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“The best procurement junior at the Bar. Easy to work with, he’s responsive and tuned in to key client concerns.” – Chambers UK, 2023
‘‘Ewan has textbook knowledge of procurement law. He is strategically astute and great with clients.’’ – Legal 500, 2023
“Offers a beautiful combination of experience and intellect, and has an excellent grasp of the full depth and breadth of the law.” “He’s dedicated and immensely thorough, displaying a natural flair for procurement law and an unbending commitment to delivering the top-quality service clients expect.” – Chambers UK, 2021
A “top choice of junior” commended for his “regular instruction on the biggest procurement cases”. He provides “very good legal analysis” and is “a pleasure to work with”. –
Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2020
“He has got a really good strategic brain and his written work is first class.” “One of the go-to senior juniors for procurement disputes, he is exceptionally responsive, well liked by clients and persuasive in court.” – Chambers UK, 2020
‘‘He has a piercing intellect and shines on his feet.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
‘‘He knows procurement law better than almost every barrister in this field.’’ – Legal 500, 2016
Ewan has a wide-ranging and well-established practice spanning all of Chambers’ main areas of activity, including public procurement, competition, VAT and excise law, EU law and EU relations law, regulatory law (especially telecommunications and utilities), information rights, claims management regulation and public law generally. He also practises in general commercial law and sports law.
He has one of the most extensive procurement law practices at the junior Bar for which he has received widespread recognition as a highly effective and user-friendly advocate, acting for both claimants and defendants (and appearing both led and unled). Ewan has appeared in many of the leading cases of the past few years including the first claim seeking a declaration of ineffectiveness, the first claim under the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, and numerous claims involving automatic suspensions and other injunctive relief. He has particular experience of dealing with the protection of confidential information and disclosure (including applications for specific disclosure) in the context of procurement disputes.
He has been instructed on a large number of claims involving urgent procurements undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic, brought both as commercial claims and by way of judicial review, in relation to the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and well as other services. He has also successfully defended challenges to the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. Among other matters, he is currently involved in challenges to the procurement of very high speed rolling stock for the HS2 railway and the award of the fourth licence to run the National Lottery.
As a competition law practitioner, he has appeared in several high profile cases, including in relation to anticompetitive conduct, abuse of a dominant position and in challenges to competition regulatory decisions. He was instructed on the first fast track claim to be brought before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. He has a particularly extensive knowledge of the law of state aid and subsidy and its practical application. Ewan has recently acted for the Competition and Markets Authority in relation to the SSE code modifications appeal.
In relation VAT, he has appeared in the leading case on hot takeaway food (and several consequential appeals) and has recently dealt with cases involving abuse of rights and various exemptions, including those relating to sport and health. He also has an active excise law practice.
Ewan’s focus on public procurement, competition and VAT are combined with a wider experience of EU law generally, including in particular the free movement Treaty provisions. More recently, he has been involved in dealing in various contexts with the implications of the UK’s departure from the EU and with EU relations law, including in relation to the workings of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Ewan’s commercial law activities bring together many other elements of his practice, including competition and procurement law. He has a particular focus on contractual disputes (in particular arising out of long-term arrangements), contractual variations, injunctive relief and protection of confidentiality.
As a public law practitioner, Ewan’s cases include challenges to a determination of ordinary residence under the National Assistance Act 1948, an assessment of liability to care home fees under the National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992 and an appeal of a decision of the Pensions Ombudsman as well as acting for the interested party in a judicial review of the Government’s disposal of the Green Investment Bank. He also represented HMRC in a successful defence to a judicial review against the operation of the UK-Swiss tax co-operation treaty. More recently, he has been involved in defending a number of claims arising out of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including in relation to the vaccination programme, restrictions on public behaviour and provision of information concerning shielding. One of those cases is of very general public law application, being the first to consider the rules applicable to the service of the claim form in judicial review proceedings and the principles governing extensions of time.
Ewan also has a very active freedom of information practice, including cases which have a commercial aspect, in which he has acted for the Information Commissioner, public authorities and other parties. He has represented the Claims Management Regulator (and more recently the Financial Conduct Authority) in appeals under the Compensation Act 2006.
Ewan has a growing education law practice. He has a particular interest in admissions appeals, examination appeals, provision for special educational needs (including SEND appeals) and contractual disputes relating to educational provision.
Ewan has appeared in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Competition Appeal Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber), First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights), First-tier Tribunal (Claims Management Regulation) ), First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and before a large number of regulatory bodies including the Football Association Appeal Board, the Football Disciplinary Commission of the Football League, the Disciplinary Committee of the Six Nations Internationals and the Disciplinary Committee of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
Ewan undertakes a wide range of advisory work in all areas of practice. He particularly relishes the challenge of finding solutions which do not involve recourse to litigation or mitigate its consequences. He has worked for a number of regulatory authorities and has a sound technical and practical understanding of economic and financial analysis (he holds an MBA from Cranfield University).
