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“He’s got an incredible intellectual mind and is probably one of the most thorough juniors I have come across. Very impressed with his work” – Chambers UK 2021
“An excellent drafter and an excellent advocate” with a “very impressive background” – Chambers UK 2019
“Very impressive”, “quick, efficient and helpful” – Chambers UK 2018
“Very thorough and compelling” – Chambers UK, 2018
Conor’s practice encompasses public law, civil claims and international law. He is regularly instructed in complex disputes, both public and commercial, across chambers’ core areas of work. He has particular expertise in the areas of competition law, data protection and in claims involving issues of public or private international law or civil liberties.
He has substantial experience of multi-jurisdictional commercial and competition disputes, often being instructed in matters raising issues of jurisdiction, applicable law or international enforcement. He also has expertise in international trade law and sanctions. He has been instructed in cases before both domestic and international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice. He was appointed independent expert to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Hearing on Sanctions.
Prior to coming to the bar, Conor was a fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and taught international law at Cambridge University. He has published widely on issues of international law
Conor is instructed in a wide range of cases concerning competition law and commercial regulation. He has acted for claimants, defendants and regulators in matters concerning: cartels; abuse of dominance; the conduct of trade associations; private damages actions; and the enforceability of contractual arrangements in light of competition law requirements and related remedies. He has substantial experience in the fields of jurisdiction, applicable law and the enforcement of foreign judgments. He also has significant knowledge of merger control, having advised the CMA throughout its SKY / Fox merger investigation as well as in connection with a range of other merger inquiries, including Sabre/ Farelogix and Sainsbury’s / Asda.
He has substantial litigation experience before courts of all levels, including the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Competition Appeal Tribunal, all divisions of the High Court as well as the Court of Justice of the EU.
Conor has been instructed in litigation or advisory work by a wide range of regulators including the CMA, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Payment Systems Regulator, Ofgem, Ofwat and Ofcom. He is often instructed in matters of competition law or commercial regulation raising complex points of public law.
Conor has extensive experience of advising businesses and regulators on competition and commercial regulatory issues, including in relation to:
Ranked as a leading junior in both public law and human rights, Conor has substantial experience in complex civil claims, or judicial review proceedings, involving public authorities.
He is often instructed in heavy commercial regulatory, competition or state aid disputes, by companies, regulators or central government.
He also has significant expertise in matters of data protection and information law (both judicial review and civil claims) as well as in disputes raising questions of international law, including trade law, export control, immunities, human rights, state responsibility, and jurisdictional disputes.
In the field of human rights, Conor has appeared before the European Court of Human Rights on many occasions. He also has considerable experience in the use of international mechanisms including the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, individual applications in other UN and regional human rights systems as well as in challenges to Interpol Red Notices.
Conor is regularly instructed in both private law claims and judicial reivew challenges in the field of information and data protection law, in cases raising issues concerning the retention, exploitation and disclosure of information. He has particular expertise in issues of confidentiality, including the protection of journalistically privileged material and free expression. He also has experience in the field of collective actions.
He has been instructed in numerous civil claims raising issues of misuse of personal information, confidentiality and data protection, including claims under the DPA and GDPR.
Conor has considerable experience of issues of general international law. He has been instructed in a range of international courts, tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, as well as in arbitral proceedings.
In the field of human rights, he has considerable experience in cases utilising international mechanisms, including applications to the Human Rights Committee under the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, as well as other UN and regional human rights treaties, including the ECHR where he has appeared on numerous occasions. He has also been instructed in applications for the deletion and removal of Interpol Red Notices.
As regards international trade law in particular, Conor has experience advising on a range of areas including market access, MFN and national treatment issues, issues of treaty interpretation in the trade context (as well as in the context of a range of other international law disputes). Recent advisory work in the field of trade includes significant advisory work for the Westminster and Welsh Governments on a issues regarding WTO agreements. He is instructed by trade associations as well as companies to advise on issues of trade and export control as well as supply chain obligations and due diligence.
Prior to coming to the Bar Conor completed a PhD in international law at Cambridge University, where he also taught international law.
Recent advisory work includes:
Conor has considerable expertise of issues of private international law. He regularly advises on private international law claims, particularly in connection with tortious liability, including applicable law, the application of foreign law, jurisdiction, procedural issues arising in such litigation as well as issues arising under Rome II Regulation (EC) No 864/2007. He has advised in relation to such proceedings both inside and outside the EU, including a variety of States in the Middle East.
