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 practises across all of Chambers’ specialist areas, with a particular focus on:

  • Competition law (EU and UK)
  • Public law and judicial review (including EU law)
  • Information law
  • Sports law

Michael 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 as part of a legal team in complex, high-value litigation. He has recently been appointed to the Attorney General’s C-Panel of Counsel.

Before qualifying as a barrister, Michael read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he received the 4th highest mark in the University in his final examinations, and the top mark in Philosophy. 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.

Priding himself on the breadth and diversity of his practice, Michael’s clients range from major international businesses, and central government departments to charities and individuals in receipt of legal aid. He is happy to accept pro bono instructions in suitable cases.

  • Competition Law and Commercial Regulation

    Competition law

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

    He is currently instructed on a number of high-profile competition claims proceeding before the English courts, including:

    • Acting (as junior to Jon Turner QC) for British Airways in the long-running Emerald air cargo damages litigation.
    • Acting (as junior for Marie Demetriou QC) for one of the defendants in the damages claims brought by National Grid and Scottish Power following the European Commission’s Power Cables cartel decision.
    • Acting for the proposed defendant in Dorothy Gibson v Prid, the first “opt-out” proceedings brought 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 Arriva The Shires Ltd -v- London Luton Airport Operations Limited [2014] EWHC 64 (Ch).

    As well as regularly acting in complex, high-value competition litigation, Michael has a busy advisory practice, which covers not only antitrust matters but also state aid and merger control issues. He was part of the legal teams that acted for AG Barr and Optimax in the Competition Commission’s respective investigations of mergers involving those companies, successfully obtaining clearance on both occasions.

    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 CMA in its determination of the first appeals under section 11C Electricity Act against an Ofgem price control.
    • 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 public law cases often regularly involve human rights and Equality Act issues.

    He regularly appears as sole counsel in the Administrative Court, with a particular focus on Children Act cases (including age assessments), community care, education and asylum/ immigration (including unlawful detention claims). In this public law practice 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 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.

    Significant work to date includes:

    • 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). The Secretary of State’s appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal in February 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 in an age dispute case involving multiple witnesses. 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.  The claim is listed for substantive hearing in February 2017.
    • O v Secretary of State for International Development: 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;

    Michael also regularly provides advice, drafting and representation in the field of public procurement, and has a detailed understanding of the various EU directives and UK regulations in this area. Notable instructions include:

    • Appearing as sole counsel for a domestic abuse charity in a “suspension” hearing in the High Court;
    • Acting for two central government departments in connection with a long-running damages claim arising from a terminated procurement for search and rescue helicopters,which recently settled on favourable terms for Michael’s terms.
  • 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 (judgment awaited).
    • 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 under 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”.

    Michael is regularly instructed by the Information Commissioner’s Office in connection with appeals under FOIA and the EIR.

    Together with Gerry Facenna QC, Michael has written several practice notes for the Practical Law Company on the law concerning FOIA exemptions.

  • 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 several 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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