Before coming to the Bar, Ewan was a Senior Civil Servant in the Department for Transport and its predecessors. In his Civil Service career he was involved with a number of high profile projects, including railway privatisation, the London Underground PPP and Crossrail, developing a particular expertise in dealing with matters at the interface of the public and private sector, including regulatory compliance and state aid. As well having dealt with both the development of Government policy and its implementation through both primary and secondary legislation (including working as Private Secretary to a Minster of State), Ewan had extensive hands-on experience of running public procurements and implementing the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
Ewan is a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (A Panel). He is authorised to accept instructions on a public access basis. He also acts as an advocacy tutor for Lincoln’s Inn. He is a committee member of the Procurement Lawyers’ Association.
Ewan was called to the Bar of Ireland in 2019.
Ewan is a CEDR accredited mediator.
Ewan speaks German and has a good reading knowledge of several European languages including French and Italian.
Public & Administrative Law
VAT, Duties and Indirect Taxation
Ewan has a broad-based competition practice advising on matters such as restrictive agreements, distribution and supply arrangements, refusal to supply and potential Article 102/Chapter II infringements. His former Government experience (including dealings with the European Commission) is particularly valued in relation to state aid and subsidy matters. As the holder of an MBA, he has an informed understanding of corporate finance, accountancy and economic issues.
Recent and ongoing work includes advice on the new UK subsidy regime; advising on a telecommunications price control determination; the first fast track case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal; advising on the application of competition law to a number of land agreements; and state aid and subsidy advice (including submissions to the UK Government and European Commission) in relation to a number of areas of economic activity including transport, urban development and assistance for unemployed workers.
Recent cases include:
Ewan is one of the most active juniors at the Bar specializing in procurement law and has appeared in many of the leading cases, including the first claim for a declaration of ineffectiveness and the first claim under the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016.
In addition to advising on the initial procurement process, Ewan is increasingly instructed to advise on the operation of public contracts, particularly where potential variations are concerned and the need to achieve a commercial solution has to be balanced against the procurement law risk. A growing part of this work involves representation for adjudications and mediations.
Given his prior experience before coming to the Bar, Ewan has a natural affinity with procurement law, especially where it relates to the commissioning of major projects. His practical experience of managing large procurements is particularly valuable when it is necessary to consider ways to protect procurements, whether future or in progress, against the risk of successful legal challenge or alternatively to identify vulnerabilities and flaws. By their nature, many of the cases with which Ewan is involved settle or are discontinued before reaching trial and thus do not necessarily enter the public arena.
He particularly enjoys working as part of a team with solicitors and lay clients (whether on the claimant or defendant side) in constructing practical and commercial solutions that avoid the cost and risk of litigation, or alternatively use procurement law claims as means of gaining leverage in commercial and other disputes.
His private sector clients have been drawn from a wide variety of sectors, including construction, pharmaceuticals, health, waste, defence, nuclear industry, transportation (including railways and railway rolling stock), IT services, property development, medical products and services and facilities management, while his public sector clients range from large central Government departments down to the smallest local authorities and NHS bodies.
Ewan has been instructed in relation to a number of claims arising out of urgent procurements dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including for the supply of Personal Protective Equipment. He also acted for the Met Office in relation to a challenge to its award of a contract for a new supercomputer. Most recently, among other matters he has appeared in one of the few cases where an application to lift the automatic suspension was successfully resisted and is currently instructed on high profile challenges to the procurement of very high speed railway rolling for the HS2 railway, to the award of the fourth licence to operate the UK National Lottery and to contracts for the supply of prison operator services and visa and citizenship applications services.
Recent cases include:
Ewan’s practice encompasses substantial areas of commercial dispute resolution, often arising alongside issues of procurement and competition law. Much of his work in these areas has at its heart the need to protect commercial interests and secure tangible commercial benefits, including during contract performance. He has considerable experience in particular of contractual disputes and their resolution, especially where one of the counterparties is a Government department or other public body. He also has experience in dealing with issues of commercial governance, risk management and contract management. He is very familiar with the structuring and financing of complex infrastructure transactions, including PPP/PFI and similar long-term arrangements.
As the holder of an MBA, Ewan possesses the necessary technical toolkit to deal with the most complex financial cases. He has experience of working across numerous sectors including construction, pharmaceuticals, waste, transportation, IT and facilities management. He has substantial courtroom experience (both led and unled) with particular emphasis on matters of injunctive relief, amendments, disclosure and confidentiality, as well as experience of commercial judicial review. He also has experience of adjudications.
