Ewan West

Ewan West
Call 2006

MA DPhil (Oxon) MBA (Cranfield) LLB (London)

Contact the Clerks

+44 (0)20 7405 7211 | chambers@monckton.com

Ewan has a wide-ranging and well-established practice spanning all of Chambers’ main areas of activity, including public procurement, competition, VAT and excise law, regulatory law (especially telecommunication and utilities), information rights and public law generally. He also practises in general commercial law and sports law.

He has appeared in the Court of Appeal, High Court, Competition Appeal Tribunal, the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber), First Tier-Tribunal (Information Rights) and before a large number of regulatory bodies including the Football Association Appeal Board, the Football Disciplinary Commission of the Football League, the Disciplinary Committee of the Six Nations Internationals and the Disciplinary Committee of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.

Before coming to the Bar, Ewan was a Senior Civil Servant in the Department for Transport and its predecessors. In his 12 years there he was involved with a number of high profile projects, including railway privatisation, the London Underground PPP and Crossrail, developing a particular expertise in dealing with matters at the interface of the public and private sector, including regulatory compliance and state aid. As well having dealt with both the development of Government policy and its implementation through both primary and secondary legislation, Ewan has extensive hands-on experience of running public procurements and the Freedom of Information Act.

He is a member of the Attorney General’s panel of counsel (B Panel).

Ewan speaks German and has a good reading knowledge of several European languages including French and Italian.


Ewan has a broad-based competition practice advising on matters such as restrictive agreements, distribution and supply arrangements, refusal to supply and potential Article 82/Chapter II infringements. His former Government experience (including dealings with the European Commission) is particularly valued in relation to state aid matters. As the holder of an MBA, he has an informed understanding of corporate finance, accountancy and economic issues.

Recent and ongoing work includes preparation of an Article 82 complaint to the European Commission; assisting the Competition Commission in relation to a telecommunications price control determination; and advising on the application of competition law to a number of land agreements.

Recent cases include:

  • Humber Oil Terminals Trustee v Associated British Ports [2011] EWCH 352(Ch); [2012] EWCA Civ 36- strike out of competition claim in Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 proceedings
  • Tesco Plc v Competition Commission [2009] CAT 6 – junior counsel for Competition Commission in Tesco’s appeal to CAT challenging proposed “competition test” remedy following Groceries Market Inquiry
  • Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc v Competition Commission (Interim Relief) [2009] CAT 33 – acted unled in defeating an application for interim relief relating to a divestiture remedy imposed by the Competition Commission
  • BAA Limited v Competition Commission [2009] CAT 35 – junior counsel for Competition Commission in BAA’s appeal to CAT following market inquiry into supply of airport services by BAA
  • Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Services & Others v Amalgamated Racing Ltd & Others [2008] EWHC 1978 (Ch) – junior counsel for Amalgamated Racing Ltd in challenge under Article 81/Chapter I to lawfulness of licensing arrangements for a new televised picture/data service to bookmakers
  • Liquid Petroleum Gas Market Inquiry – assisting the Competition Commission in implementation of proposed remedies following its market investigation
  • Tesco/Co-op Store Acquisition in Slough – assisting the Competition Commission in implementation of proposed remedies
  • Groceries Market Inquiry – seconded to Competition Commission to assist with preparation of Provisional Findings and Final Report, as well as implementation of remedies, including in relation to controlled land
Public Procurement

Given his prior experience before coming to the Bar, Ewan has a natural affinity with procurement law, especially where it relates to the commissioning of major projects, and has a very active and wide-ranging procurement practice. His practical experience of managing large procurements is particularly valuable when it is necessary to consider ways to protect procurements, whether future or in progress, against the risk of successful legal challenge or alternatively to identify vulnerabilities and flaws. By their nature, many of the cases with which Ewan is involved settle or are discontinued before reaching trial. In that regard, he particularly enjoys working as part of a team with solicitors and lay client (whether on the claimant or defendant side) in constructing practical and commercial solutions that avoid the cost and risk of litigation. His private sector clients have been drawn from a wide variety of sectors, including construction, pharmaceuticals, waste, property development, medical services and facilities management, while his public sector clients range from large central Government departments down to the smallest local authorities and NHS bodies.

