Rob Williams KC

Rob Williams KC

Call: 2000 | Silk: 2020

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    MA (Oxon), BCL

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    Rob is an experienced leader practicing in competition law, procurement law, and other regulatory litigation. He acts for the range of commercial and public sector clients, and has been described in the Legal Directories as:

    • everything you would want from a competition silk
    • A measured, sensible, lovely advocate
    • a first class brain, very strategic, very commercial
    • a joy to work with
    • strong in court
    • truly outstanding: super clever, brilliant drafting and outstanding judgement
    • extremely talented, approachable and diligent
    • an encyclopaedic mind
    • unimpeachable analytical skills” and
    • one of those barristers who actually seems to care about what the outcome is and works really hard to get you where you need to be”.

    Since 2015, Rob has been Standing Counsel to the Competition and Markets Authority. In 2023, he was awarded Competition Silk of the Year by Chambers and Partners, having previously won the award for Competition Junior of the Year in 2017 and 2019.

    Rob is recommended by the directories as a leading silk in his main practice areas.

    Rob’s work is principally divided between the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal, and he appears frequently in the appellate courts. Rob has appeared in many of the leading cases in competition and public procurement law.

    Before joining Monckton Chambers, Rob worked as an in-house advocate at a large City law firm. His experience has given him a particular insight into the needs of both solicitor and lay clients at all stages of the litigation process, and as a result, Rob places particular importance on being user friendly and accessible.

    • News
    • Competition law

      Rob is an established competition law leader. In 2023, he was awarded Competition Silk of the Year by Chambers and Partners, having previously won the award for Competition Junior of the Year in 2017 and 2019. Rob is recommended as a leading silk in competition law by Chambers and Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal.

      Examples of Rob’s work include:

      Damages claims:

      • Trucks (acting for DAF in multiple damages claims including as leader in “Trial 2”)
      • Phones 4 U v EE and others (acting for Vodafone as competition leader in standalone damages claim)
      • Allianz v Barclays and Ors (acted for JP Morgan in FX damages claims)
      • Foreign Exchange (acting for JP Morgan in individual damages claims and proposed class actions)
      • Gemalto v Infineon (smart card chips, leading case on limitation)
      • Tesco Stores Ltd and Ors v MasterCardTesco Stores Ltd and Ors v Visa (standalone damages claims relating to interchange fees)
      • iiyama v Schott and Ors (follow-on damages claims relating to Cathode Ray Tube Glass; successful strike out application)
      • Deutsche Bahn AG and others v Morgan Crucible v Others (follow-on damages claim arising from the carbon cartel; acted for the Claimants in the CAT, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court)
      • WH Newson v IMI Plc and Ors (damages and contribution claims relating to copper tubes and fittings; succeeded twice in Court of Appeal)
      • Sony v AUO Optronics and Ors (damages claim arising from LCD cartel)
      • Enron Coal Service Limited v EWS Railway Limited (damages action arising from price discrimination in rail services; first “follow-on” claim to reach trial in CAT)

      Collective proceedings:

      • Which? v Qualcomm (acting for the class representative in collective proceedings relating to modem chipsets)
      • RHA v DAF and Ors (acting for DAF in collective proceedings relating to Trucks)
      • Evans v Barclays and Ors, O’Higgins v Barclays and Ors (acted for JPM in class action proceedings relating to FX)

      Competition Act enforcement work:

      As Standing Counsel to the CMA, Rob advises the CMA on anti-trust investigations including a number of ongoing matters. His prior experience includes:

      • FP McCann v CMA (successfully defended CMA’s infringement and penalty decisions regarding concrete drainage products)
      • Balmoral Tanks v CMA (successfully defended the CMA’s information exchange infringement decision in the CAT and Court of Appeal)
      • Advanz Pharma v CMA (JR challenge to CMA’s procedure in Competition Act investigation)
      • CMA v Concordia International Rx (UK Ltd) (successfully resisted warrant challenge)
      • Hotel Online Bookings
      • Tobacco
      • Reckitt Benckiser – Gaviscon
      • RBS / Barclays – loans for professional services
      • OFT’s construction bid rigging investigation


      Rob has acted on many of the most high-profile merger decisions and challenges in recent years, including:

      • Microsoft v CMA
      • Sabre v CMA (jurisdiction challenge)
      • Ecolab v CMA (SLC and remedies challenges)
      • J Sainsbury / Asda (procedural fairness challenge)
      • 21st Century Fox/Sky (advisory)
      • Three/O2 (acting for the UK in the General Court proceedings brought by CK Telecoms)
      • BT/EE (advisory)
      • Muller/Dairy Crest (advisory)
      • Ryanair v CMA/Competition Commission (judicial review of final decision and material change of circumstance decision)
      • SCOP v CMAGroupe Eurotunnel v Competition Commission (judicial review in CAT 2013 and 2014, Court of Appeal 2015)
      • Akzo Nobel NV v Competition Commission (judicial review of merger decision; Court of Appeal 2014)
      • Sky v Competition Commission; Virgin Media v Competition Commission (judicial review on competition and media plurality issues; CAT and Court of Appeal)
      • CTS Eventim v Competition Commission (third party challenge to merger decision)

      Market investigations:

      Rob has advised on many of the market investigations carried out since the Enterprise Act 2002 was established, including the following:

      • Apple v CMA (Mobile Ecosystems investigation)
      • Energy Market Investigation
      • Lafarge Tarmac v Competition Commission (judicial review of Aggregates, Cement and RMX final report)
      • HCA v CMA; AXA v CMA; FIPO v CMA (judicial review of Private Healthcare final report in CAT)
      • BMI and Ors v Competition Commission (judicial review of data room arrangements in Private Healthcare market investigation)
      • Advised on Pay TV Movies investigation (2012)


    • Public procurement

      Rob is recommended as a Band 1 leading junior for Public Procurement Law. He has been described as “a standout junior in high demand for the most high-profile challenges”, “technically superb” and “very user friendly”. Rob advises public authorities, utilities and contractors on a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters concerning both the public sector and utilities rules. He has taught public procurement law at Kings College London.


      Rob’s current and recent major cases include:

      • Abbott v Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (challenge to pathology procurement)
      • CMAC v XC Trains Limited (challenge to rail replacement services procurement)
      • Rail Franchising challenges 2019
      • Alstom, Hitachi and Bombardier v LUL (acted for successful tenderer Siemens on Deep Tube rolling stock challenges).
      • Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust v Lancashire County Council (acted for successful Claimant in challenge to procurement for public health nursing services).
      • Virgin Care Services Limited v NHS Guilford and Waverley CCG and Ors (challenge to procurement of children’s services in Surrey)
      • Airwave Solutions Ltd v Secretary of State for the Home Dept (procurement of a mobile communications network for the emergency services)
      • NATS v Gatwick Airport Ltd (procurement of air traffic control contract)
      • ABP v MoD (Marchwood port concession; acted for successful bidder SGL)
      • Grifols v NHSBT (procurement of blood testing equipment)
      • NP Aerospace v  MoD (conversion of military vehicles)
      • RMT v DfT (judicial review of award of rail franchise contracts)
      • Pearson Driving Assessments Limited v Minister for Cabinet Office (acted for successful bidder LearnDirect)
      • Alstom Transport v (1) Eurostar (2) Siemens (acted for Siemens; successfully resisted Alstom’s application for interim relief and struck out claim for ineffectiveness)
      • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v Newcastle Primary Care Trust (successful application to lift suspension under regulation)
      • Chigwell (Shepherd’s Bush) Ltd v LHA ASRA (successful application to lift suspension)
      • BY Development Ltd v Covent Garden Market Authority (acted for successful bidder)
      • Mouchel Limited v City of Westminster (claim for damages arising from procurement of parking and related services)
      • Partenaire Limited v Department for Finance and Personnel (procurement concerning the management and refurbishment of the office estate of the Northern Ireland Civil Service)
      • Lion Apparel Systems Ltd v Firebuy Ltd (acted for Firebuy in both injunction and damages proceedings)
    • Telecommunications

      Rob has a significant experience in relation to telecoms regulation. He has acted in relation to numerous appeals to the CAT and CC in relation to price control and other matters, and advised on a number of Ofcom’s market reviews.



