Michael Collins

Michael Collins SC

Call: 1978 | Senior Counsel 1994 (Ireland)

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    (SC) Ireland. M.A. (U.C.D., First Class), LL.M (U.C.D., First Class), LL.M. (U.Penn)

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    • Call to Irish Bar (1978)
    • Call to New York Bar (1981)
    • Call to English Bar (1987)
    • Silk (Ireland) (1994)
    • Call to Bar of US Supreme Court (2003)
    • Call to Northern Ireland Bar (2011)

    Michael is a leading silk in commercial, competition and EU law at the Irish Bar and is a member of Lincoln’s Inn and Middle Temple. He practices from 4 Arran Square, Arran Quay, Dublin 7. Holding Masters degrees in economics and law respectively from University College Dublin and an LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania, Michael started his career as an associate with Shearman & Sterling in New York in the early 1980s before commencing practice at the Irish Bar. In 1996 Michael was appointed by the Irish Government as Chairman of the Competition and Mergers Review Group the majority of whose recommendations were subsequently implemented into Irish law in the Competition Act 2002.

    Michael appears regularly before the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Ireland and frequently appears before the Court of Justice of the EU.  He also has an extensive practice in commercial arbitration (domestic and international) both as counsel and as arbitrator.  He has had appointments as arbitrator from the ICC Court of Arbitration, the London Court of International Arbitration and is one of Ireland’s representatives on the ICC Commission on Arbitration.  He is also a member of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) Panel of Arbitrators and is a former President of Arbitration Ireland.  Michael is Chairman of the Irish Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (Irish Sports Council), former President of Irish Rule of Law International and a former Chairman of the Bar Council of Ireland for two years.

    He was elected an ordinary Bencher of Middle Temple in 2022 and a Bencher of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns in 2007 of which he is also a Council member. The following year he was elected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers in the United States of which he is now also a director. Michael has been a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Maynooth University on Legal Aspects of Competition and Regulation in Maynooth’s Master of Economic Science Programme.  He is currently Adjunct Professor of Law at UCD Sutherland Law School. In the much more interesting parts of his life he is a board member of the Irish Film Institute, a former Council member of the Dublin Theatre Festival and a member of the Wexford Opera Development Council.

    • News
    • Specialist areas
      • Arbitration
      • Competition law
      • EU law
      • Commercial law
      • Insolvency
    • Recent / major cases


      European Court of Justice

      • Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook and Schrems (pending). Counsel for Data Protection Commissioner in Article 237 reference as to whether personal data transfers by Facebook from Europe to the United States under Standard Contractual Clauses comply with EU data protection requirements.
      • National Roads Authority v Revenue Commissioners (19th January 2017). Counsel for National Roads Authority in dispute over alleged obligation to charge VAT on tolls collected on toll roads having regard to fiscal neutrality principle.
      • Hogan & Ors. v Minister for Social and Family Affairs & Ors (25th April 2013). Counsel for ex Waterford Glass employees establishing that State failure to compensate members of company pension scheme which is seriously in deficit was a breach of the State’s obligations under the EU Insolvency Directive.
      • Dokie and Ajibola v Refugee Applications Commissioner (31st January 2013). Counsel for State on question of whether Irish procedures for dealing with refugee and asylum applications provide the effective remedy required by the relevant EU Directive.
      • European Commission v Ireland (14th March 2013). Counsel for State in Commission challenge to reduced VAT rate in Ireland applicable to bloodstock industry.
      • Vale Epitesi Ktg. (14th September 2011). Counsel for Ireland. Issue concerned entitlement of Hungarian company to register an Italian company as its predecessor having regard to the Treaty freedom of establishment rights in context of formation of a company.
      • Jakubowska v Maneggia (2nd December 2010). Counsel for Ireland in dispute concerning Italian rules prohibiting the practice of the profession of lawyer concurrently with employment as a part-time public employee.
      • Akzo Nobel v European Commission (14th September 2010). Counsel for Ireland in appeal from CFI decision refusing to extend legal professional privilege to communications between in-house lawyer and company.
      • European Commission v Ireland (27th November 2008). Counsel for Ireland. Commission alleging failure to properly implement Directives on the environment.
      • Fidium Finanz v Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (3rd October 2006). Counsel for Ireland in dispute concerning free movement of capital from a non-Member State.
      • Re Eurofoods IFSC Ltd. (2nd May 2006). Counsel for petitioner (Bank of America). Conflict between winding up jurisdiction claimed by Italian court and Irish Court under EU insolvency regulation.
      • Masterfoods Ltd. v HB Ice Cream Ltd.: C-344/98 (2001). Counsel for HB. Competition law. Relationship between Commission decisions and national courts. Alleged abuse of dominant position.