In addition to advising on the initial procurement process, Ewan is increasingly instructed to advise on the operation of public contracts, particularly where potential variations are concerned and the need to achieve a commercial solution has to be balanced against the procurement law risk. A growing part of this work involves representation at adjudications and mediations.

As well as a wide-ranging advisory practice, Ewan has appeared in several of the most high profile procurement cases in recent years.

Recent cases include:

  • Darlington College v Secretary of State for Defence – application to lift suspensory effect
  • Alstom Transport v Eurostar International Limited [2012] EWHC 28 (Ch) preliminary issue as to status of Eurostar under Utilities Contracts Regulations
  • Alstom Transport v Eurostar International Limited [2011] EWHC 1828 (Ch) – first case to consider application for a declaration of ineffectiveness
  • Alstom Transport v Eurostar International Limited [2010] EWHC 2747 (Ch) – junior counsel for successful defence of an interim injunction application relating to one of the highest value public procurements to be litigated in the United Kingdom (damages action ongoing)
  • Community Care North East (a partnership) v Durham County Council [2010] EWHC 959 (QB) (implications of termination of a procurement)
  • Croft House Care and others v Durham County Council [2010] EWHC 909 (TCC) (treatment of confidential information for purposes of a procurement challenge)
  • Lion Apparel Systems Ltd v Firebuy Ltd – junior counsel for Firebuy (damages action in the Chancery Division for breach of procurement Regulations).
VAT and Excise

Ewan has experience of a wide range of VAT matters, including single/multiple supply, place of supply, exempt and zero-rated supply and MTIC fraud. He also has a growing practice in excise law.

He has been instructed by both the taxpayer and HMRC in proceedings before the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal. Recent advisory work has included consideration of the partial exemptions regime, single/multiple supply, the VAT treatment of property transactions and various matters relating to zero-rating and exemption.

Recent cases include:

  • Logistical Transportation Limited v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2013] UKFTT 167 (TC) – excise duty suspension
  • The Battle Club v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2013] UKFTT 302 (TC) – amusement machine licence duty appeal
  • Sub One t/a Subway v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2012] UKUT 34 (TCC) – VAT on hot takeaway food
  • Davies t/a Special Occasions/2XL Limos v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2012] UKUT 130 (TCC) – zero rated transport supplies
  • Dransfield Novelty Company Limited v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2011] UKFTT 348 (TCC) – amusement machine licence duty appeal
  • Oasis (UK) Limited v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)) (junior counsel for HMRC; categorisation of machine under s.23 VATA 1994 and exemption for lotteries in Group 4 Schedule 9 VATA 1994)
  • ERF Limited v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2010] EKFTT 231 (TC); [2012] UKUT 105 (TCC) – appeal against assessments to VAT and penalties
  • RM Education v HMRC [2009] UKVAT V20911 (junior counsel for HMRC: exemption under Schedule 6 of the VAT Act)
Public & Administrative Law

Ewan advises across the field of public and administrative law. His former experience as a Senior Civil Servant is particularly valuable in this regard given his intimate acquaintance with the process of public sector decision-making and the practical constraints that bear upon public authorities.

As a civil servant, Ewan was also intimately involved in the development of legislation, working at all stages of the process from broad policy initiatives (formulated at Ministerial level) through to the enactment of specific measures, whether by means of primary or secondary legislation. He has experience of preparing briefing for and attending Parliamentary debates on legislation. In his career at the Bar he has also been involved in drafting secondary legislation.

Ewan has experience of drafting written observations and speeches before the European Court of Justice on a variety of issues, including sex discrimination and VAT. As a civil servant, he regularly attended working group meetings and Council of Ministers meetings in Brussels and has a detailed understanding of the development of Community legislation.

His current work includes regular appearances in relation to immigration appeals and representing the Secretary of State for Health.

