Trade & customs

Monckton Chambers has unrivalled specialist expertise in the areas of trade and customs. 

It draws upon its market leading expertise in EU law, EU relations law, post-Brexit UK law and WTO law to provide advocacy, advisory and litigation services to clients. 

Members have considerable experience of trade and customs litigation both in the UK courts, from the Tax Tribunal to the Supreme Court, and in international courts.   Members have appeared before the CJEU, the General Court and the EFTA Court.

Members of Chambers act both for operators and for the UK authorities, including HMRC,  the Department for Business and Trade and the Trade Remedies Authority.

Members are experienced in all matters arising under the post-Brexit UK regime for trade and customs, including advising on the application of:

  • The EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and the EU (Future Relationship) Act 2020
  • The Trade Act 2021
  • The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018
  • The Customs (Import Duty) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Customs (Special Procedures and Outward Processing) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Trade Remedies (Dumping and Subsidisation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
  • The Trade Remedies (Increase in Imports Causing Serious Injury to UK Producers) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
  • The Customs Tariff (Preferential Trade Arrangements) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020
  • The Windsor Framework (Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol)
  • Value Added Tax Act 1994

Specific areas of trade and customs expertise

  •   Transitional reviews
  •   Anti-dumping duty investigations
  •   Countervailing duty investigations
  •   Safeguard investigation
  •   Customs classification: UK Tariff, EU Combined Nomenclature, WCO and the Harmonised System
  •   Customs valuation
  •   Rules of origin
  •   Anti-circumvention
  •   Tariff quota allocation
  •   Subsidy regulation
  •   Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures
  •   Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) disputes
  •   Trade in services issues
  •   VAT on imports and exports
  •   Application of the Windsor Framework (Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol)

Recent trade and customs cases

Members of Monckton Chambers are leading litigators and advocates in disputes relating to trade and customs. Recent cases include:

  • FMX in the Supreme Court (customs duties, limitation periods for assessment)
  • Renesola in the Upper Tribunal and CJEU (anti-dumping duties/rules of origin)
  • Pfizer in the CJEU (customs classification)
  • Ocean Choice in the First-tier Tribunal (inward processing, guarantees for special procedures)
  • Ongoing litigation before the First-tier Tribunal on anti-dumping duties and steel
  • Advising on disputes with HMRC in relation to customs valuation and customs classification
  • Advising on remission and extinction of import duties under the Customs (Import Duty) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • Advising on compatibility of legislation or tax measures with the TCA, other free trade agreements, and WTO agreements

Access to overseas trade and customs courts

A number of members of Chambers are also members of the Bar of Ireland, with extensive experience of, and full rights of audience in, the General Court of the EU and the Court of Justice of the EU.

Group actions

Monckton Chambers is in the vanguard of collective proceedings and class action litigation. Its members’ unparalleled experience, across a range of different jurisdictions, makes them the stand-out choice for any party involved in group litigation.

Commercial & regulatory JR

Judicial review with a commercial or regulatory element is at the heart of Monckton’s Administrative and Public law specialism. The rare combination of commercial and public law expertise on offer at Monckton means our members have a leading reputation and act in the most complex and high-profile challenges.

Our members accept instructions to provide advice and representation across the range of regulated sectors. They are regularly instructed in judicial reviews relating to:

Our practitioners work on behalf of both claimants and defendants, acting for companies, regulators and affected third parties to ensure their clients’ rights and interests are protected. A large number of our members are appointed to the Attorney General’s ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘PIL’ Panel of Counsel, from which they represent clients including Secretaries of State and central government agencies in challenges to their decisions (click here to see panel members).

Members of this practice group are able to bring to their commercial and regulatory work their expertise in related areas of law including consumer law, competition, data protection, human rights, EU law and EU Relations law, public procurement, tax and duties.

State aid

Monckton Chambers is widely recognised as a pre-eminent set in the field of State aid law. We have experience of representing claimants and defendants in proceedings before domestic courts and tribunals in which an allegation of unlawful State aid has been made, as well as of acting for both complainants and respondents in EU State aid investigations, and in challenges to Commission decisions before the Community Courts.

Members are regularly instructed to advise potential aid recipients, their competitors, and government bodies on the lawfulness of proposed financial and other measures raising State aid concerns.

Our members’ expertise in procurement, local government, public and tax law makes them ideally placed to advise on State aid issues arising in the contexts of procurement, taxation and regulation. Other contexts in which our members are frequently instructed on State aid matters include media/broadcasting, regeneration schemes, infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships, rescue and restructuring aid, environmental measures, and financial services.

Members write regularly on State aid law in the European State Aid Law Quarterly and other legal journals, while Monckton practitioners are the authors of chapters on State aid in: Bellamy & Child, European Community Law of Competition; Korah, Competition Law of the European Community (LexisNexis); and Bacon, European Union law of State aid.

Members have also given oral and written evidence to various House of Lords and House of Commons Select Committees on State aid issues.

Please click for information on our wider competition law practice.

Fast track competition claims

Monckton Chambers has unrivalled expertise in the fast track procedure for competition claims before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Barristers from Monckton Chambers represented both parties in the only fast track claim to have proceeded to trial to date. You can read news items about the case here, and a case note discussing the judgment here.

The fast track is designed to offer a fast and cost-effective way for victims of competition law infringements to bring their claims to court. Specifically the fast track guarantees that:

  • The hearing will take place within six months; and
  • The costs are capped, so the exposure to paying the other side’s costs is limited.

The Tribunal decides which claims are suitable for fast track. A claim is more likely to be considered suitable if:

  • The claimant is a small business;
  • The claim is relatively simple; and or
  • The claim does not require extensive disclosure of documents, or a large number of witnesses.