      US Supreme Court

      • BG Group plc v Argentina. US Supreme Court (5th March 2014). Amicus Curiae brief supporting defendant in issue on court review of arbitral award in investor-state arbitration.

      Supreme Court of Ireland

      • Dermot Desmond v Mr. Justice Michael Moriarty (27th November 2017) (judgment pending). Counsel for Plaintiff seeking set aside of previous Supreme Court decision rejecting judicial review of aspect of work of Tribunal of Inquiry.
      • FG v Child and Family Agency (18th July 2017). Counsel for plaintiff in appeal against orders governing access of plaintiff to her children.
      • Templeville v Leopardstown (11th July 2017). Counsel for Plaintiff seeking to set aside settlement agreement of earlier dispute concerning leisure centre at racecourse on ground of misrepresentation.
      • Persona Digital Telephony v Minister for Public Enterpise (31st May 2017). Counsel for plaintiffs in €500m claim against State arising from alleged corruption in the tender process for the award of a mobile telephone licence. Supreme Court held third party funding agreement contravened law on maintenance and champerty.
      • McNamee v Revenue Commissioners (22nd June 2016). Counsel for taxpayers in appeal against Revenue assessment based on tax avoidance legislation.
      • Vieira Limited v Revenue Commissioners (20th October 2015). Counsel for plaintiff in appeal concerning validity of value added tax assessment.
      • Jordan v Ireland (24th April 2015). Counsel for State defending petition seeking to set aside result of constitutional referendum on children’s rights.
      • Whelan v AIB (30th January 2014). Counsel for bank in appeal against dismissal of plaintiff’s claim that €25m loan was non-recourse loan.
      • KBC Bank v Byrne Wallace (25th July 2013). Counsel for bank in professional negligence action arising from property-related lending where bank’s security transpired to be defective.
      • Viridian v Commission for Electricity Regulation. (23rd February 2012). Counsel for Commission in appeal defending judicial review of Commission decision on ability of electricity generators to reflect in bid prices to electricity pool a State imposed carbon levy designed to claw back windfall profits arising from European Commission grant to generators of free carbon allowances.
      • Director of Corporate Enforcement v Seymour (6th December 2011). Counsel for Executive Director National Irish Bank against whom disqualification order sought.
      • Re McInerney Ltd. (In Examinership) (22nd July 2011). Counsel for bank syndicate opposing scheme of arrangement proposed by Examiner.
      • Re Linen Supply (In Examinership) (10th December 2010). Counsel for Examiner in contested application for approval of examinership rescue scheme.
      • Sweetman v Galway County Council and Ireland (2nd June 2010). Counsel for Ireland in judicial review concerning Ireland’s implementation of Habitats Directive (issue subsequently referred by Supreme Court to Court of Justice).
      • Abbeydrive Developments v Kildare County Council (28th July 2010). Counsel for applicant seeking declaration for default planning permission.
      • Murphy v Mahon Tribunal (21st April 2010). Counsel for public Tribunal of Inquiry into planning corruption in judicial review of decision on costs based on substantive findings of dishonesty.
      • Mahon Tribunal v Keena (26th November 2009). Counsel for Tribunal seeking to compel Irish Times to disclose source of confidential leaked documents. Issue concerned journalistic privilege under Irish Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.
      • Director of Corporate Enforcement v Byrne (23rd July 2009). Counsel for defendant successfully opposing Director’s application to disqualify defendant from acting as officer or director of a company following investigation into fraud at National Irish Bank.
      • BUPA v Health Insurance Authority and Minister for Health (16th July 2008). Counsel for BUPA. Challenge to risk equalisation scheme in health insurance sector on grounds of breach of EC Treaty competition rules and Third Non-Life Directive.
      • DIAL v. Campus Ireland (25th October 2007). Counsel for defendant. Dispute over award of contract for National Aquatic Centre.
      • Fitzwilton Ltd. v Mahon (4th July 2007). Counsel for Tribunal of Inquiry under Tribunal of Inquiries Act 1921 investigating planning corruption.
      • Competition Authority v O’Regan (8th May 2007). Counsel for Defendants. Alleged anti-competitive concerted practices and abuse of dominant position.
      • Re Salthill Properties Limited (in receivership) (29th May 2006). Counsel for bank. Priorities dispute and alleged contravention of negative pledge clause.
      • Creaven v Minister for Justice (29th October 2004). Counsel for applicant. Judicial Review of search warrants issued pursuant to request from UK Customs & Excise for purpose of criminal prosecution of alleged VAT fraud.
      • In Re Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Bill 1999 (28th August 2000). Counsel appointed by Supreme Court to argue for unconstitutionality of certain provisions on reference of Bill to Supreme Court by President of Ireland.

