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Hugh Whelan

Call: 2022

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    Education

    BA Hons, DipLang (Melbourne); BA Law, LLM International Law (Cambridge)

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    Introduction

    Hugh joined Chambers as a tenant in October 2023, following the successful completion of pupillage. He is developing a busy practice spanning Chambers’ core areas.

    Current case highlights include:

    • Acting for First MTR in the ‘UK Trains – Boundary Fares’ class action before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
    • Acting for a former Afghan interpreter for the British armed forces in relation to his application to relocate to the UK following the fall of Kabul.
    • Acting for the CMA on an ongoing Competition Act 1998 investigation.
    • Acting for the ICO in various matters pertaining to alleged breaches under FOIA.

    Hugh studied law at Cambridge, obtaining a first-class Senior Status BA in Law and a first-class LLM in International Law, for which he was awarded the Clive Parry Prize for top ranked student in the International Law designation of the LLM. He completed the Bar Course as a Major Scholar of Inner Temple, receiving a mark of Distinction. Hugh also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Diploma in Languages from the University of Melbourne, both with first-class honours.

    Prior to coming to the Bar, Hugh was a Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge. He also spent seven years working with various legal NGOs in the UK and abroad, alongside his studies.

    • News
    • Competition & regulatory

      Hugh’s practice encompasses the breadth of Chambers’ competition litigation work, including standalone and follow-on claims for both claimants and defendants.

      He also has experience in regulatory cases. Prior to joining the Bar, Hugh gained experience in regulatory law as a Research Assistant to Professor Catherine Barnard, working on various projects such as the legal regulation of “freeports” for the House of Lords.

      Cases

      Current instructions include:

      • Acting for First MTR in the ‘UK Trains – Boundary Fares’ collective action (led by Tim Ward KC and James Bourke).
      • Acting for the CMA on an ongoing Competition Act 1998 investigation (led by Rob Williams KC and Daisy Mackersie).

      During pupillage, Hugh assisted on a wide range of competition and regulatory matters, including:

      • Secretary of State for Health & Or v Servier Laboratories Limited & Ors [2023] EWCA Civ 763: ‘pay for delay’ claims against Servier.
      • The Durham Company Limited v Durham County Council [2023] CAT 50: the first case dealing with an application for the review of a subsidy decision under the Subsidy Control Act 2022.
      • Volkswagen AG v MOL (Europe Africa) Limited & Others: follow-on damages claim arising from the Roll-on/Roll-off shipping cartel.
      • Merchant Interchange Fee Umbrella Proceedings: standalone claim concerning the lawfulness of the Multilateral Interchange Fees set by Mastercard and Visa.
      • Heathrow appeal – price control: appeal against the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision to modify the price control terms of Heathrow’s economic licence.
      • Mercedes-Benz NOx Emissions Group Litigation: Class action arising from the “dieselgate” scandal.
      • Utilita Energy Ltd & Or v PayPoint plc & Ors: Standalone claim alleging abuse of dominant position in the energy sector.
      • Various matters on an advisory basis, including advising government departments on regulatory implications of proposed policies.
    • Public & human rights

      Hugh accepts instructions in all areas of public law and human rights.

      He is currently acting for a former Afghan interpreter for the British armed forces in relation to his application to relocate to the UK following the fall of Kabul. He is also a member of the UK Attorney General’s Junior Junior Scheme and regularly acts for government bodies as sole counsel.

      Previously, Hugh gained experience in various areas of public law, including immigration law (as a paralegal for five years at Refugee Legal in Australia), education law (as a volunteer legal advisor at IPSEA), and human rights law (as a legal advisor at Advocacy Forum in Nepal).

      He also maintains a keen interest in academic public law, having worked as a Research Assistant on various public law projects, including the twelfth edition of Wade & Forsyth’s Administrative Law and a proposal to reform social security appeals.

      Cases

      During pupillage, Hugh assisted on a wide range of matters concerning public law and human rights, including:

      • Western Sahara Campaign UK v Secretary of State for International Trade & others: challenge to the UK’s bilateral trade agreement with Morocco on the basis of its extension to goods originating from Western Sahara.
      • R (Jagtar Singh Johal) v Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and Ors: claim brought on the ground that unlawful intelligence sharing by UK intelligence agencies caused or contributed to the claimant facing arbitrary detention, torture and death penalty proceedings in India.
      • R (the3million and Open Rights Group) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Or: challenge to the lawfulness of the immigration exemption contained in the Data Protection Act 2018, which provides for an exemption from the majority of fundamental data protection rights conferred by the UK GDPR where compliance with those rights is said to prejudice ‘effective immigration control’.
      • R (eBay (UK) Limited) v Secretary of State for Business and Trade): challenge to the lawfulness of a Withdrawal Notice issued to eBay for the sale of an unsafe product on its website.
      • Various matters of an advisory nature to claimants and government bodies, including HM Treasury, the Welsh Government, and the Secretary of State for Education.
    • Data protection & information

      Hugh accepts instructions in all areas of data protection and information law, both as sole and junior counsel. He is presently instructed by the ICO in a number of ongoing FOIA disputes.

