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.

Consumer law & business regulation

Members of Monckton Chambers have considerable experience of advising on and litigating business and consumer law issues, particularly in regulated industries. With their unparalleled EU, competition and regulatory expertise, they offer an all-encompassing perspective to regulatory consumer protection issues. They can assist in regulatory investigations and disputes, whether in preparing responses to information requests, provisional views statements or in formulating commitments or consensual undertakings to modify business practices. If consensual solution if not possible, they can put forward a robust defence to administrative enforcement action, appeals, injunction applications or other consumer redress measures. They regularly advise and act for regulators (including the CMA, FCA, CAA, Ofcom and OFGEM), banks, insurance companies, airlines, professional, retail and trade bodies, consumer representative bodies and private individuals on a wide range of consumer law cases. Key issues include:

  • Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts (UTCCRs)
  • Unfair and Misleading Commercial Practices – Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations
  • Distance-selling, distance marketing and door-stop selling
  • Reference Pricing and BIS Pricing Policy Compliance
  • Commercial agency
  • Regulatory investigations, enforcement and commitments under CPRs and Part 8 of the Enterprise Act
  • Advertising Regulations
  • Consumer data protection issues
  • Regulation of Claims management services under the Compensation Act 2006
  • Electronic Commerce
  • Consumer Credit Licensing, Revocation and Fitness
  • Fair and Responsible Lending
  • Unfair trading with vulnerable consumers
  • Alleged mis-selling of financial and energy products
  • Jurisdiction disputes in relation to complaints pursued before the Financial Ombudsman
  • Delayed boarding compensation

Some members have an intimate knowledge of particular retail sectors as a result of having advised clients operating in those markets over several years. Examples include supermarkets, financial products, clothing, mobile phones, pharmacies and opticians. Retailers may be subject to investigations by the CMA and/or Local Trading Standards and members offer pragmatic solutions to resolve such enquiries amicably or, where necessary, defend the companies’ position before the courts.

Data protection & information

Monckton Chambers is at the forefront of data protection and information law. Members’ expertise across the range of Chambers’ practice areas means that they equally experienced in dealing with the public and regulatory dimensions of matters before the Information Commissioner and in judicial review, and in dealing with the nuanced commercial dimensions, and technical complexities, of private disputes. Members are ideally placed to deal with competition and data; data in the financial services industry; calculation of penalties for breach of data protection law; and requests for complex and commercially sensitive information. They are regularly involved in landmark cases, including recently Case C-623/18 Privacy International; Big Brother Watch and others v UK (application nos. 58170/13, 62322/14 and 24960/15); Elgizouli v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 10 and Information Commissioner v Poplar Housing and Regeneration Association (GIA/1078/2019).

Our members are regularly instructed by the Information Commissioner, government departments, commercial organisations, NGOs and private individuals, and frequently appear in the Information Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal, the High Court, Court of Appeal and the European Courts on all aspects of information law, and privacy and data protection litigation.

Our members’ expertise encompasses:

  • The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Environmental Information Regulations 2004
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003
  • Investigatory Powers Act 2016
  • Confidentiality and privacy at common law
  • Article 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • EU rules on access to information held by European Institutions
  • Aarhus Convention rights

Education

Members of Monckton Chambers’ Education Law Group advise and represent clients in a wide range of education-related cases. Our clients include:

  • Children, parents and adult learners
  • Maintained and independent schools
  • Universities and other FE and HE Institutions
  • Local authorities
  • Ofsted and other education regulators
  • The Department for Education

Members act in public law disputes, including judicial review challenges, appeals concerning children’s special educational needs, claims of disability discrimination and admissions and exclusions appeals.

Spearheading the Education Law Group is Ian Wise QC, recognised as a leading silk in Education Law for a number of years, who combines his expertise in this area with his considerable experience in children’s law generally. Education clients can also draw on members’ expertise across Monckton Chambers’ core strengths in public law (including judicial review, human rights and local government), discrimination law, competition law, contract law and EU relations law. Clients can also benefit from the experience which many members of the Group have gained through acting regularly for both Claimants and Defendants.

A particular area of expertise in chambers is Article 2 Protocol 1 cases, including actions for damages for failure to provide children with education, members having acted successfully in a number of such cases in the Court of Appeal and the High Court.

Other areas of education law expertise include:

  • Covid-19 related legislative and policy changes
  • Judicial reviews concerning special educational needs
  • Appeals against EHC Plans in the First Tier Tribunal
  • Disability discrimination in education
  • School exclusions
  • Failure to educate (Education Act 1996 s 19)
  • Challenges to regulatory decisions including Ofsted reports
  • Contractual disputes involving education eg. provision of education

There are several ways to instruct members of the Group. Many of our education law JRs are brought using legal aid. A number of members are direct access qualified, meaning they are available to be instructed by members of the public without instructing a solicitor, which can be more cost effective. Those members can also advise on whether a client’s legal issue means they would in fact benefit from instructing a solicitor.

Many members of the Group are instructed by DfE, Ofsted and other education regulators via being on the Attorney General’s Panels of Counsel.

Monckton Chambers runs an Education Law blog which covers important developments across the field of education law. Find out more and subscribe for free updates.

Energy & utilities regulation

Members of Monckton Chambers’ act both for regulators and for the regulated in the energy & utilities industries as well as representing environmental organisations and concerned individuals. The regulated sectors of which members have experience include airports, electricity, gas, postal services, rail, telecommunications and water. Whether it is price spikes in the electricity market or consultation on new nuclear power, the development of renewables or modifying the gas network, we have been called upon to advise and act in a wide range of cases for a variety of clients.