Current/Recent Cases:

  • R (on the application of Neath Port Talbot) v Secretary of State for Health – judicial review of determination on ordinary residence under National Assistance Act 1948
  • R (on the application of De Whalley) v Norfolk County Council [2011] EWHC 3739 (Admin) – acted for interested party (successful tenderer) in judicial review of decision to construct new waste facility
  • Department of Work and Pensions v Information Commissioner (Case No. EA/2010/0073) – a leading case on the application of the “commercial information” exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • R (on the application of Welsh Water Limited) v Water Services Regulation Authority [2009] EWHC 3493 (Admin) (junior counsel for challenge to Ofwat’s policy on “inset” appointments)
Information Rights

Even before the Freedom of Information came into effect, Ewan was involved as a civil servant with practical preparations for implementation of the new regime. Since coming to the Bar he has built on his practical experience of handling FOIA requests to develop a substantial advisory and advocacy practice in this area. He also deals with the disclosure regimes provided by the Data Protection Act 1998 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

He is particularly interested in the interaction of FOIA with other disclosure regimes, in particular the requirements arising in relation to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and much of his procurement practice contains consideration of disclosure issues, whether acting for a claimant or a defendant. He has advised and acted for the Information Commissioner, Government departments and other public and private bodies. As well as FOIA, Ewan has experience of the Data Protection Act

Recent cases include:

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs v Information Commissioner (Case No. EA/2012/0105) – appeal concerning handling of request under Environmental Information Regulations relating to consultation on revision to the English Scallop Order
  • Department of Work and Pensions v Information Commissioner (Case No. EA/2010/0073) – a leading case on the application of the “commercial information” exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • R (on the application of Welsh Water Limited) v Water Services Regulation Authority [2009] EWHC 3493 (Admin) (junior counsel for challenge to Ofwat’s policy on “inset” appointments)
  • Alan Fisher v Information Commissioner (Case No. EA/2010/0044)
  • Chief Constable of Surrey Police v Information Commissioner (Case No. EA/2009/0081)
  • Ceri Gibbons v Information Commissioner (Case No. EA/2009/002)
What the Directories Say

Government Contracts: regularly acts for tenderers and local authorities on the full range of procurement matters. Sources remark that “he has built a first rate junior practice in procurement law.”WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR 2016

Public Procurement: “Dedicated and immensely thorough, he has a natural flair for procurement law and an unbending commitment to delivering the top-quality service our clients expect.”Chambers UK, 2016

”Not afraid to get to grips with the technical detail.” Leading junior in Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2015

Public Procurement: “Ewan is clever, articulate and committed to finding answers to difficult questions.” “He’s responsive, practical and firm in his dealings.”Chambers UK, 2015

‘Great insight into how authorities think and work.’ Ewan is recommended as a leading Junior under Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2014

Public Procurement: Clients benefit from his familiarity with central government proceedings. He handles a broad range of procurement instructions and is qualified to undertake direct access work. “He’s very well organised, and has good judgement and a good knowledge of the subject.” Chambers UK, 2014

Ewan West is ‘extremely approachable and knowledgeable’.” He is recommended as a leading Junior under Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2013

Public Procurement: “Nothing is too much trouble for” Ewan West, say those that instruct him. This former civil servant has “an invaluable understanding of the workings of central government.” Sources find him to be a man who “provides practical and creative solutions.” Chambers UK, 2013

Ewan West has a wide-ranging procurement practice. Formerly a Senior Civil Servant in the Department for Transport, he understands the workings of the public sector better than most. This additional perspective proved invaluable when he successfully represented Eurostar after Alstom sought an interim injunction preventing it from entering a contract to purchase trains from Siemens. Interviewees note that he is “personable and intelligent; he gets the bigger picture as well as the finer details, and goes beyond the extra mile to get the job done.”Chambers UK, 2012

Education and Prizes
  • 1981: Bachelor of Arts ~ Oxford University (First Class)
  • 1985: Master of Arts ~ Oxford University
  • 1992: Doctor of Philosophy ~ Oxford University
  • 1998: Master of Business Administration ~ Cranfield University
  • 2004: Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction)
  • 2005: Bachelor of Laws – London University (First Class)
  • 2006: Bar Vocational Course (all legal studies part-time)

Contributor to Value Added Tax:  Commentary and Analysis (London:  Sweet & Maxwell, 2009)


Add to portfolio View portfolio