Public international law, WTO & investment treaties

Public international law

This is a fast growing area of practice within Monckton Chambers.

Members’ practice focus on the issues arising out of Brexit as well as human rights, EU and public law cases. International economic law, consisting of WTO law, sanctions issues, and bilateral investment treaty arbitrations is also a core part of Monckton’s public international law practice. Members of Chambers have also served as members of ICSID tribunals, WTO dispute resolution panels and the WTO’s Appellate Body.

WTO law

Effective WTO advocacy requires, in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of WTO law, an understanding of the multilateral institutional context in which WTO dispute settlement occurs, the ability to devise effective strategies within a system that does not allow for monetary or retrospective remedies, and the capacity to present arguments in a manner which WTO adjudicators (who are drawn from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and legal cultures) will find convincing.

Our members can offer this combination of expertise.

Members of Chambers have acted in numerous WTO disputes for a broad range of government and corporate clients. We often work directly with inter-agency teams created by our government clients as well as with representatives of industry.

We can advise on and act in every type of WTO case, including those involving:

  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) commitments;
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues and Technical Barriers to the Trade (TBT) issues;
  • Subsidies; and
  • Trade remedies (anti-dumping, countervailing duties and safeguards).

Investment protection treaties

We regularly advise on and act in disputes arising under bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and multilateral investment treaties (such as the Energy Charter Treaty and NAFTA).

We offer a combination of:

  • high-quality advocacy;
  • assured handling of the procedural and evidentiary issues which arise in ICSID and ad-hoc arbitrations; and
  • a strong understanding of public international law standards relating to the treatment of foreign investment.

We are also able to draw on our expertise in related areas such as EU law, international human rights law and (domestic) public law relating to economic regulation to develop sophisticated arguments and case strategies for our clients.

Professional negligence

Monckton Chambers specialises in disputes arising over loss suffered as a result of negligent advice given by professionals. There is particular expertise in claims arising from failed investment schemes, particularly those which have a tax and financial services dimension, and members have been instructed in several such claims against IFAs and solicitors.


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


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 KCs 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.

Many members of Chambers are qualified in EU Member States, meaning that they retain rights of audience at the ECJ and privilege to advise on matters of EU law even after Brexit.

UK-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.

Members of Monckton Chambers have 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, UK-EU Relations Law, inluding in relation to:

  • The UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement (and associated agreements)
  • The Windsor Framework
  • The UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (and associated agreements).

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

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 controls 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

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

Consumer law, product liability & business regulation

Members of Monckton Chambers have considerable experience of advising businesses on regulatory compliance issues under both EU-Retained law and GB law post Brexit. They also assist with regulatory investigations in the UK and within the EU and advise on strategic options dealing with corrective measures, recalls and undertakings in lieu of enforcement.

With their unparalleled EUand regulatory expertise, they offer an all-encompassing perspective to 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 enhanced consumer redress measures.

Members regularly advise and act for regulators and surveillance authorities (including the CMA, FCA, CAA, Ofcom, OFGEM, OPSS, DVSA, MHRA and the Department for Business and Trade). They also act for manufacturers, importers and distributors as well as regulated entities such as banks, insurance companies, airlines, professional, retail and trade bodies, consumer representative bodies (such as Which?) and private individuals and companies on a wide range of consumer law cases.

Key issues include:

  • CRA 2015 Satisfactory quality, fitness for purpose and description
  • Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts (UTCCRs/CRA 2015)
  • Compensation for Unfair and Misleading Commercial Practices – Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPUT)
  • E-commerce, distance-selling, distance marketing and door-stop selling
  • Reference Pricing and BEIS Pricing Policy Compliance
  • Right of repair, refund or discounts
  • Warranties and Guarantees
  • Product recalls and corrective measures
  • Commercial agency
  • Regulatory investigations, enforcement and commitments under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act
  • Misleading and Comparative advertising (B2C and B2B)
  • ASA Advertising Regulations
  • Consumer data protection issues
  • Regulation of Claims management services under Compensation Act 2006
  • Electronic Commerce and online platform regulation
  • 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 motor vehicles, machinery, airlines, rail transport, travel, package holidays, timeshares, financial products, energy, online platforms, digital content and services, supermarkets, clothing, mobile phones, pharmacies, medicines, human tissue regulations 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.

