Clíodhna Kelleher

Call: 2020 | 2022 (Ireland)

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    BCL (UCD); LLM (Harvard); BPTC (City)

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    Clíodhna joined Monckton as a tenant in October 2021. She has a busy practice in Chambers’ core areas, including administrative and public law, competition law, and procurement and State aid.

    Current highlights of Clíodhna’s practice include:

    • Acting for the Independent Monitoring Authority, the post-Brexit citizens’ rights watchdog, in its challenge of the UK Government’s implementation of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement and UK-EEA EFTA Separation Agreement.
    • Acting for Royal Mail and British Telecom, lead claimants in the Trucks cartel litigation arising from the European Commission “Trucks” settlement decision, in which truck manufacturers were collectively fined €2.93bn for breaches of EU competition law.

    She is a graduate of University College Dublin and of Harvard Law School, where she specialised in public and comparative constitutional law. Prior to qualifying as a barrister Clíodhna worked as a legal fellow at a non-profit organisation and as a paralegal at a leading full-service Irish law firm. She was the recipient of Lincolns Inn’s top scholarship for Bar school.

    Clíodhna acts on a pro bono basis in appropriate cases. She was recognised by Advocate for completing its “25 for 25” challenge, having completed 35+ hours of pro bono work in 2022.

    • News
    • Administrative & public

      Clíodhna accepts instructions in all areas of public law and is regularly instructed in judicial review proceedings, both as sole and junior counsel.

      Recent instructions include:

      • Acting for the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements in a challenge to the lawfulness of the European Union Settlement Scheme (with Robert Palmer KC).
      • Acting for the claimant in a challenge to a local authority’s failure to ensure the provision of suitable education to a child under the Education Act 1996 and A2P1 ECHR (with Ian Wise KC)
      • Acting for the claimant in a judicial review of a coronial decision to discontinue an investigation into a death induced by medical intervention (as sole counsel).

      Prior to joining the bar, Clíodhna worked as a legal fellow in the public affairs department of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a charity which provides and advocates for reproductive healthcare. She regularly publishes on the topic of abortion and reproductive healthcare.

      She is a trustee of Feed UK, a charity which advocates for the food needs of infants and of their families.


    • Housing and social care law

      Clíodhna accepts instructions in cases spanning all aspects of housing and social care law. Recent instructions include:

      • Acting for the claimant in a challenge to the lawfulness of a decision by a local authority to withdraw accommodation from a “former relevant child”, involving claims under the Housing Act 1996 and Children Act 1989 (as sole counsel);
      • Acting for the claimant in judicial review proceedings concerning the lawfulness of a local authority’s housing allocation scheme involving claims under the Housing Act 1996 and gender discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 (as sole counsel);
      • Acting for the claimant in a challenge to a local authority and CCG’s compliance with its duties under the MHA 1983;
      • Acting for the claimants in a challenge to the lawfulness of a housing allocation scheme involving claims under the Housing Act 1996 and disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
    • Commercial and tax


      During pupillage Clíodhna assisted on a wide range of commercial and tax matters, including:

      • Dr Reddy’s and Ranbaxy v Warner-Lambert [2021] EWHC 2182: a preliminary issue hearing in the “pregabalin” patent damages litigation to determine the appropriate counterfactual assumptions upon which to determine damages payable to the inquiry claimants and whether findings of fact should be binding between different parties in the proceedings (assisting Ligia Osepciu).
      • Optis Cellular Technology v Apple Retail Ltd: whether Apple’s refusal to commit to concluding a licence on whatever terms the court determines to be fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) prior to knowing the FRAND terms disentitled Apple to enforce Optis’ undertaking to licence its portfolio of SEPs on FRAND terms (assisting Ligia Osepciu).
      • Advising on a commercial entity’s capacity to recover a retained rebate of overpaid tax from a former supplier under the law of trusts.
      • Advising on the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the interpretation of the VATA 1994.
    • Competition law

      Clíodhna acts across the spectrum of Chambers’ competition litigation work including bringing and defending damages actions and collective proceedings.