Ewan is a CEDR-accredited mediator and has participated in numerous mediations where the fundamental aim has been to realise tangible commercial (as well as reputational and relationship) benefits for his clients.
He has experience of financial services regulation and has appeared on behalf of both the Claims Management Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority.
Ewan is regularly ranked in Who’s Who Legal: Government Contracts.
Current/ recent cases:
Ewan advises across the field of public and administrative law. His former experience as a Senior Civil Servant is particularly valuable in this regard given his intimate acquaintance with the process of public sector decision-making and the practical constraints that bear upon public authorities.
As a civil servant, Ewan was also intimately involved in the development of legislation, working at all stages of the process from broad policy initiatives (formulated at Ministerial level) through to the enactment of specific measures, whether by means of primary or secondary legislation. He has experience of preparing briefing for and attending Parliamentary debates on legislation. In his career at the Bar he has also been involved in drafting secondary legislation. Ewan is also regularly instructed by the Claims Management Regulator (now the Financial Conduct Authority) in appeals under the Compensation Act 2006.
Most recently, he has been involved in defending a number of claims arising out of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including in relation to the vaccination programme, restrictions on public behaviour and provision of information concerning shielding. In a challenge to the offer of vaccination to those aged 16 and 17 he successfully resisted an application for interim relief before the Court of Appeal in a claim for which permission was ultimately refused after two substantive hearings before the High Court.
One of the claims brought by way of judicial review against the procurement of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic was the first to require consideration of the rules applicable to the service of the claim form in judicial review proceedings and the principles governing extensions of time. This claim is of very general application to judicial review practitioners and has been widely reported.
Current / Recent Cases:
Before coming to the Bar, Ewan worked for nearly ten years in higher education, both as a lecturer/tutor/researcher (in music history and theory, not law) and in educational administration (including as secretary to a professional organization), as well as acting as an examiner (for both written and practical examinations). He also brings to his practice a close continuing personal involvement in education having acted as a school governor (of two state schools) and as trustee of an educational foundation.
Ewan accepts instructions across the full range of education law issues. He has a particular interest and expertise in admissions appeals, examination appeals, provision for special educational needs and disability and contractual disputes relating to educational provision. He has appeared before the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability). He is always concerned to explore opportunities for informal settlement and negotiation, which can be quicker and more effective than proceeding through a formal process or litigating.
In other areas of his practice Ewan has also advised and acted for a wide range of education bodies, including the Department for Education, the Standards and Testing Agency, universities, schools and awarding bodies, including in relation to public procurement, commercial law and freedom of information. Most recently he has acted in relation to a challenge arising out of arrangements for teaching training and in a challenge to remote examination arrangements.
Much of Ewan’s practice has historically had an EU law basis, in particular public procurement, competition and regulatory law. He has therefore often been called upon to advise on the interpretation of EU law and its interaction with domestic law, including in particular in relation to free movement and single market provisions.
In the light of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the focus is now shifting to the emerging field of EU relations law, i.e. the law governing the new relationship between the EU and UK post Brexit. As well as involving consideration of retained EU law, this includes the interpretation and application of the legal agreements concluded between the UK and EU, most notably the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol. It also requires taking account of new domestic law, including the Internal Market Act 2020 and the Trade Act 2021.
Recent work includes advising on matters of subsidy in relation to the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol.
As a Civil Servant Ewan was involved with the practical implementation of compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 prior to coming to the Bar. He now regularly appears before the General Regulatory Chamber (Information Rights) and much of his other litigation involves matters of information and data protection law. He is particularly experienced in dealing with the interface between those obligations and the protection of commercially confidential information, for example not least in public procurement and competition litigation. As a former Senior Civil Servant, he is well attuned to the context within which much information that is the subject of requests has been generated and the issues that arise.
Ewan has advised on various aspects of telecommunications regulation and in relation to contractual disputes, including for example in relation to termination charges for SMS messages.
Ewan has experience of a wide range of VAT matters, including single/multiple supply, place of supply, exempt and zero-rated supply and MTIC fraud. He also has some experience in Insurance Premium Tax.
He has been instructed by both the taxpayer and HMRC in proceedings before the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal and has appeared in the Court of Appeal on VAT matters. Recent advisory work has included consideration of the partial exemptions regime, single/multiple supply and the VAT treatment of property transactions.