      Court of Appeal

      • Albaniabeg v Enel. 8th November 2017 (judgment pending). Counsel for defendant resisting appeal against High Court refusal of application to enforce Albanian judgment in Ireland.
      • Denis O’Brien v Red Flag (13th October 2017). Counsel for defendant where Court refused plaintiff’s appeal against High Court refusal to order disclosure of material revealing name of defendant’s client in conspiracy and defamation claim.
      • Quinn Insurance Ltd. (In Administration) v PwC (4th July 2017) (judgment pending). Counsel for Plaintiff in security for costs appeal in auditors’ negligence action.
      • Dun Laoghaoire County Council v Westwood (27th June 2017). Counsel for defendant in dispute as to whether rates subsidizing Council leisure centres amount to illegal State Aid.
      • Smith v Meade, FBD Insurance and Ireland (9th March 2017). Counsel for insurer obtaining reference to CJEU as to alleged horizontal effect of insurance directive.

      High Court

      • Quinn Insurance Limited (In Administration) v PwC (current). Counsel for administrators in €800m claim against former auditors.
      • Defender Ltd. v HSBC. Counsel for plaintiff in Madoff fraud related litigation (current).
      • Dunnes Stores v Point Village Developments (in receivership) (14th November 2017). Counsel for receivers obtaining release of €5.5m pursuant to terms of development agreement for major retail centre.
      • Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook and Schrems (3rd October 2017). Counsel for DPC obtaining High Court reference to Court of Justice of EU on issue as to whether personal data transfers by Facebook from Europe to the United States under Standard Contractual Clauses comply with EU data protection requirements.
      • Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (In Liquidation) (current). Counsel for Special Liquidators disposing of loans and assets of toxic bank and related litigation.
      • Denis O’Brien v Clerk of Dail Eireann (31st March 2017). Counsel for Parliament in dismissal of claim by plaintiff that entitled to damages for disclosure of his financial affairs by member of parliament.
      • On The Beach Limited v Ryanair (current). Counsel for plaintiff in dispute with Ryanair over access to website reservation data.
      • Mount Capital v PwC; Mount Capital –v- Deloitte (current). Counsel for plaintiff in negligence claims against auditors of investment funds related to Madoff fraud.
      • Goode v CRH and Kilsaran (current). Counsel for defendant in claim for damages on foot of alleged anti-competitive cartel.
      • O’Leary v Volkswagen (9th December 2016). Counsel for Volkswagen defending claim for unlawful termination of motor dealership.
      • Debenhams (Ireland) Ltd. (In Examinership) (19th August 2016). Counsel for Debenhams in successful restructuring through examinership.
      • White v Bar Council (22nd July 2016). Counsel for Bar Council; judgment upholding Code of Conduct provision preventing retired judge from practicing in court in which he sat.
      • Vodafone v ComReg and Three (June 2015). Counsel for Three in judicial review of Regulator’s decision in respect of spectrum allocation.
      • Philip Morris (2012-2015). Counsel for tobacco company resisting introduction of plain packaging legislation in Ireland.
      • Eircom v Revenue Commissioners (October 2014). Counsel for Eircom in dispute over capital gains tax liability arising from debt refinancing transactions.
      • Irish League of Credit Unions v Central Bank (April 2014). Counsel for plaintiffs in judicial review of regulatory decisions of Central Bank.
      • Muldoon v Dublin City Council (December 2013). Counsel for plaintiffs in claim that liberalisation of taxi market constituted abuse of dominant position and unlawful State Aid.
      • Yukos Capital v Tomskneft (November 2013). Counsel for defendant resisting application by plaintiff to enforce New York arbitral award in Ireland.
      • AA v HSBC and M&B (October 2013). Counsel for Spanish bank defendant in Madoff related fraud litigation.
      • BUPA (Ireland) Limited & Anor. v Health Insurance Authority & Ors. (30th April 2013). Counsel for BUPA in €300m damages claim against the State for breach by the State of EU competition and free movement of services obligations by the introduction of a risk equalisation scheme which at an earlier stage in the litigation was struck down by the Supreme Court as ultra vires the Minister’s powers.
