Christopher Vajda KC

Call: 1979 | 2020 Luxembourg | Silk: 1997

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    MA (Cambridge), EC law – Université Libre Bruxelles

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    Christopher Vajda KC was the UK judge at the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) between 2012 and 2020 (when Brexit occurred).

    He has been appointed to the Panel of Recognised International Market Experts in Finance (P.R.I.M.E),  the Sports Resolutions panel, and to the panel of persons suitable for appointment as Chairpersons for Arbitrations to which the EU is a party. He has sat as an arbitrator in ICC, sports, and ad hoc arbitrations as well as giving expert evidence in arbitrations before, amongst others, ICSID tribunals and the SCC. His most recent published award is The FA Rule K arbitration award on the challenge by football agencies to the fee cap rule introduced by FIFA  on football  agents’ fees.

    While a judge at the CJEU he sat on a wide range of cases including in the field of aviation, banking, competition, energy, investor state treaties, sanctions, state aid, and tax. In a speech marking his departure from the CJEU the President of the Court said: “He is an extremely able judge with a keen eye for detail and he has been a highly-valued member of this court for more than seven years. His analysis of complex legal problems is invariably to the point and his outstanding ability to distinguish between matters that are relevant to the specific legal issue that falls to be decided – and those that are not – has been invaluable, given the heavy and increasing workload that we face.” He was subsequently appointed by the President of the CJEU to chair a Conciliation Commission to resolve a dispute within an EU Institution.

    Prior to becoming a judge, he had a wide-ranging practice at the English Bar. He acted on numerous occasions for the UK Government, and public bodies such as the Bank of England, the BBC as well as various sectorial regulators. He also acted for companies and other bodies in fields such as aviation, banking, energy, IT, sport (in particular cricket, football, and horse racing) tax, telecommunications, and transport. He appeared frequently before the CJEU, and all English courts, including the UK Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. He also appeared before arbitration panels and was appointed to chair an arbitration panel in the Gulf region in a telecommunications dispute.

    He is a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges (where he gives a course on arbitration and EU law) as well as at King’s College, London, and at the University of Luxembourg where he teaches EU private international law. He is also a member of the LCIA. He has written and spoken extensively, particularly in the area of competition and state aid (he was a contributor to Bellamy & Child, European Union Law of Competition for over 20 years), and on investment arbitration treaties. In 2023 he was invited to give the keynote address to the London Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators which was published in the International Journal of Arbitration, Mediation and Dispute Management Vol. 89.3 p. 725 –  “What makes a good arbitrator?” He is fluent in French (the working language of the CJEU) and speaks German.

    • News
    • Events
    • Books, recent publications and lectures

      He is a contributor to International Commercial Courts: The Future of Transnational Adjudication edited by Stavros Brekoulakis and Georgios Dimitropoulos (CUP, 2022), to Liber Amicorum Jiri Malenovsky (2020), The applicability of Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to international agreements to which the EU is a contracting party, and to Bellamy & Child, European Union Law of Competition (3rd to 6th editions between 1983 and 2008).

      Recent published articles include: The role of judges in the development of Competition Law, China Antitrust Law Journal (2019); Greening the law: The Reception of Environmental Law and its Enforcement in International law and European Union Law, co-author with Michael Rhimes, The Columbia Journal of European Law (2018); The EU and Beyond: Dispute Resolution in International Economic Agreements, The European Journal of International Law (2018); Law as a Tool to build cross-Border Markets: the experience of the Court of Justice of the EU in opening up Government contracts, Public Contract Law Journal (2018); and The Common law and the CJEU, Journal of the Common Law Society Prague (2018).

      Recent lectures include: The impact of Achmea: 3 years later (New York State Bar Association (2021); The keynote address to the Bar European Group (2021); Current issues facing the European Court and its users (Burrell Lecture, London, 2019); The Rule of Law within the EU and national legal orders (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, 2019); Towards a Re-Definition of Dispute Resolution Fora: Insights from the CJEU (HBKU College of Law & Public Policy, Doha, Qatar, 2018); The Autonomy of the EU Legal Order (The Stockholm Centre for Commercial Law and the Institute of European and Comparative Law, Oxford, 2018); and Privacy and Cyber Laws: a view from the Court of Justice of the European Union (Asian Academy of International Law, Hong Kong, 2017).

      He has also been invited to speak at a number of universities including Bologna, Cambridge, Edinburgh, George Washington (Washington DC), King’s College London, HKU (Hong Kong), Milan, Oxford, Stockholm, and Valencia.

      He is a visiting professor at King’s College, London, a lecturer on private international law at Luxembourg University and a member of the LCIA. He is fluent in French (the working language of the CJEU) and speaks German.

    • Chronology

      6 July 1955 Born, UK national.

      1974-1977   Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

      1977           BA (Cantab) in Law.

      1977-1978   Wiener Ansbach scholarship to study for a postgraduate degree in EEC law at the Institut                    d’études européennes (IEE) of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

      1978           Licence spéciale en droit européen (ULB/IEE), Grande distinction.

      1979          Called to the Bar of England and Wales.

      1981-2012   Member of Monckton Chambers, London.

      1993-1999  Member of the Executive Committee of the Association International des Jeunes Avocats

      1996          Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland.

      1997           Appointed Queen’s Counsel.

      2003          Bencher of Gray’s Inn, London.

      2003-12      Part time judge in the Crown Court.

      Oct 2012-Jan 2020 Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

      2019           Visiting Professor of Law at King’s College, London.

      2020          Returned to practice at Monckton Chambers, London.

                Admitted as a member of the Luxembourg Bar.

      2021           Lecturer at the University of Luxembourg in private international law.

    • Publications
      • Arbitration: The International Journal of Arbitration, Mediation and Dispute Management Vol. 89.3 p. 725 –  “What makes a good arbitrator?” (Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London Keynote address 27 April 2023)