Understanding intestinal absorption for pharmaceutical compounds is vital to estimate the bioavailability and therefore the in vivo potential of a drug. This study considers the application of micellar liquid chromatography (MLC) to predict passive intestinal absorption with a selection of model compounds. MLC is already known to aid prediction of absorption using simple surfactant systems; however, with this study the focus was on the presence of a more complex, bile salt surfactant, as would be encountered in the in vivo environment. As a result, MLC using a specific bile salt has been confirmed as an ideal in vitro system to predict the intestinal permeability for a wide range of drugs, through the development of a quantitative partition–absorption relationship. MLC offers many benefits including environmental, economic, time-saving and ethical advantages compared with the traditional techniques employed to obtain passive intestinal absorption values.