      • Shannon LNG v Commission for Energy Regulation (March 2013). Counsel for Regulator in judicial review challenge to decision setting transmission tariffs alleged to have anti-competitive effects and to constitute State Aid.
      • Treasury Holdings v National Asset Management Agency (July 2012). Counsel for plaintiff in challenge to NAMA decision rejecting refinancing proposals for property development company and appointing statutory receivers.
      • Offsite Archive Storage and Integrated Services Holdings Limited v Porter (June 2012). Counsel for plaintiffs in dispute over share acquisition.
      • Doherty v Referendum Commission (May 2012). Counsel for Referendum Commission in challenge alleging that Commission had failed to carry out its statutory duties in relation to the Irish referendum on the Fiscal Treaty.
      • Evans v University College Cork (1st December 2010). Counsel for UCC in judicial review of finding of sexual harassment against lecturer.
      • Dunnes v Point Village (6th July 2010). Counsel for Point Village in dispute over major retail development in docklands.
      • Hemat v Medical Council (29th April 2010). Counsel for Medical Council in judicial review of unfitness finding.
      • Dublin City Council v Westwood (26th April 2010). Counsel for Westwood concerning non-compliance with planning permission for sports club and night club.
      • Ryanair v Commission for Aviation Regulation (15th April 2010). Counsel for Commission in judicial review of Commission decision concerning airport charges.
      • Competition Authority v Licensed Vintners Association (24th July 2009). Counsel for Licensed Vintners in dispute as to whether recommendation as to cap on prices infringed competition law.
      • Kerry Group (Rye Investments) v Competition Authority (19th March 2009)  Counsel for Kerry Group in successful challenge to decision of Competition Authority prohibiting merger.
      • Moorview Developments v First Active plc and Jackson (6th March 2009). Counsel for receiver (defendant) appointed by bank over construction company (plaintiff). Plaintiff alleging fraud and negligence, claim dismissed.
      • Irishenco Construction v Dublin City Council (20th February 2009). Counsel for arbitrator resisting application to set aside award and remove arbitrator.
      • Irish Distillers v. Cooley Distillery (4th July 2008). Counsel for plaintiff. Injunction to restrain sale of whiskey to Russia under confusingly similar label.
      • Ryanair v. Commissioner of Aviation Regulation (11th April 2008). Counsel for Commission in challenge to decision on Dublin Airport charges.
      • Goshawk v. Life Receivables (Ireland) Ltd. (27th February 2008). Counsel for plaintiffs. Case alleging fraud in connection with sale of insurance investment in US.
      • Re International Securities Trading Corporation (17th December 2007). Appointment of examiner to insolvent company affected by sub-prime crisis.
      • Greencore plc v Government of Ireland (14th June 2007). Counsel for Greencore. Challenge to Government allocation of €145m restructuring aid under EC Directive relating to sugar processing industry.
      • Starr International v AIG (2nd February 2007). Evidence pursuant to Letter of Request under Foreign Tribunals Evidence Act 1856 concerning beneficial ownership of AIG shares for purpose of proceedings in United States.
      • Zappone v Revenue Commissioners (14th December 2006). Counsel for Applicants challenging compatibility of ban on homosexual marriage with Irish Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.
      • Zockoll Group v Controller of Patents (17th October 2006). Counsel for plaintiff in appeal concerning registration of trademark “1800 FLOWERS”.


      • Dublin/Monaghan Bombing Commission (2007). Counsel advising Commission investigating responsibility for terrorist bombings.
      • Irish Athletics Association v Turnbull, Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, (30th October 2006). Counsel for athlete in challenge to doping finding.
      • Hutchison 3G Ireland Ltd. v Commission for Communication Regulation, Electronic Communications Appeal Panel (26th September 2005). Counsel for Hutchison challenging ComReg decision that Hutchison had significant market power in wholesale voice call termination market.
      • O’Connor v. FEI. (April 2005). Counsel for Cian O’Connor (Olympic gold medal winner) in appeal hearing in Zurich over doping allegation in Olympic Games 2004.