Administrative and Public Law: “Conor is very hard-working and insightful, and he knows all the latest developments.” “He is an exceptionally bright individual.” – Chambers UK, 2024
Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “He is extraordinarily bright; he starts off with an academic overview of the case and proceeds to the practical. He is able to talk through what the changes are and their practical consequences. His work product is comprehensive.” – Chambers UK, 2024
Competition: “He has a very clear mind and is an excellent draughtsperson. It’s been a pleasure to work with him. Having him has been a massive addition to the skillset of the team and he’s been incredibly supportive.” – Chambers UK, 2024
Data Protection: “He is a clever man and his work product is absolutely comprehensive.” – Chambers UK, 2024
Leading Junior in Competition: “Conor is forensic, highly knowledgeable and always helpful and approachable. He is the go-to senior junior for competition law .” – Legal 500, 2024
Leading Junior in Administrative Law and Human Rights: “A diligent junior with good judgement.” – Legal 500, 2024
Administrative and Public Law: “Phenomenally clever. He is really enthusiastic, hard-working and utterly reliable.” – Chambers UK, 2023
Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “He is incredibly academic. He works very hard and is utterly reliable.” “Conor is really strategic, and knows how to run and structure complex judicial review claims.” – Chambers UK, 2023
Data Protection: “He has wise and strategic insight and is a very good tactical litigator, so he knows when or when not to run a point.” “Conor McCarthy is very knowledgeable in the area and is flexible.” – Chambers UK, 2023
Leading Junior in Competition: “Conor is an outstanding barrister who possesses an incisive mind and great courage in his convictions. He develops his views and advice carefully and rigorously and is more than able to defend it robustly, even in difficult contexts. His written advocacy is similarly exceptional and he has the ability to produce clear and compelling drafting within short time constraints.” – Legal 500, 2023
Leading Junior in Administrative Law and Human Rights: “Conor is excellent with matters of general public law and always willing to think outside the box, often coming up with creative solutions.” – Legal 500, 2023
Administrative and Public Law: “He has very sharp instincts and judgement and identifies salient legal points.” “An incredibly approachable barrister and really nice to work with for all members of a team.” – Chambers UK, 2022
Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “He knows exactly where he can make arguments stick.” – Chambers UK, 2022
Leading Junior in Competition: “Highly responsive and a pragmatic problem solver.” – Legal 500, 2022
Leading Junior in Administrative and Public Law: “He has complete attention to detail, and seems to find time to draft or advise even at short notice in urgent matters. His focus is always on the best result for the client.” – Legal 500, 2022
Administrative and Public Law: “He’s got an incredible intellectual mind and is probably one of the most thorough juniors I have come across. He’s also started to work on some pretty important cases.” “If we have another judicial review I would have zero hesitation in calling him again – he clearly knows the subject and I have been very impressed with his work.” – Chambers UK, 2021
Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “He really understands the area well.” – Chambers UK, 2021
Leading Junior in Competition: “He is enthusiastic and inventive. Easy to work with.” – Legal 500, 2021
Leading Junior in Administrative and Public Law: “He is intelligent, knowledgeable and inventive.” – Legal 500, 2021
Administrative and Public Law: “I’d highly recommend him for any judicial review with international elements. He’s one of the few people who really understands this niche area well.” “He provides very thorough, detailed and comprehensive advice.” – Chambers UK, 2020
Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “A good junior and pleasant to work with.” – Chambers UK, 2020
Administrative and Public Law: “An excellent drafter and an excellent advocate.” “Has a very impressive background as an academic and is a very good lawyer with substantive knowledge.” – Chambers UK, 2019
Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “An effective human rights lawyer.” – Chambers UK, 2019
Administrative and Public Law: “He is very thorough and compelling.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “Very quick, efficient and helpful.” “He is a very impressive international human rights specialist.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Conor has published numerous articles in leading peer reviewed journals on questions of international law, in particular in the areas of remedies in international law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law including pieces in the Journal of International Criminal Justice (Oxford University Press), European Human Rights Law Review (Sweet and Maxwell) and the International Journal of Transitional Justice (Oxford University Press) among others.
Conor’s book, Reparations and Victim Support in the International Criminal Court (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) explores the ICC’s regime of victim redress and the role it plays within the context of other systems of remedies for grave violations of international law at the national and international levels.
Conor’s published articles include the following:
“Victim Redress and International Criminal Justice: Competing Paradigms or Compatible Forms of Justice?”, 10 Journal of International Criminal Justice (2012).
“What Happens to the Frozen Fortune? The Libya Situation and Claims for Reparation”, 3 European Human Rights Law Review (2011).
“Reparation for Gross Violations of Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law at the International Court of Justice” in Reparations for Victims of Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes: Systems in Place and Systems in the Making, C. Ferstman, M. Goetz and A. Stephens (eds.) (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2009) .
“Reparations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and Reparative Justice Theory”, 3 International Journal of Transitional Justice 250 (2009).
“Human Rights and the Laws of War under the American Convention on Human Rights”, 6 European Human Rights Law Review 762 (2008) .
“Legal Conclusion or Interpretative Process? Lex Specialis and the Applicability of International Human Rights Standards”, in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law: Towards a New Merger in International Law, in N. Quenivet and R. Arnold (eds.) (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008).
“Legal Reasoning and the Applicability of International Human Rights Standards during Military Occupation”, in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law: Towards a New Merger in International Law, N. Quenivet and R. Arnold (eds.) (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008).
“The Paradox of the International Law of Military Occupation: Sovereignty and the Occupation of Iraq”, 10 Journal of Conflict and Security Law 43 (2005).
“Optimal Protection of International Law: Navigating between European Absolutism and American Voluntarism”, Joost Pauwelyn, book review, Irish Yearbook of International Law, 2008 (Oxford: Hart Publications, 2010).
“International Governance of War-Torn Territories: Rule and Reconstruction”, Richard Caplan, book review, 20 Journal of International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict 62 (2007)