      Recent instructions include:

      • Royal Mail and BT v DAF Trucks Limited: acting for Royal Mail and BT in its damages claim against DAF arising from the European Commission’s 2016 “Trucks” settlement decision.
      • Justin Gutmann v London & South Eastern Railway Limited: acting for a defendant in the proposed standalone “Boundary Fares” claims brought by Mr Justin Gutmann against the operators of the South Eastern and Southwestern rail franchises (with Paul Harris QC, Anneliese Blackwood and Michael Armitage).
      • Vermeer and Boyle v Govia Thameslink Railway Limited, the Go-Ahead Group Plc and Keolis (UK) Ltd: acting for the defendant in a proposed standalone collective action against the operators of the London-Brighton mainline in the fares set for the Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express brands (with Paul Harris QC, Anneliese Blackwood and Michael Armitage).
      • Dawsongroup v DAF, Daimler and ors: acting for Dawsongroup in its follow-on damages claim arising from the European Commission’s 2016 “Trucks” settlement decision.
    • European and retained EU law

      Clíodhna regularly advises on questions of interpretation of European law and of retained EU law across the breadth of her practice, particularly in relation to the interpretation of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement and the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement.


      Recent instructions include:

      • Testbiotech eV v EU Commission: acting for Testbiotech in European judicial review proceedings under the Aarhus Regulation to the European Commission’s decision to grant market authorisation to Monsanto to import genetically engineered maize and soybeans into the internal market (with Kassie Smith KC and Will Perry).
    • Information law

      Clíodhna is regularly instructed in matters under the DPA, GDPR, PECR and FOIA. She appears for the Information Commissioner (ICO) including in matters involving:

      • challenges to Decision Notices under the DPA, PECR and FOIA;
      • challenges to fines under Monetary Penalty Notices.
    • Public procurement and State aid

      Clíodhna has been instructed in a number of high-profile procurement and State aid matters by economic operators and contracting authorities, including:

      • R (Good Law Project) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Abingdon Health Ltd: Clíodhna acted for the interested party in a procurement and State aid challenge to the grant of contracts for lateral flow antibody tests during the Covid-19 pandemic (with Ligia Osepciu)
      • IGT v the Gambling Commission: acting for the claimant to a challenge to the award of the Fourth National Lottery licence.

      Clíodhna regularly advises economic operators and contracting authorities on procurement matters. Recent advisory work includes:

      • Advising claimants and defendants on the merits of proposed scoring challenges to concluded procurement exercises;
      • Advising on compliance with the procurement rules;
      • Advising on post-Brexit arrangements and the effect of the EU-UK TCA for contracting authorities.
    • Education and awards
      • BPTC, City Law School, 2019 – 20.
      • LLM, Harvard Law School, 2017 – 18.
      • BCL (Law with Philosophy), University College Dublin, 2012 – 16 (first class).

      Scholarships and Prizes


        • Lord Mansfield scholarship (top scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn).
        • City Law School scholarship.

      Harvard Law School:

        • Dean’s Scholar Prize in Comparative Constitutional Law.
        • Irving R. Kaufman Public Interest Fellowship upon graduation to fund one year’s salary to work at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
        • Student Fellow, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law, Bioethics and Biotechnology at HLS.

      University College Dublin:

        • University Scholarship, 2016.
        • Stage 4 Law Degree Programmes Scholarship, 2016.
        • President’s Award for Excellence in Student Activities, 2016.
        • Gold Medal for Oratory, 2015.
        • UCD Law Contribution to University Life Award, 2014.
        • Academic Entrance Scholar, 2012.

      At university, Clíodhna was a champion competitive debater, winning the John Smith Memorial Mace (formerly the Observer Mace), the Irish Mace, the Irish Times Debate Championship and over 10 other intervarsity competitions in Ireland and the UK, Europe, and the USA.

    • Languages

      Clíodhna speaks Irish (bilingual) and German (conversational).

    • Publications
      • “The Constitutional Personality of the ‘Unborn’, 1973 2018” Irish Jurist 2021, 65(1), 119 – 137.
      • “Adolescent Abortion under the Eighth Amendment and the Post-Repeal Legal Landscape” 8 KILR [I] [2019], 88.