      Arbitrator in a wide variety of domestic and international arbitrations including:

      • Dispute between two Russian owners of Russian business.
      • Dispute between companies in United States, Cyprus and British Virgin Islands over contracts.
      • Dispute between vendor and purchaser of shares in ship engine manufacturer.
      • Dispute between UK company and Greek company in relation to a distribution agreement for electrical appliances. (The challenge to this award was dismissed by the Swiss Supreme Court on 30th September 2013, Case Ref. 4A_232/2013).
      • Dispute between US company and Irish company over significant cost overruns in construction of pharmaceutical plant.
      • Dispute between Irish company and Taiwanese company concerning supply of parts and components and alleged misappropriation of intellectual property.
      • Dispute between building company and insurer concerning allegation that insolvency of company caused by insurer’s failure to honour insurance policy.
      • Dispute between chairperson of non-statutory inquiry and government Minister.
      • Shareholder dispute between Italian company and Bermudian company.
      • Dispute between property developer and insurer concerning liability for defects subsequently emerging in houses.
      • Dispute between UK airline and German company concerning intellectual property rights.
      • Dispute between purchasers of investment bonds, brokers who sold the bonds and insurers.
    • Publications
      • “International Commercial Arbitration and Competition Law; Private Choices and Mandatory Rules” in Ruane, Barniville and O’Callaghan (eds.). Essays in Honour of Rory Brady. (2014).
      • “Interim Measures in International Arbitration” – Chapter on Ireland (co-author) in Newman & Ong (eds.) (2014).
      • “The Arbitration Exception and the Revised Brussels Regulation” in Bradley, Travers & Whelan (eds.). Of Courts and Constitutions: Liber Amicorum in Honour of Nial Fennelly (December 2013).
      • “Economics in Competition Law: The Dismal Scientist in the Courtroom” in Beck & Sheehy-Skeffington (eds.). The Impact of European Law on the Corporate World (2010).
      • Dabbah and Hawk (eds.), Anti-Cartel Enforcement Worldwide (2009).
      • Van den Berg (ed.) 50 Years of the New York Convention: ICCA International Arbitration Conference (2009).
      • Bellamy & Child, European Community Law of Competition (2008) – Consultant Editor for Ireland;
      • Dabbah and Lasok (eds.), Merger Control Worldwide (2005);
      • The Burden and Standard of Proof in Competition Litigation, ERA-Forum 12/2004, (Academy of European Law Trier) page 66.
      • Competition, the Commission and a Firm Purpose of Amendment (2001) 8 Commercial Law Practitioner 3.
      • Report of the Irish Competition and Mergers Review Group (2000).
    • Additional information

      Michael is a regular speaker at conferences.  Among his more recent papers are the following:

      • International Commercial Arbitration in Dublin, (ABA International Section Annual Conference 13th October 2011).
      • Competition Law on Two Sides of the Atlantic (Fordham Law School Summer Programme, 18th July 2011).
      • Bricks, Clicks and Vertical Restraints; New Guidance in Relation to E-Commerce and Online Sales (10th Conference of the Association of European Competition Law Judges, 17th June 2011).
      • West Tankers – Has Arbitration Already Forged a European Judicial Culture? (European Circuit of the UK Bar Annual Conference 19th November 2010).
      • Parallel Proceedings, Anti-Suit Injunctions and the Brussels Regulation: The Italian Torpedo Still Firing After All These Years (ICC Arbitration Conference, 12th November 2010 Vienna).
      • Dispute Resolution and Choice (International Arbitration Conference, Dublin 18th June 2010).
      • The Arbitration Act 2010 and Public Policy (Bar Council Conference, 12th June 2010).
      • Dublin as a Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (Arbitration Ireland Conference, New York, 11th May 2010.
      • Should Tesco Sell Justice? The Myths and Merits of Self-Regulation (International Council of Advocates and Barristers, Sydney, 3rd April 2010).
      • Barristers and Judges – A Question of Ethics (Australian Bar Annual Conference, 28th June 2009).
      • Economics in Competition Law: The Dismal Scientist in the Courtroom (Irish Centre for European Law, 17th November 2008).
      • Cross Border Issues: Differential Implementation Under a Devolved Constitution (Four Jurisdictions Conference, Middle Temple, London, 3rd May 2008).
      • Kill Bill: The War Between Intellectual Property and Competition (Bar Council CPD seminar 30th June 2007).
      • Legal Costs: A House Less Bleak (Bar Annual Conference, Madrid, 26th May 2007).
      • Parmalat, Eurofoods and the Insolvency Directive (UK Insolvency Conference, 5th February 2005).