Josh Holmes QC

Call 1997 | Silk 2017
Education
MA (Oxon) - first class; BCL (Oxon); LL.M. Harvard
Contact

+44 (0)20 7405 7211

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Josh is twice winner of the Competition/EU Junior of the Year award (in 2011/12 and 2013/14) and is recognised in Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a leader in European / Competition law and Telecommunications law. He is described in the directories as ‘a superstar’, ‘one of the very best competition / EU lawyers of his generation’, and a ‘compelling advocate’ who is ‘razor sharp on competition issues’, ‘drafts like a dream’ and is ‘capable of demolishing the other side step by step.’

His practice covers all aspects of competition, EU, public and regulatory work.  He appears regularly before courts and regulators in the UK, EU and elsewhere.  His clients range from major multinationals to small firms and regulatory authorities based in a number of jurisdictions.

 

  • Recent / Major Cases

    UK Courts

    • R (Evans) v. Attorney General (Prince Charles’ letters) : Supreme Court
    • BSkyB v. Ofcom (Pay TV): Court of Appeal
    • Google v. Streetmap (competition law damages claim): High Court
    • NHS, Pinewood, Teva and others v. Reckitt Benckiser (Gaviscon follow-on damages claim): High Court
    • TalkTalk v. Ofcom: Court of Appeal
    • EWRG v. Philips, GE, Osram (competition law damages claim): High Court
    • IPCom v. HTC (FRAND/competition law proceedings): High Court
    • Nokia v. HTC (FRAND/competition law proceedings): High Court
    • T-Mobile and O2 v. Ofcom (spectrum litigation): Court of Appeal

    Competition Appeal Tribunal

    • HCA v. CMA (market investigation: private healthcare)
    • Skyscanner v. CMA (market investigation: hotel online booking)
    • Emerson v. Morgan Crucible (follow on damages)
    • Colt v. Ofcom (telecoms regulatory)
    • LLU, MCT and WBA price control appeals

    European Court of Justice / General Court

    • Akzo Nobel v. Commission (Heat Stabilisers – Art.101 appeal)
    • Arkema v. Commission (Heat Stabilisers – Art.101 appeal)
    • MasterCard v Commission (interchange fees – Art.101 appeal)
    • Vtesse v Commission (State aid)
    • BT v Commission (State aid)
    • Ryanair v Commission (State aid)
    • Frucona v Commission (State aid)
    • Garantonava v Commission (State aid)
    • Hitachi v Commission (Gas Insulated Switchgear – Art.101 appeal)
    • Fuji v Commission (Gas Insulated Switchgear – Art.101 appeal)
    • CTRS v Commission (pharmaceuticals regulation)
    • Japan Airlines v Commission (Air cargo – Art.101 appeal)
    • Cathay Pacific v Commission (Air cargo – Art.101 appeal)
    • Rynes (data protection)
  • Competition / Regulatory

    Josh has twice been awarded Competition and EU junior of the year (in 2011 and 2013) and has been described in Chambers 100 as ‘one of the very best competition / EU lawyers of his generation’.  His competition practice covers all aspects of EU and UK competition law.  In the course of his practice, he regularly:

    • represents clients in front of the UK competition regulators and the European Commission;
    • appears in appeals against infringement decisions and State aid decisions in the UK and the EU;
    • acts in competition law damages claims;
    • provides specialist competition expertise in IP proceedings; and
    • advises clients and regulators on the application of EU and UK competition law generally.

    He is also a leading practitioner in relation to sector-specific regulation, with a particular focus on the communications sector (including the internet); pharmaceuticals / healthcare; energy; and financial services.

  • EU Law

    Josh appears regularly in the EU courts in Luxembourg, representing the UK government, private businesses and the European Commission.  Before beginning practice at the Bar, he worked at the Court of Justice of the EU as a referendaire in the cabinet of Advocate General Francis Jacobs.  He frequently also acts in litigation in the UK courts having an EU law aspect.

  • What the Directories Say

    Competition Law: “He is good on his feet, a good advocate who works very hard and is very user-friendly.”Chambers UK, 2018

    European Law: “A very good opponent who is well prepared and enviably articulate.”Chambers UK, 2018

    Telecommunications:  “A brilliant lawyer who is very easy to work with and very bright. He provides clear and honest advice.” “Josh has lots of experience of fronting cases. He is great to deal with and gets to the heart of a problem.”Chambers UK, 2018

    New Silk in Competition: ‘‘He marries technical expertise and strategic excellence with whole-hearted commitment.’’Legal 500, 2017

    New Silk in EU Law: ‘‘User-friendly and pragmatic in his approach.’’Legal 500, 2017

    New Silk in Telecoms (regulatory): ‘‘An excellent silk.’’Legal 500, 2017

    Competition – Future Leaders 2017: Barristers Analysis: “Josh Holmes QC has a “well-deserved reputation for excellence” according to clients, with a practice that covers all areas of competition law.” WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL), 2017

    Competition: “Josh Holmes QC has taken silk this year. He was one of the most highly rated juniors in our research. One source says, ‘he is incredibly clever, measured and calm’.” WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR, 2017

    Competition Law: “He is very bright and personable, and fits into a team really well.”Chambers UK, 2017

    European Law: “He is a very strong EU law practitioner” who “can more than hold his own when pitted against a bunch of silks.”Chambers UK, 2017

    Telecommunications: “He is outstanding and incredibly good to work with. He’s ultra-sensible and you know you’ll end up with a case that is really well thought through.” “An absolute gentleman and a very able advocate.”Chambers UK, 2017

    Leading junior in EU and Competition: “He works extraordinarily hard to master the nuances of a case; a tremendous senior junior.” – Legal 500, 2016