A claimant might ask the Tribunal for an order that the anti-competitive behaviour must stop, or for compensation for losses it has suffered as a result of it.

Please call the clerks on 020 7405 7211 for a confidential discussion of your case.

Private damages claims

Monckton Chambers is acknowledged as a pre-eminent set in all areas of competition law.

We offer specialists at every level of seniority, to suit every type of competition law case. Our members are recognised leaders in their field, who consistently appear in the leading competition cases in both the European and domestic courts.

Members offer advice and representation in:

  • Private follow-on actions for damages in the High Court or Competition Appeal Tribunal;
  • Stand-alone actions in the High Court for damages and injunctions;
  • Intellectual property disputes raising competition law issues (including fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND));
  • Multi-party international actions (including those raising conflict of laws issues).

See individual barristers’ CVs for details of members’ recent and significant cases.

Merger control

Uniquely at the bar, Monckton Chambers offers a team of merger control experts, recognised as leaders in their field, with extensive experience in guiding transactions successfully through investigation and appeal.

Our barristers have advised on many of the most complex and difficult merger investigations and appeals in recent years, both at UK and EU level, advising merging parties as well as intervenors and regulators.

We offer advice on all stages of the review process, from initial planning to notification, advocacy before the regulator and, where necessary, an appeal. We can offer strategic input and support to an existing team, or put together a team to offer a full service solution.

Our publications include:

  • Lindsay & Berridge, “The EU Merger Regulation: Substantive Issues”, Sweet & Maxwell, 5th ed, 2017, described by a leading partner in a review as a “masterpiece”.
  • Dabbah & Lasok, “Merger Control Worldwide”, Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2012.
  • The merger control section of “Weinberg & Blank on Takeovers and Mergers”, Sweet & Maxwell, 5th ed, 2017.

Administrative proceedings and judicial review

Monckton Chambers is acknowledged as a pre-eminent set in all areas of competition law.

We offer specialists at every level of seniority, to suit every type of competition law case. Our members are recognised leaders in their field, who consistently appear in the leading competition cases in both domestic and European courts.

Members offer advice and representation at all stages of regulatory’ investigations and in subsequent appeals and reviews of decisions, including:

Administrative proceedings

  • Competition investigations by the Competition and Markets Authority, European Commission, and by the sectoral regulators (including the use of “dawn raids” and other investigatory powers, applications for leniency, written and oral representations, negotiating early resolution and the making of complaints).
  • Merger inquiries by the Competition and Markets Authority, European Commission and other merger authorities (including merger submissions, oral hearings and negotiation of remedies). Further information can be found on our Merger Control page.
  • Market investigations by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Judicial review

  • Applications for appeal or review to the Competition Appeal Tribunal against decisions of the Competition and Markets Authority or the sectoral regulators (including decisions relating to infringements, rejections of complaints, mergers, and market investigations).
  • Judicial review of regulatory decisions in the Administrative Court.
  • Appeals to the General Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union against decisions by the European Commission.

See individual barristers’ CVs for details of members’ recent and significant cases.


Monckton Chambers has considerable expertise in the field of sports law and has particular strength in the fields of overlap between sports law and all aspects of commercial EU law, most notably competition law, freedom of movement and cross-border trading.

This experience sees members making regular appearances in all manner of specialist sports courts and tribunals. We also have unparalleled experience in sports disputes before the European Court of Justice, the General Court, the European Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority, as well as litigating regularly in the High Court and above.

Monckton Chambers serves a broad range of clients within the sports sector from national sports governing bodies, individual participants, clubs, agents and broadcasters.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Agency
  • Breakaway leagues;
  • Broadcasting and licensing;
  • Contract
  • Corporate governance;
  • Corporate hospitality;
  • Data rights
  • Disciplinary procedures and hearings;
  • Discrimination between participants;
  • Dominance of governing bodies;
  • Doping and sanctions;
  • Funding;
  • Ground and TV advertising;
  • ‘Home Grown’ player requirements;
  • Image rights
  • Kit and equipment rules;
  • Kit supply and markings;
  • New competition entrants;
  • Passing off
  • Regulatory oversight;
  • Sponsorship;
  • State aid;
  • Ticketing; and
  • Transfers.

See individual barristers’ CVs for details of members’ recent and significant cases.

Members of Monckton Chambers belong to the British Association of Sport and the Law (BASL), of which one member is currently Deputy Chairman.

Public procurement

Members of Monckton Chambers provide suppliers, contracting authorities and utilities with a full range of services, from non-contentious advice during the tender process to representation in highly complex litigation and, where appropriate, mediation.

Monckton Chambers has 34 practitioners specialising in procurement law, dealing with hundreds of sets of procurement instructions each year. We believe our range of procurement experience and expertise surpasses that of any other chambers.

Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Aspects requiring detailed knowledge of EC law
  • Commercial disputes arising from performance of government contracts such as benchmarking, market testing and performance issues
  • Concessions and part B contracts
  • Health service procurement
  • Procurement by EU institutions and outside the EU
  • Project finance and PFI/PPP matters
  • Regeneration schemes
  • Social housing
  • State aid and procurement
  • Utilities procurement

Members of Monckton Chambers have appeared in procurement matters in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and in the European Court of Justice, as well as the courts of Northern Ireland. Members have also been involved in procurement matters in Scotland, where members experienced in public procurement have also been called to the Scottish Bar, and in procurement cases concerning countries outside the EU.

Professional Organisations

Members of Chambers are actively involved with the Procurement Law Association, the ICC Public Procurement Task Force, and are included in the editorial board of the Public Procurement Law Review. Members contribute articles to journals and speak frequently at conferences, including in the US and Europe. Monckton Chambers is also an active partner with Whitepaper Conferences in the production of their annual procurement conference in London, and associated Brussels conferences.