      His case work includes:

      • Three/O2 merger (acting for the UK in the General Court proceedings brought by CK Telecoms)
      • BT/EE merger
      • Fixed Access Market Review and Charge Controls, Wholesale Broadband Access Market Review and Charge Control.
      • BT v Ofcom; Sky and Talk Talk v Ofcom (appeals against LLU and WLR Charge Control decision)
      • BT v Ofcom (appeal against WBA Charge Control decision concerning BT’s pensions deficient repair payments)
      • Everything Everywhere v Ofcom (appeal to CAT concerning Ofcom’s decision on a dispute involving Stour Marine network)
      • Carphone Warehouse v Ofcom (appeals against LLU and WLR Charge Control)
      • T Mobile and O2 v Ofcom (Administrative Court proceedings concerning auction of 2.6GHz band of spectrum)
    • Energy and utilities regulation

      Rob has extensive experience of regulatory proceedings and litigation in relation to energy and utilities regulation, including:

      • WWU v CMA (judicial review of CMA decision in relation to electricity and gas distribution and transmission licence appeals)
      • SSE v CMA (judicial review of CMA decision in Energy Code Modifications appeal)
      • Firmus Energy v Utility Regulator (licence modification appeal to CMA concerning gas distribution in Northern Ireland).
      • Advising the Civil Aviation Authority in connection with complaints under section 41 of the Airports Act 1986
      • Advising a party to a regulatory investigation conducted by Ofwat
      • Advising Ofgem in connection with issues arising under European legislation
      • Advising the Office of Rail Regulation in connection with DfT’s application for a track access option for the Crossrail project
      • Advising Postcomm on issues arising under the Postal Services Directive and the Postal Services Act 2000
      • E.ON UK Plc v Gas and Electricity Markets Association (Competition Commission decision on the first Energy Code Appeal under the Energy Act 2004)
      • Advising Ofwat on the regulatory aspects of a potential new infrastructure project
      • Acting for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in relation to claims against product providers arising out of the mis-selling of retail investments


    • Consumer law

      Rob advises the CMA on the enforcement of consumer protection legislation.

      Specific matters include:

      • CMA v viagogo AG (proceedings to enforce UK and EU consumer protection legislation in the secondary ticketing sector)
      • Emma Matrazen (advisory)
      • Car hire (advisory)
      • OFT’s inquiry into unfair terms in credit card agreements (default fees).
    • What the directories say

      Competition Law: Rob has demonstrated an enormous attention to detail in the work he does.” “Rob is incredibly diligent, has a really sharp legal mind, is very good on his feet and prepares very thoroughly.” “Rob is a pleasure to deal with, and he is a consummate problem solver who is able to combine first-rate legal analysis with a pragmatism that enables him to cut through issues with a rare efficacy.” “He is very impressive; he has a great way with clients, and tells them what they need to hear in a way that they respond well to.” “Rob is very fast through the material, and is efficient and incisive” – Chambers UK, 2024

      Public Procurement: He has a fantastic sense of commercial strategy and is a real good team player.” “He gives firm, clear views and is always willing to explore different angles with the wider team.” “Extremely impressive in terms of his approach and ability to cut through issues.” – Chambers UK, 2024

      Leading Silk in Competition: “Very good at collaborative thinking with a wider lawyer and client group. Rob brings important insights from his wide case experience, including representing the CMA.”  – Legal 500, 2024

      Leading Silk in Public procurement: “He is excellent on his feet.”  – Legal 500, 2024

      Competition Law: “Rob is incredibly responsive, thoughtful, strategic, and very persuasive on his feet. The team loves working with him.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2023

      Public Procurement: “He has a filing cabinet of a brain stuffed with procurement case law.” “Rob provides clear and easy-to-understand opinions.” – Chambers UK, 2023

      Leading Silk in Competition – Legal 500, 2023

      Leading Silk in Public procurement – Legal 500, 2023

      Recommended in Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal Global Guide 2022

      “Rob Williams QC wins high praise from market sources for his work advising public bodies and contractors on utilities-related legislation”.– Government Contract, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2022

      Recommended in Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2022

      Competition Law: “Very intelligent, with a superb grasp of detail.” “I think he is someone who is effective under fire from the judges and has the ability to manage difficult questions.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2022

      Public Procurement: “He gains the confidence of the client straight away and works incredibly hard.” “He is measured, sensible and a good tactician.” “Rob is a tremendous advocate who is extremely decisive.” – Chambers UK, 2022

