational Needs and Discrimination.

Qualifications and career

  • Oxford University, MA Jurisprudence (Oxon), 2002
  • Legal Practice Course, 2003
  • Trained at Allen & Overy LLP (variously in London and Beijing offices)
  • Admitted as a solicitor in 2006
  • Associate in public law groups of Allen & Overy LLP and DAC Beachcroft LLP
  • Senior Associate at Bates Wells from 2016
  • Partner at Bates Wells from 2017

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Publication in numerous journals
  • Frequent speaker on matters of public law and regulation at conferences and at training events
  • Member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Associate Member of the Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Member of Charity Law Association