    Leading junior in Telecoms (regulatory): “An effective advocate and a real team player.”Legal 500, 2016

    Competition: Impresses peers and clients time and again with his “excellent court sense” and “eloquent advocacy skills”. Combined with his vast experience before courts and regulators in the UK and EU, he is regularly referred to as “the best junior in his field”. WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR, 2016

    Telecommunications: A “creative and knowledgeable barrister”, with the ability to work “exceptionally well with clients”.WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR, 2016

    Telecommunications: “A personable, warm advocate who appeals to the court, and is a bright, prodigious worker.”Chambers UK, 2016

    Competition Law: “Very hard-working, very forensic and a good draftsman.” “He is a tremendous asset to any team.”Chambers UK & Chambers Global, 2016

    European Law: “Super-smart”, “An excellent junior; very commercial” – Chambers UK, 2016

    ”He has all the qualities you would expect in a top barrister.” Leading junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2015

    ”He has a very sensible, practical approach.” Leading Junior in Telecoms Law. Legal 500, 2015

    Competition Law: “He is a superstar; clients use him as an alternative to a silk.” “Absolutely first-rate, he’s responsive, switched-on, pragmatic and very easy to use.”Chambers UK, 2015

    European Law: “A very able barrister whom it is a pleasure to work with.” Chambers UK, 2015

    Telecommunications: “A smooth operator with an encyclopaedic knowledge of this area.” He “drafts like a dream” and is “capable of demolishing the other side step by step.”Chambers UK, 2015

    Telecommunications: “The “outstanding” Josh Holmes has years of experience serving clients with complex matters in communications regulation including online matters. He is “one of the leading practitioners in the field” and clients admire his “hard-working” ethic.”Who’s Who Legal ,2015

    Competition: “Josh Holmes is a “clear and articulate” barrister with a practice covering all aspects of EU and UK competition law.” – Who’s Who Legal, 2015

    ‘Smart, incisive and pragmatic.’ Josh is ranked as a top tier Leading Junior in EU & Competition Law – Legal 500, 2014

    ‘Extremely bright and commercial in his outlook.’ Josh is ranked as a top tier Leading Junior in Telecommunications Law – Legal 500, 2014

    Josh Holmes is one of the very best competition / EU lawyers of his generation. He is regularly called upon to take part in the major cases in the field and is many top silks’ first choice for junior… Solicitors say that “Josh has an exceptional mind and ability to take complex legal matters and present them in a business-friendly manner. His formidable intellectual skill is matched by his first class service and genuine approachability.” Chambers 100

    Under Competition Law: Josh Holmes is ranked as a Star Individual. He earns high praise as one of the most impressive senior juniors in the competition arena, and is highly valued for his familiarity with the European courts. “He is very bright and has an excellent ability to distil complex economic evidence and complicated legal arguments into a comprehensible form.” “Has a sharp mind and pragmatic, commercial skills.”Chambers UK, 2014

    Under Telecommunications Law: Has established a fine reputation acting for regulators. Following stints working at both the ECJ and the EC, he has now become known as a skilled advocate who is active in both the CAT and Court of Appeal. “He has top analytical ability and excellent knowledge of EU and competition law.” “He offers great logical arguments and clear advocacy.”Chambers UK, 2014

    Josh Holmes is highly praised by his fellow barristers for his eloquent delivery, excellent client manner and “good grasp of both the big picture and details””GCR Barrister Survey, 2013

    Competition & European Law: “The “unassuming, very able and very client-friendly” Josh Holmes is highlighted for his “ability to illustrate points very well” and is praised as being “as clever as they get.” In the past year he was instructed by Ofcom in BSkyB’s appeal against the pay-TV decision.” Chambers UK, 2013

    Josh Holmes is a recommended leading junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2012

    Under Competition/European Law “highly sought after junior Josh Holmes “is a delight to work with,” according to his solicitor fan base. “He is a really easy person to get on with, extremely clever in an understated way and very collaborative in his approach,” say those that use him. He has been instructed on appeals against the gas-insulated switchgear cartel decision and is also acting in a major state aid appeal.” – Chambers UK, 2012

    For Telecommunications, “Josh Holmes “impresses clients and speaks their language.” A man with “considerable commercial acumen and strong analytical skills,” he offers “perfect off-the-shelf advice and he gets it spot-on every time.” Holmes regularly appears for Ofcom.” – Chambers UK, 2012

    EU & Competition Law recommends Josh Holmes “who ‘always makes himself available and provides excellent advice that the client finds incredibly useful’ and has a ‘unique combination of economic, legal and regulatory experience’.” Legal 500, 2011

    “”Josh Holmes is widely recognised as one of the most talented juniors in the UK, with one rival claiming: “he will be a leader in the future”. His busy workload includes representing National Grid in its abuse of dominance appeal against Ofgem, and is advising ISG Pearce in its appeal against the OFT’s construction cartel decision. Holmes is also counsel to Ryanair in the OFT’s probe over its minority stake in Aer Lingus, and has represented the airline in the General Court in Luxembourg.”” – Global Competition Review: Barrister Survey, 2011

    The calibre of Josh Holmes’s work has not gone unnoticed. Increasingly popular, he has appeared in well-publicised matters such as the Spectrum litigation, and has also had roles in such matters as Carphone Warehouse v Ofcom & BT. ‘His initially unassuming, quiet manner belies the fact that he is a really punchy advocate,’ according to interviewees” – Chambers UK, 2011 (Competition/European law)

    “Praised for being polite but persistent,’ Josh Holmes is ‘a highly persuasive advocate who profoundly analyses his cases.’ His recent cases include acting for Ofcom in Carphone Warehouse v Ofcom & BT, a telecoms price control case before the CAT.” – Chambers UK, 2011 (Telecommunications law)

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