James Bourke

Call 2014 | New York Attorney 2001
LL.M. (Harvard Law School) Masters in EU Law (College of Europe) LL.B. (Trinity College, Dublin) First Class Honours
Contact the Clerks

+44 (0)20 7405 7211 | chambers@monckton.com

James transferred to the Bar in 2014 after 13 years’ experience at the European Commission’s Legal Service, international law firms and at the General Court of the EU (référendaire to Judge Cooke).

His practice is focused on competition law, EU law and public law.  Since transferring to the Bar, he has been instructed by a number of significant clients including Samsung (Unwired Planet litigation), TalkTalk, Greenpeace, the Payment Systems Regulator and an international pharmaceuticals company.

He has represented the Commission in more than 30 competition law cases before the European Courts, including AstraZeneca, Football Association Premier League (Murphy) and KME v Commission.

  • Competition Work

    James has a very strong grounding in competition law.  He has experience advising on and litigating cases covering the full range of competition law. He worked for the Competition Team of the European Commission’s Legal Service from 2008 to 2014, representing the institution in numerous cases before the European Courts. He has also worked as a référendaire (2003-2007) to Judge John D. Cooke who was one of the pre-eminent competition specialists at the General Court.

    James’ specific experience includes the following:

    Technology / IP cases

    • Acting for Samsung (junior to Jon Turner QC and Meredith Pickford QC) in the Unwired Planet litigation regarding standard essential patents in the High Court and Court of Appeal. James acted as sole counsel in a contested specific disclosure application in the High Court: [2016] EWCA civ 489.
    • Joined Cases C-403/08 and C-429/08 Football Association Premier League (FAPL) v Murphy (ECLI:EU:C:2011:631): preliminary reference from the High Court regarding territorial limitations imposed by the FAPL on national broadcasters showing Premier League football games.  Represented the Commission as competition counsel before the Grand Chamber of the CJEU.
    • Joined Cases T-148/10 and T-149/10 Hynix: challenge to the Commission’s Article 9 commitments decision relating to the alleged Rambus “patent ambush” on standard essential patents relating to DRAM.
    • Advising as a member of the Commission’s Legal Service on the Qualcomm investigation arising from complaints that Qualcomm’s licensing policy with respect to standard essential patents breached Article 102.
    • Advising as a member of the Commission’s Legal Service on the “Internet Explorer” Article 102 case which led to the Microsoft browser commitments decision.


    • Acting for a major pharmaceuticals company with respect to allegations of abuse of dominance in the UK.
    • Case C-457/10 P AstraZeneca v Commission (ECLI:EU:C:2012:770) and Case T-321/05 AstraZeneca v Commission (ECLI:EU:T:2010:266): defending the Commission’s Article 102 decision which found that AstraZeneca abused its dominant position by making misleading representations to patent authorities and by deregistering Losec capsules.
    • Case T-472/13 Lundbeck v Commission: defending the Commission’s first Article 101 infringement decision with respect to patent settlement agreements.
    • Advising as a member of the Commission’s Legal Service with respect to the investigation under Articles 101 and 102 into patent settlement agreements between Servier and generic companies.

    Article 101 / Chapter I advisory

    • Advising the Payment Systems Regulator with respect to the use of competition law powers.
    • Advising an online retailer with respect to various competition law issues in the UK.
    • Advising an aviation company with respect to an IP licensing agreement.
    • As a member of the Commission’s Legal Service, advised on the Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines (OJ C 11, p. 1 of 14 January 2011).

    Cartel investigations / litigation

    • Case C-37/13 P Nexans v Commission (ECLI:EU:C:2014:2030): representing the Commission in the appeal against the judgment of the General Court concerning the legality of the Commission’s inspection decision (power cables cartel).
    • Represented the Commission before the European Courts in numerous cartel cases, including Case C-494/11 P Otis (ECLI:EU:C:2012:356) and T-141/07 a.o. Otis ([2011] ECR II-4977) (elevators and escalators cartel); Case C-679/11 P Alliance One and Case T-38/05 Agroexpansion (Spanish tobacco cartel); Case T-40/10 Elf Aquitaine (ECLI:EU:T:2014:61), T-30/10 Reagens (ECLI:EU:T:2014:253), Joined Cases T-23/10 and T-24/10 Arkema (ECLI:EU:T:2014:62) (heat stabilisers cartel).
    • Advising Tesco with respect to the dairy products investigation (while at Freshfields).


    • Acting for TalkTalk with respect to the 08 numbers (ladders) remittal hearing before the CAT (the hearing was ultimately vacated).
    • Advising as a member of the Commission’s Legal Service on the early phases of the Hutchison 3G UK / Telefonica Ireland case (M.6992).
    • Advising as a member of the Commission’s Legal Service on the T-Mobile/Orange merger decision (M.5650).
  • Public and EU Law

    Cases include:

    • Acting for Mr Grenville Hampshire in an appeal to the High Court against the Pension Protection Fund’s determination of his pension entitlements (Grenville Holden Hampshire v The Board of the Pension Protection Fund [2014] EWHC 4402 (Ch)) and a subsequent appeal to the Court of Appeal (pending). This case raises various classic EU law issues on direct effect, supremacy and consistent interpretation.
    • Representing Greenpeace (junior to Kassie Smith QC) in a judicial review of the UK’s implementation of the new Common Fisheries  Policy before the High Court.
    • Acting in child care age assessment cases before the High Court.
    • R (Solar Century Holdings Ltd and others) v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2014] EWHC 3677 (Admin): assisting Robert Palmer (during pupillage) in this judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to close the Renewables Obligation to new large-scale solar PV generation.
    • Advising a regulatory authority on possible litigation relating to Francovich damages.

    Between 2003 and 2007, James worked as a référendaire to Judge John D. Cooke at the General Court of the European Union. He has worked on a broad range of EU law issues.

  • Legal Education

    1999-2000: Harvard Law School (Cambridge, US) – LL.M.

    1997-1998: College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) – Masters in EU Law.

    1993-1997: Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) – LL.B. (First Class Honours in both final years).

  • Additional Information

    Qualifications: New York Attorney (2001); Irish Solicitor (2004); English Solicitor (2007).

    Languages: French (fluent); Irish (fluent).

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