Recent / Current Cases:
Public Procurement: “He has a voracious capacity for work and is incredibly thorough and clever.” “He is an incredibly valuable asset to have on your team, as he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of procurement case law and works quickly to tight deadlines. He is also knowledgeable and thorough in his written work.” “Ewan is a very strong procurement counsel with a very wide range of experience to draw on. He frequently goes above and beyond in terms of client service.” – Chambers UK, 2024
Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘He comes up with good strategies for clients.’’ – Legal 500, 2024
Leading junior in Administrative Law and Human Rights: ‘‘A good team player who is extremely responsive and great with clients.’’ – Legal 500, 2024
Public Procurement: “The best procurement junior at the Bar. Easy to work with, he’s responsive and tuned in to key client concerns.” – Chambers UK, 2023
Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘Ewan has textbook knowledge of procurement law. He is strategically astute and great with clients.’’ – Legal 500, 2023
Leading junior in Administrative Law and Human Rights – Legal 500, 2023
Recommended in Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal Global Guide 2022
“Ewan West is held in high regard for his experience advising both claimants and defendants on complex procurement issues.” – Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2022
Public Procurement: “He is very experienced and has a good feel for the regulations and how to apply them. His advocacy is also very effective.” “He is very good technically and on paper.” – Chambers UK, 2022
Leading junior in Public procurement – Legal 500, 2022
Recommended in Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2021
Public Procurement: “Offers a beautiful combination of experience and intellect, and has an excellent grasp of the full depth and breadth of the law.” “He’s dedicated and immensely thorough, displaying a natural flair for procurement law and an unbending commitment to delivering the top-quality service clients expect.” – Chambers UK, 2021
Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘Forensic knowledge of procurement law and practice, brings a wealth of experience to the advice that he gives, a QC in waiting.’’ – Legal 500, 2021
“A “top choice of junior” commended for his “regular instruction on the biggest procurement cases”. He provides “very good legal analysis” and is “a pleasure to work with”. – Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2020
Public Procurement: “He has got a really good strategic brain and his written work is first class.” “One of the go-to senior juniors for procurement disputes, he is exceptionally responsive, well liked by clients and persuasive in court.” – Chambers UK, 2020
Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘He is excellent on contentious procurement matters.’’ – Legal 500, 2020
“Highly experienced government contracts junior who is highlighted as an expert in advising on commercial solutions to procurement issues” – Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2019
Public Procurement: “Helpful and practical, he marries deep knowledge of the procurement sector with an understanding of the client’s commercial goals.” – Chambers UK, 2019
Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘He is very experienced in procurement law and his drafting is first rate.’’ – Legal 500, 2018
Public Procurement: “He is a go-to senior junior for procurement disputes who is exceptionally responsive, well liked by clients and persuasive in court.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘He has a piercing intellect and shines on his feet.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Public Procurement: “Ewan is exceptional and goes beyond the call of duty.” “Having worked within the government, he understands the machinery of it, which is very helpful.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Leading Junior in Public Procurement: ‘‘He knows procurement law better than almost every barrister in this field.’’ – Legal 500, 2016
Government Contracts: regularly acts for tenderers and local authorities on the full range of procurement matters. Sources remark that “he has built a first rate junior practice in procurement law.” – WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR 2016
Public Procurement: “Dedicated and immensely thorough, he has a natural flair for procurement law and an unbending commitment to delivering the top-quality service our clients expect.” – Chambers UK, 2016
”Not afraid to get to grips with the technical detail.” Leading junior in Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2015
Public Procurement: “Ewan is clever, articulate and committed to finding answers to difficult questions.” “He’s responsive, practical and firm in his dealings.” – Chambers UK, 2015
‘Great insight into how authorities think and work.’ Ewan is recommended as a leading Junior under Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2014
Public Procurement: Clients benefit from his familiarity with central government proceedings. He handles a broad range of procurement instructions and is qualified to undertake direct access work. “He’s very well organised, and has good judgement and a good knowledge of the subject.” Chambers UK, 2014
“Ewan West is ‘extremely approachable and knowledgeable’.” He is recommended as a leading Junior under Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2013
Public Procurement: “Nothing is too much trouble for” Ewan West, say those that instruct him. This former civil servant has “an invaluable understanding of the workings of central government.” Sources find him to be a man who “provides practical and creative solutions.” Chambers UK, 2013
Ewan West has a wide-ranging procurement practice. Formerly a Senior Civil Servant in the Department for Transport, he understands the workings of the public sector better than most. This additional perspective proved invaluable when he successfully represented Eurostar after Alstom sought an interim injunction preventing it from entering a contract to purchase trains from Siemens. Interviewees note that he is “personable and intelligent; he gets the bigger picture as well as the finer details, and goes beyond the extra mile to get the job done.” – Chambers UK, 2012
Called to the Bar 2006 (England and Wales) 2019 (Ireland).
CEDR accredited mediator.
Contributor to Value Added Tax: Commentary and Analysis (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2009)