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MA (Cantab), BA (First Class), BCL (Oxon)
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Philip is an EU law specialist with a particular focus on Competition Law and Telecommunications. He also has experience in Public Procurement, Commercial Litigation and Indirect Tax. He is a recommended junior for Competition/European Law and Telecommunications Law in Chambers and Partners, which has described him as “an absolutely fantastic junior who is extremely bright and knowledgeable about telecoms” “a considered advocate and people really listen to him,” and as having “a great work ethic and is very hands-on.”
Philip appears regularly in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, High Court, Court of Appeal and in the First Tier and Upper Tier Tribunals. He also advises on regulatory proceedings before Ofcom, the OFT, the Competition Commission and the European Commission.
He is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University and a contributing author to recent and current editions of Bellamy and Child’s European Law of Competition (7th edition, OUP 2013 and 8th edition, OUP 2018).
Current and recent cases include:
Philip is heavily involved in litigation both in the CAT and High Court and regularly advises on proceedings before Ofcom, the Competition Commission, the OFT and the European Commission. He has particular expertise in relation to platform markets, mobile networks (including spectrum issues) and pharmaceuticals.
Philip has undertaken a wide range of public procurement work, particularly in connection with the health and defence sector. He frequently advises and represents both private parties and authorities.
Philip advised and appeared on a range of free movement issues. Recent work includes Barco de Vapor BV and Others v Thanet District Council, judicial review and High Court damages action concerning the movement of live animals through UK ports. Past work has included advising or acting in relation to a criminal prosecution for breach of intellectual property rights and the Video Recordings Act 1984; the supply of biomass for electricity generation; and the operation of television broadcasting legislation.
As regards EU consumer protection law, Philip was seconded to the (then) OFT to work on the investigation of unauthorised overdraft bank charges and has advised consumer regulatory authorities on enforcement work, including Retirement Home Exit Fees. He regularly advises private parties in connection with the application of EU consumer legislation, in particular in the telecoms and finance sectors. Clients have included a major mobile network operator, airlines, exam boards and commercial training providers.
He has also undertaken a wide range of other work with an EC law dimension, including agriculture, freedom of establishment and free movement of persons.
Philip also advises and appears in general commercial litigation.
Philip appears in both the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals and the Court of Appeal in relation to VAT matters, and previously appeared in the VAT & Duties Tribunal and Chancery Division. He advises on VAT, customs and excise duties issues, particularly where there is a need for specialist EU or human rights expertise.
Competition Law: “He’s sensible and drafts very well. His advocacy is very good, and he clearly has that element of trustworthiness that judges like. He will be right at the top of the profession in due course.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2023
Telecommunications: “Philip Woolfe is extremely bright.” – Chambers UK, 2023
Leading junior in Telecoms (Regulatory) – Legal 500, 2023
Leading junior in Competition – Legal 500, 2023
“Excels as counsel in EU competition and telecommunications disputes, with sources praising his adept handling of large-scale cases.” – Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2022
Competition Law: “Cuts through issues very quickly and has the confidence and helpful advice on how to deal with the situation.” “He is so smart and writes very well.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2022
Telecommunications: “He is a terrific barrister and a rock-solid telecoms expert.” “He rolled up his sleeves and was super helpful.” – Chambers UK, 2022
Leading junior in IT and Telecoms (Regulatory) – Legal 500, 2022
Leading junior in Competition: “Philip is an outstanding senior junior, more than capable of leading on a substantive case. His advice is commercial and practical, he is user-friendly and a team player, and he is a confident performer on his feet.” – Legal 500, 2022
Competition Law: “He is fantastic on the detail and on his feet, and has the gravitas required to hold a court or tribunal’s attention.” “He knows what arguments will work well with the judge and gets to grips with a case to see exactly how it should be handled.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2021
Telecommunications: “A very quick advocate. who knows the law inside out, and adopts new approaches. He’s responsive, good to work with, and excellent on the technical details.” – Chambers UK, 2021
Leading junior in IT and Telecoms (Regulatory): ‘Makes the most complex of issues easily understandable. One of the most user-friendly barristers around – engaging, bright and practical. Very responsive.’ – Legal 500, 2021
Leading junior in Competition: ‘A star senior junior counsel, renowned for taking on David v Goliath cases and winning against more decorated and senior opponents. Has a mastery of detail and is committed to the client’s cause – leaving no stone unturned. Outstanding work ethic and never found wanting.’ – Legal 500, 2021
Competition Law: “His critical thinking is superb.” “He turns things around quickly, is on top of all of the detail in cases and has good instincts about the right approach to take.” “His direct and clear approach plays well.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2020
Telecommunications: “Exceptionally bright and incredibly unassuming, he works very hard.” “Certainly knows his stuff and has specialist knowledge of the telecoms area.” – Chambers UK, 2020
Leading junior in Competition: ‘A combative advocate who fights the client’s corner.’ – Legal 500, 2020
Competition Law: “Has very good judgement as to how to approach things and what will play well in court.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2019
Telecommunications: “He is very accessible and it is great to work with him.” “He is personable and good to get on with.” – Chambers UK, 2019
Leading junior in Competition: ‘Experienced, calm, and very thorough. He is also thoroughly decent and conscientious.’ – Legal 500, 2018
Competition Law: “He is user-friendly, easy to work with and a great team player with a very good understanding of the law.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Telecommunications: “He has excellent intuition in terms of how to play things tactically.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘He knows each case inside out and knows what is going to play well with the judge.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Competition Law: “He is excellent, turns work around very quickly and is on top of all the detail.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Telecommunications: “An absolutely fantastic junior who is extremely bright and knowledgeable about telecoms. He works well with a range of QCs.” “He’s very energetic and turns the paperwork around very quickly.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Competition Law: “He is very helpful on procurement issues.” – Chambers UK & Chambers Global, 2016
Telecommunications: “He has a really good, softly spoken manner which belies his forceful arguments that can be really effective. He’s also quite a considered advocate and people really listen to him.” “Has a great work ethic and is very hands-on.” – Chambers UK, 2016
Competition Law: “His advocacy is good, and he has the ability to see through a problem and find a way to solve it.” – Chambers UK, 2015
Telecommunications: “He has extremely strong knowledge of telecoms, and can give concise advice very quickly.” – Chambers UK, 2015
Philip Woolfe is listed as an up & coming Junior in Competition Law: Involved in some high-profile damages claims and abuse of dominance cases, he has recently been doing significant work within the pharmaceutical sector. He is also recognised for his additional expertise in telecoms. “Provides very clear advice and drafting,” he is “highly responsive and extremely clever.” Chambers UK, 2014
“Philip Woolfe is quickly gaining a strong foothold in the competition law market. Sources comment that “he belies his years in terms of knowledge and experience,” and confirm that he is a “very sharp, affable and dedicated person.” His recent work includes NHS v Reckitt Benckiser, a matter in which the NHS is claiming damages against Reckitt Benckiser following on from the OFT decision to fine the company over its Gaviscon supply policy.” Chambers UK, 2013
Philip speaks French, German and Italian.
Philip is a committee member of COMBAR and a member of the Competition Law Association, Bar European Group and Procurement Lawyers’ Association.