On the litigation front, there is an increased focus on consumer-facing claims, being brought either before the High Court as part of a Group Litigation Order (“GLO”) or a representative action under CPR Part 19.6 or as part of a collective opt-out or opt-in competition class action before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Members are representing claimants and defendants in the Dieselgate litigation, Gutmann Trains CPO (Boundary Rail Fares), Boyle CPO (Differentiated Rail Fares), Gutmann v Apple CPO (Lack of transparency regarding battery issues and slow-down of smartphones) and Gormsen v Meta CPO (Lack of transparency and fairness re use of data).

Members also appear in judicial review and magistrate court proceedings challenging enforcement measures adopted by OPSS or Local Trading Standards.

Community care and local government

Members of Monckton Chambers have acted in many of the leading social care and local government cases of the past decade. The team has very significant experience of cases in the higher courts, including the Supreme Court.

Barristers at Monckton advise and represent individual claimants, charities and NGOs, private companies in the social care sector and public authorities.

The team’s expertise includes:

  • The Care Act 2004, including challenges relating to Needs Assessments
  • The Children Act 1989, including challenges relating to s.17 Child In Need Assessments
  • Age disputes between local authorities and unaccompanied asylum seekers
  • Housing, including challenges relating to social housing allocation schemes
  • Education law disputes, including challenges relating to EHCPs or the right to education
  • Asylum support

Counsel teams from Monckton are regularly instructed in major challenges to local authority policies. Our barristers, particularly junior members of the team, frequently act as sole counsel in challenges to decisions relating to provision for individual adults or children.

Civil liberties & human rights

Monckton Chambers has been at the heart of an enormous growth, in the last decades, in human rights litigation, both in our domestic courts and in the European courts before the General Court of the European Communities, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Human Rights and before international tribunals.

As well as protecting the rights of individuals, human rights law plays an increasingly important role within Chambers’ core areas of commercial and regulatory litigation and Chambers has particular expertise in the protection of commercial interests through international human rights proceedings.

There has been a significant increase in domestic human rights cases, particularly in police law, abuse of authority cases, social and health care, disability discrimination, mental health and information law. There is also an increase in cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights.

A particular strength of Monckton Chambers is the overlap between commercial and regulatory litigation and that of human rights, as well as the protection of commercial interests through international human rights proceedings. More generally, the human rights expertise of Monckton Chambers forms an essential part of its public law practice, covering such wide-ranging areas as fair trial rights, privacy and data protection, freedom of information and freedom of expression, asylum and immigration, the right to property, and equality and non-discrimination.

Monckton Chambers can also a significant number of members with previous careers in the forefront of Human Rights and Civil Liberties: Eric Metcalf was the Director of Human Rights Policy at JUSTICE; Nikolaus Grubeck worked for the United Nations in Afghanistan and Sudan; Gerry Facenna was also at JUSTICE, and he was a founding member on the Executive Committee of the Human Rights Lawyers Association.

Aviation, road & rail

Monckton Chambers is at the forefront of the law, as evolved, relating to the Aviation sector and its related industries.

In late 2012 the Civil Aviation Authority held an open competition for the role of its standing counsel. This role created for the first time in light of the CAA’s new sectoral powers to enforce competition law jointly with the Office of Fair Trading. Anneli Howard of Monckton Chambers was successful in being appointed to this role. Subsequently, in 2018, Fiona Banks appointed standing counsel for procurement at the CAA.

Members continue to advise in relation to the Civil Aviation Act which came into force in 2014. Members have also been retained for litigation relating to market power assessments and licensing arrangements for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. In addition to the airports Monckton has a strong client base consisting further of airlines, regulators, central government concerned with aviation emissions and environmental groups. Significant cases include the ongoing Air Cargo cartel damages claims which has involved a number of Monckton barristers representing the plethora of airlines involved