      New Silk in Competition: “Rob is an understated advocate who comes across as very measured and considered, which is an approach that works very effectively in English courts.” – Legal 500, 2022

      New Silk in Public procurement: ‘‘Rob is able to explain technical legal concepts to clients in a user-friendly way. His advice is clear, concise and directive.’’Legal 500, 2022

      “Rob Williams QC is known among respondents as a public procurement silk who is “incredibly sought after” and “practical, commercial and easy to work with”. ”.– Government Contract, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2021

      Competition Law: “He’s excellent with clients, very thoughtful and responsive, and really is everything you would want from a competition silk.” “He is going to be a superstar.”Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2021

      Public Procurement: “Clients praise his ability to provide clear advice in often uncertain areas of law.” “He’s practical in his approach, commercial, down to earth and user-friendly.” – Chambers UK, 2021

      New Silk in Competition: “He is hugely intelligent and also realistic.” – Legal 500, 2021

      New Silk in Public procurement: ‘‘A measured, sensible, lovely advocate. Excellent judgement and also a voice of reason in the room.’’Legal 500, 2021

      “An “insightful advocate” who is “commercially switched on” and “works exceptionally well as part of a team”. He has considerable experience in damages claims, mergers and enforcement matters”.– Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2020

      “Hailed as “a great barrister” and “a go-to counsel for public procurement work”. – Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2020

      Competition Law: “Displays excellent attention to detail, is robust in his advice and is strong in court.” “He gets on top of quite complex factual legal situations very quickly, is hands-on and is easy to work with.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2020

      Public Procurement: “He has a first-class brain and is very strategic and very commercial.” “He is brilliant, super pragmatic and gives really good, commercial advice.” “Rob is exceptionally effective at identifying the key issues in a matter early on and giving clients clear and appropriate advice, not just on the legal issues but on a wider strategic level.” – Chambers UK, 2020

      Leading junior in Competition: “He always gets to the root of the issue.” – Legal 500, 2020

      Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘One of the top four juniors for procurement.’’Legal 500, 2020

      Distinguished as one of the leading competition juniors at the Bar. He is described as “insightful, approachable, thorough and a joy to work with” – Competition, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2019

      Extremely knowledgeable” government contracts junior who stands out for his excellent work advising contractors, public authorities and utilities companies” – Government Contracts, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2019

      Competition Law: “Very user-friendly, responsive and hard-working.” “He is very committed to the case and really cares about getting the right result.” – Chambers UK and Chambers Global, 2019

      Public Procurement: “Commercial, down-to-earth and very user-friendly, he takes a very practical approach to the law.” “A really impressive and hard-working senior junior with an excellent eye for detail.”Chambers UK, 2019

      Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘A truly outstanding senior junior: super clever, brilliant drafting and outstanding judgement.’’Legal 500, 2018

      Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘He is very impressive both in his written advice and in conference.’’Legal 500, 2018

      Competition Law: “He is very user-friendly with a very inclusive approach and he delivers focused advice.” – Chambers UK, 2018

      Public Procurement: “He takes a down-to-earth and pragmatic approach and can be relied on to defuse heated situations.”Chambers UK, 2018

      Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘An extremely talented, approachable and diligent lawyer, who works well under pressure.’’Legal 500, 2017

      Leading junior in Public procurement: ‘‘A standout junior in high demand for the most high-profile challenges.’’Legal 500, 2017

      Competition Law: “He is a first-class competition law junior who is good at drafting, very user-friendly and good with clients.” – Chambers UK, 2017

      Public Procurement: “He’s one of those barristers who actually seems to care about what the outcome is and works really hard to get you where you need to be.”Chambers UK, 2017

      Leading Junior in EU and Competition: ‘‘A strong junior with a razor-sharp intellect.’’ – Legal 500, 2016

      Leading Junior in Public Procurement: ‘‘A filing cabinet of a brain for procurement case law.’’ –  Legal 500, 2016

      Competition: Receives strong praise for his “pervasive commercial insight and intelligence”. He has been involved with several notable damages claims and judicial reviews before the commission. – WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR 2016

      Government Contracts: Stands out as “a star junior”, who is often instructed to act on high-profile procurement cases. He is described as “technically superb” and “very user-friendly”. WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR 2016

