Michael Armitage

Call 2011
Education
BA (Hons), Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Oxford) (1st Class); Graduate Diploma in Law, City University (Distinction)
Contact the Clerks

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

Michael has a busy practice across all of Chambers’ core areas, with a particular focus on Competition law (EU and UK), judicial review, freedom of information and sports law. He is a member of the Attorney-General’s C-Panel. He has appeared as sole counsel in the High Court (in each of the Chancery Division, Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, Commercial Court and Mercantile Court), the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal, the First-tier Tribunal and a range of country courts. He also regularly works alongside other barristers as part of a legal team, often in complex, high-value litigation.

Michael has a broad and diverse practice: he regularly acts for both claimants and defendants, with clients ranging from major international businesses and central government departments to charities and individuals in receipt of legal aid. He is also happy to accept pro bono instructions in suitable cases.

Before qualifying as a barrister, Michael read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he received the top mark in the University in Philosophy finals, and the 4th highest overall mark in the University. He then worked as a parliamentary researcher and caseworker in the House of Commons before completing his GDL (with Distinction) and BPTC (Outstanding, ranked 5th in year) at City University, London.

 

  • Competition Law and Commercial Regulation

    Competition law

    Michael’s competition law practice covers litigation and advisory work across the full spectrum of EU and UK competition law, with a particular emphasis on standalone and follow-on cartel damages claims and private abuse of dominance claims.

    He is currently instructed on some of the most of high-profile competition claims in this jurisdiction, including:

    • Acting (as junior to Jon Turner QC) for British Airways in the “air cargo” cartel damages litigation in the Chancery Division.
    • Acting (as junior to Marie Demetriou QC) for one of the defendants in tcartel damages claims brought by National Grid and Scottish Power in the Chancery Division following the European Commission’s Power Cables cartel decision.
    • Acting for the proposed defendant in Dorothy Gibson v Pride, the first claim brought in the Competition Appeal Tribunal under the new collective proceedings regime introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

    Michael’s previous competition law litigation experience includes acting for the successful claimant in a private abuse of dominance claim, culminating in a three-week trial in the Chancery Division:  Arriva The Shires Ltd -v- London Luton Airport Operations Limited [2014] EWHC 64 (Ch).

    Michael is a published author in one of the leading academic journals in this field (“Competition Law, land agreements and the decision in Martin Retail Group Ltd v Crawley Borough Council: an opportunity missed?”, Competition Law Journal (Vol 11, issue 3, 2014)).

    Commercial regulation

    Michael also has substantial experience of commercial regulation in a variety of contexts, from utilities to telecommunications. Major cases to date include:

    • NPg / British Gas v OFGEM: Michael advised the Competition and Markets Authority in its determination of the first appeals against an Ofgem price control under section 11C of the Electricity Act.
    • OFGEM v SSE Energy Supply Limited: Michael was instructed (as junior to Daniel Beard QC) by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority in a mis-selling case which resulted in the largest fine ever imposed by OFGEM, and which attracted significant media coverage.
    • Tata v Welsh Water: Advising Ofwat in its determination of a bulk supply pricing dispute under the Water Industry Act 1991
    • Advising the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on its proposals for reform of the appeals system in the telecoms sector.
  • Public Law and Judicial Review

    Michael undertakes a broad range of public law and judicial review work, including cases with a commercial/EU law focus. His cases in this area often raise human rights and Equality Act issues.

    He regularly appears as sole counsel in the Administrative Court and Upper Tribunal, with a particular focus on discrimination claims, Children Act cases (including age assessments), community care, education and asylum/ immigration (including unlawful detention claims). In this context he brings to bear his substantial experience of civil litigation in other contexts. He has successfully overturned numerous paper refusals of permission at oral renewal hearings, and obtained both interim and final relief (including inter partes costs awards) in numerous judicial review claims. He is happy to take on legal aid work, and to act on urgent cases at short notice. He also regularly acts as junior counsel in major public law proceedings, both at first instance and on appeal.

    Recent and ongoing work includes:

    • DA and Others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Currently acting (as junior to Ian Wise QC and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC) for the Claimants in a high-profile challenge to the government’s “benefit cap” legislation. Listed for substantive hearing in May 2017.
    • Liberty v Secretary of State for the Home Department. Acting (as junior to James Eadie QC, Daniel Beard QC and Gerry Facenna QC) for the Home Office in Liberty’s challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (which follows the Watson litigation in the High Court and the Court of Justice).
    • AA v Secretary of State for the Home Department: acting for the Claimant in a landmark unlawful detention claim raising novel issues concerning the Secretary of State’s powers to detain children under the Immigration Act 1971. Michael won the substantive hearing on liability (appearing unled and against a silk): see [2016] EWHC 1453 (Admin). Michael was subsequently led by Ian Wise QC in the Court of Appeal, again successfully: see [2017] EWCA Civ 138.
    • E v London Borough of Islington. Acting (as junior to Ian Wise QC) for the Claimant in a damages claim based on alleged breach of the right to education (Article 2 Protocol 1 of the ECHR). Judgment is awaited following a substantive hearing in March 2017.
    • easyBus v Stansted Airport Limited. Acting (as junior to Paul Harris QC in successfully defending commercial judicial review proceedings brought by a bus company in respect of an airport operator’s use of bye-laws to control access to airport premises).
    • AA v Birmingham City Council. Acting as sole counsel for the Claimant at the final trial of an age dispute case (December 2016). After Michael had completed his cross-examination, the Defendant conceded all aspects of the claim and agreed to pay Michael’s client’s inter partes costs in full.
    • R(C) v London Borough of Islington. Acting (as junior to Ian Wise QC) for the claimant in a challenge to a local authority’s allocation scheme for social housing, alleging breach of the reasonable preference duty in Part VI of the Housing Act 1996, as well as unlawful discrimination under the ECHR and the Equality Act 2010.  Judgment is awaited following a substantive hearing in February 2017.
    • O v Secretary of State for International Development. Acting for the claimants in their challenge to DFID’s assessment of the government of Ethiopia’s compliance with the conditions for the grant of development aid in relation of alleged human rights violations in the context of the “villagisation” programme
    • Ruddick v Nationwide. Acting as sole counsel for a building society in successfully defending a claim under EU pensions regulations;
  • Information Law

    Michael also has a busy practice in the sphere of information law, including cases under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and the Data Protection Act 1998. Significant instructions to date include:

    • Appearing as sole counsel for a local residents’ association in a two-day appeal in the First-Tier Tribunal: Royal Borough of Greenwich v ICO and Brownie. The case involved cross-examination of a number of witnesses as well as detailed legal submissions, and resulted in the Tribunal ordering full disclosure of all information requested by Michael’s client. In light of his success in the Greenwich case, Michael was instructed to act for another requester in an appeal involving disclosure of a viability assessment (Perry v ICO and Hackney), in which Michael successfully obtained full disclosure prior to the final hearing.
    • Appearing (as sole counsel) for the Information Commissioner in Worcestershire City Council v ICO, a 3-day hearing involving cross-examination of multiple witnesses.
    • Acting (as junior to Ian Wise QC) in Willow v ICO , in proceedings concerning the Ministry of Justice’s refusal to disclose a manual containing detail of the restraint techniques used on children in detention (currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal);
    • Advising HMRC in connection with subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to high-profile case of “whistle-blowing”.
  • Sports Law

    Michael has a thriving sports law practice (both in his own right and as a junior counsel), covering arbitration, disciplinary and civil court proceedings. Notable instructions to date include:

    • Acting as sole counsel for a former employee of a major football club in High Court proceedings raising issues of unlawful means conspiracy and fraud;
    • Acting as sole counsel for the Italian rugby player Martin Castrogiovanni in disciplinary proceedings concerning alleged misconduct during a “6 Nations” match;
    • Acting in Rule K arbitration proceedings in agency dispute involving a major Premier League footballer (as junior to Paul Harris QC);
    • Acting in Rule K arbitration proceedings for a director of a major football club in a commercial/company law dispute (as junior to Paul Harris QC);
    • Advising a leading European football club on the compatibility of UEFA’s “financial fair play” rules with EU free movement law;
    • Advising a Premier League club on the possibility of challenging the fielding of an ineligible player by a rival club in the context of “Rule K” arbitration proceedings;
    • Advising a football league club in relation to a contractual dispute with a rival club over a change of mangers;
    • Advising a football club owner in connection with a high-value claim against a rival club for sums due under a settlement agreement;
    • Advising and representing the coach of a leading European rugby team in disciplinary proceedings in relation to allegations of misconduct during a pitch-side brawl.
    • Advising sports teams and companies in relation to potential competition law claims against sports governing bodies.
  • Publications

    “Streetmap gets lost in Google abuse of dominance claim” (article for Lexis PSL, 25/2/16)

    “Competition Law, land agreements and the decision in Martin Retail Group Ltd v Crawley Borough Council: an opportunity missed?” – article in the Competition Law Journal (Vol 11, issue 3, 2014)

    Practical Law Company – author of Practice Notes on various exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (with Gerry Facenna)

    Atkins Court Forms, Contract (2013 issue; with Saima Hanif)

    Regular contributor, Sweet and Maxwell’s Human Rights Law Reports

  • Professional Memberships

    Administrative Law Bar association

    Bar European Group

    British Association for Sport and Law

    Competition Law Association

    Human Rights Lawyers Association

  • Additional Information

    Undergraduate

    • BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Balliol College, Oxford, First Class Honours
    • Ranked 4th in the University overall, and 1st in Philosophy
    • Gibbs Prize for outstanding performance in Philosophy
    • Fletcher Exhibitioner (Balliol College)
    • Coolidge “Pathfinder” Scholarship (Balliol College) – for independent travel and research in the USA

    Legal

    • Diploma in Law from City University, London (2009-2010), Distinction
    • Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School (2010 – 2011), Outstanding (5th in year), including marks of Outstanding in civil advocacy and cross-examination
    • Prince of Wales Scholarship, Grays Inn
    • Everard ver Heyden Foundation Prize for performance on the BPTC
    • Phoenicia Scholarship, Bar European Group (for attendance at BEG conference in Athens)

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