Our expertise in EU law gives us a particular awareness of the impact and importance of EU provisions. Our public & administrative law knowledge ensures we can identify where the pitfalls lie in decision-making processes. These combined with our competition expertise and experience in the sector mean we are in a very strong position to provide advice and representation.

Members regularly act for regulated companies, the sector-specific regulators (CAA, Coal Authority, Ofcom, Ofgem, Ofwat, ORR and Postcomm) and other industry participants at administrative hearings as well as appearing in the Administrative Court, Competition Appeal Tribunal, Competition Commission, the Court of Appeal, House of Lords and European Court of Justice in cases concerning utility regulation.

Specific areas of expertise include:

  •  Administrative penalties for breaches of licence conditions and failure to meet performance standards
  • EU Regulations and Directives
  • Gas and Electricity Acts
  • Water Industry Act
  • Railways Act
  • Transport Act
  • Airports Act
  • Postal Services Act
  • Pricing regulation
  • Licence and industry code modification issues
  • Universal service obligations
  • Network access issues
  • Water supply licensing
  • Water Resale Order
  • Water mergers

Environment

Monckton Chambers has many specialists in environmental law, who regularly advise and appear before domestic courts and the Community Courts on environmental law issues.  The team is able to build upon our outstanding expertise in EU law to advise clients on the domestic impact of EU environmental legislation.

Members act for private clients and campaign groups, and also regularly act for the Environment Agency, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and local authorities.

Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Access to environmental information
  • Agriculture and fisheries
  • Contaminated land
  • The Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • Energy conservation
  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Environmental permits
  • Environmental protection
  • Greenhouse gas emissions trading
  • Habitats and Wild Birds Directive
  • The Kyoto Protocol
  • Integrated pollution prevention and control
  • Pesticides regulation
  • Planning
  • State aid for environmental protection
  • Waste management and landfill
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

Members of Monckton Chambers have appeared in the Administrative Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European courts in a range of environmental law cases.  Several members also regularly appear in the Information Tribunal in cases involving environmental information.

EU

Monckton Chambers is recognised as a pre-eminent set in all areas of EU Law.  Members regularly advise and litigate on behalf of private sector clients, the UK and government departments, local authorities, NGOs, the EU institutions and non-UK clients including other Member States, and have acted in many of the leading EU law cases.

We can offer specialists at every level of seniority, from leading QCs with decades of experience to junior tenants, several of whom have worked within the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and other EU institutions.  We are able to provide teams of barristers to suit every type of EU law case.

EU Relations Law

On 31 January 2020, the UK left the EU. No longer an EU Member State, the UK’s relationship with the EU has altered fundamentally. Monckton Chambers specialises in all aspects of the new arrangements between the EU and UK post Brexit.

EU Relations Law is the developing area of law concerning all aspects of the new relationship between the EU and the UK post Brexit. This includes the potential for private parties to assert rights and/or bring claims based on legal agreements concluded between the UK and EU. It also includes the potential for legal disputes between the EU and UK. The implementation and transposition of the new arrangements gives rise to potential disputes between citizens and the respective executives.

The new relationship is governed by new legal instruments, both international and domestic.

As a matter of international law, the originating source of those laws and rights is (at least for now) the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, which entered into force on the 1 February 2020. That Agreement comprises two aspects: the Withdrawal Agreement itself (including the Protocol on Northern Ireland) and a political declaration. It is that political declaration which, in time, is to develop into another – more comprehensive – agreement between the EU and the UK. That is likely to be the originating source of a considerable body of law, for a considerable time.

As a matter of domestic law, the rights and obligations arising under the Withdrawal Agreement have been implemented within the UK (a dualist state) under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

Recognised as pre-eminent specialists in EU law and public and administrative law, members of Monckton Chambers are well placed to advise in all of these areas. We can offer specialists at every level of seniority, from leading QCs with decades of experience to junior tenants, several of whom have worked within EU and UK institutions.

Members of Monckton Chambers have also been involved in advice and litigation concerning all aspects of Brexit leading up to the new relationship between the UK and the EU. For example, members were instructed in the Miller and Wightman cases concerning Article 50 TEU and have advised a multitude of private and public bodies concerning all aspects of the Brexit process. Members are now actively engaged in advising a range of private and public bodies on all aspects of the new UK-EU relationship, EU Relations Law.

Members of Monckton Chambers have launched a website and blog covering all matters related to EU Relations Law, which can be viewed at www.eurelationslaw.com.

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.

Immigration

Monckton Chambers is at the forefront of the fast development in the law of freedom of movement and immigration. We advise and act in cases regarding all aspects of freedom of movement, including cases relating to EU citizens and their family members, as well as Association Agreements between the EU and non-Member States. Of particular significance to members’ practices are cases involving the rights of workers and the self-employed.

Members consistently appear in the leading EU freedom of movement cases in both domestic courts and in the Community Courts.

Allied to our strength in EU freedom of movement cases, we have extensive expertise in asylum and humanitarian protection law as it develops within the framework of the Qualification, Reception and Procedure Directives.

Members of Monckton Chambers appear in leading cases in the field from tribunal-level appeals to references to the European Court of Justice.

We also have wide experience in domestic immigration cases at all levels, but particularly on applications for judicial review and statutory appeals to the Court of Appeal and The Supreme Court.

Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Freedom of movement and residence for EU citizens and family members
  • Freedom of movement rights under EU Association Agreements
  • Immigration Acts
  • Posted workers
  • Refugee law and the Qualification Directive