      Competition Law: “His pleadings and skeleton arguments are particularly good.”Chambers UK & Chambers Global, 2016

      Public Procurement: “He inspires confidence as he demonstrates a clear depth of knowledge and has an instinctual feel for this kind of work. He is a go-to junior if you need a creative solution to a new problem.”Chambers UK, 2016

      ”Hugely enthusiastic and responsive; a great team player.” Leading Junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2015

      ”Pragmatic and thorough.” Leading Junior in Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2015

      Competition Law: “A joy to work with, he’s extremely accessible and easy to get hold of despite being in high demand.” “I have been really pleased how he has got stuck into the issues.”Chambers UK, 2015

      Public Procurement: “He’s very knowledgeable on his subject and a good team player, who is very easy to work with.” “Very sensible and pragmatic in his advice, he gives a credible and clear view on the merits of a case.” – Chambers UK, 2015

      ‘He is experienced in both the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal.’ Rob is recommended as a leading Junior in EU & Competition Law. Legal 500, 2014

      ‘Fast becoming an encyclopaedic mind on procurement case law.’ Rob is recommended as a leading Junior in Public Procurement Law. Legal 500, 2014

       “Truly outstanding” Rob Williams regularly acts for central government and specialises in procurement-related matters in the energy and transport sectors. Who’s Who Legal 2014

      Under Competition Law: Singled out for his practical approach to competition issues. Frequently instructed by the main competition authorities including the OFT and the Competition Commission. His background in commercial litigation also attracts significant damages work. “His ability to quickly grasp immense amounts of detail and his unimpeachable analytical skills enable him to provide advice that is relevant and of great value. Chambers UK, 2014

      Under Public Procurement: Has been instructed in a number of landmark cases, working in tandem with silks, and has also appeared in matters unled. He is a popular choice for public and utilities clients, as well as City law firms. “His calibre and the impression he gives clients are beyond his years of call. He’s very bright but not stuffy.” Chambers UK, 2014

      “Rob Williams is a leading figure in damages actions.” He is recommended as a leading Junior in EU & Competition Law. Legal 500, 2013

      “Rob Williams is ‘very effective on his feet and in conference’,” he is recommended under Public Procurement Law as a leading Junior. Legal 500, 2013

      “Rob Williams is well known for his tenacity when handling public procurement work. Testament to his standing, he was involved in the signature case of the past year, Alstom Transport v Eurostar International Limited and Siemens plc.” Chambers UK, 2013

      Under Competition / European Law: “”Thorough, practical and user-friendly,” Rob Williams is steadily increasing in market prominence, and has respected public law, commercial and regulatory expertise. His “unimpeachable analytical skills” were particularly highlighted by sources, as was his “ability to think creatively about new issues.” He recently advised the OFT with regard to the investigation it undertook into Reckitt Benckiser and its Gaviscon product.” Chambers UK, 2013

      “Rob Williams has had a busy year, being involved in the high-profile case of Alstom v Eurostar Project and also acting for Mehler in a successful challenge concerning the procurement of armoured vests by the Metropolitan Police. He is “an excellent analyst and a sensible advocate who always has his feet on the ground,” say commentators.” – Chambers UK, 2012

      Recommended in Public Procurement Law, “Rob Williams wins support in the market as “a fine procurement lawyer who is very approachable and great to work with.” He recently acted for the Home Office in relation to a challenge brought by 3M to a procurement concerning the production of the new biometric e-passport.” – Chambers UK, 2011

    • Additional information

      Rob has a first class law degree and a postgraduate BCL degree from University College, Oxford. On graduating, he worked as a research assistant to the Law Commission for two years, following which he was awarded a Jules Thorn Scholarship by Middle Temple.

      In 2000, Rob was called to the Bar and started his career at Keating Chambers. After a number of years in practice, he joined Denton Wilde Sapte’s Advocacy Group, the first and longest established “in-house chambers” in the City. He joined Monckton Chambers in 2006.

      Rob has taught public procurement law at Kings College London with Michael Bowsher KC. He has previously been a tutor in law at University College, London.

      In 2002, Rob was the judicial assistant to Lord Phillips MR (as he then was).

      Professional Memberships

      Rob is a member of the Bar European Group, ALBA and the Procurement Lawyer’s Association.

    • Publications