      Cases

      During pupillage, Hugh assisted on a wide range of data protection and information matters, including:

      • R (the3million and Open Rights Group) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Or [2023] EWHC 713 (Admin): challenge to the lawfulness of the immigration exemption contained in the Data Protection Act 2018, which provides for an exemption from the majority of fundamental data protection rights conferred by the UK GDPR where compliance with those rights is said to prejudice ‘effective immigration control’.
      • The ICO, in its £12.7 million fine imposed on TikTok for a number of breaches of data protection law, including failing to use children’s personal data lawfully.
      • Various matters on an advisory basis, including private actions for breaches of the DPA and UK GDPR.
    • International

      Owing to his background, Hugh is particularly interested in cases with an international law element.

      Prior to joining the Bar, Hugh studied international law at Cambridge as the Law Faculty’s Arnold Mcnair Scholar in International Law. Hugh graduated from the LLM in International Law with the faculty’s Clive Parry Prize (awarded to the best overall student in the International Law designation of the LLM) and top-of-class marks in International Commercial Litigation, International Investment Law, and Advanced Labour Law (focusing on international labour law). Additionally, he was a General Editor for the Cambridge International Law Journal and a Researcher for the University’s collaborative project with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

      Hugh has also spent time working in various fields of international law, including refugee law in Australia and international human rights law in Nepal.

      Cases

      During pupillage, Hugh assisted on a range of matters with an international element, including:

      • Western Sahara Campaign UK v Secretary of State for International Trade & others: challenge to the UK’s bilateral trade agreement with Morocco on the basis of its extension to goods originating from Western Sahara.
      • Port de Djibouti S.A. v DP World Djibouti FZCO [2023] EWHC 1189 (Comm): Jurisdictional challenge under section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 regarding the arbitrator’s determination of the proper construction of the term: “Shareholder”.
      • R (the3million and Open Rights Group) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Or [2023] EWHC 713 (Admin): challenge to the lawfulness of the immigration exemption contained in the Data Protection Act 2018, which provides for an exemption from the majority of fundamental data protection rights conferred by the UK GDPR where compliance with those rights is said to prejudice ‘effective immigration control’.
    • Commercial & sport

      Hugh accepts instructions in all areas of commercial and sport law. He regularly appears as sole counsel in the County Court in commercial law matters.

      Cases

      During pupillage, Hugh assisted in a range of commercial and sport matters, including:

      • Port de Djibouti S.A. v DP World Djibouti FZCO [2023] EWHC 1189 (Comm): Jurisdictional challenge under section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 regarding the arbitrator’s determination of the proper construction of the term: “Shareholder”.
      • A series of arbitrations regarding the apportionment of Olympic funding for athletes by UK Athletics.
      • Various matters on an advisory basis, including advising a private individual about potential human rights challenges to a taxation penalty.
    • Additional information
      Education
      • BVS, City, University of London: Distinction
      • LLM in International Law, University of Cambridge: First Class
      • Senior Status BA in Law, University of Cambridge: First Class
      • BA Honours Program in English Literature, University of Melbourne: First Class
      • BA in English Literature & Philosophy, University of Melbourne: First Class
      • DipLang in Spanish & Latin-American Studies, University of Melbourne: First Class
      Achievements

      Law Faculty, University of Cambridge:

      • Clive Parry Prize (for highest ranked student in International Law designation of LLM)
      • 3VB Prize for International Commercial Litigation
      • Volterra Fietta Prize for International Investment Law
      • Top mark in Advanced Labour Law
      • Arnold McNair Scholarship in International Law
      • Rebecca Flower Squire Scholarship

      Jesus College, Cambridge:

      • Glanville Williams Prize
      • Russell Vick Prize
      • Jesus College Scholarship

      Hughes Hall, Cambridge:

      • Taylor Harris Scholarship (best international applicant for Senior Status degree)
      • Burnett Prize
      • Harris Award

      Inner Temple:

      • Major Scholarship for Law Conversion
      • Major Scholarship for BVS
      • Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Award

      Other:

      • Sir John and Lady Sophie Laws Scholarship (BEG)
      • Winner of Cambridge-KCL Varsity Moot
      • BVS Scholarship (City, University of London)
      • Human Rights Internship Award (Cambridge)
      • Global Scholar Prize (Melbourne)
      Languages
      • Spanish
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