Deputy High Court Judge Appointment for Peter Roth QC

The appointment was confirmed on Monday 12 May and we congratulate Peter on such a great achievement.

Head of Chambers, Paul Lasok QC, said, “Peter Roth QC’s appointment as a Deputy High Court Judge shows that his qualities as a successful practitioner mark him out as having the intellectual calibre and judgment to make a successful High Court judge.”

Monckton Junior Shortlisted for Prestigious ‘Barrister of the Year’ Award

We are delighted that Tim Ward has been shortlisted in the category of ‘Barrister of the Year’ at the Lawyer Awards 2008. Representatives for the annual ceremony announced their shortlists of successful nominees on Monday 12 May. Tim is the only Junior barrister on the shortlist this year which is a real testament to the calibre and quality of his advocacy and litigation experience. The results will be announced on 24 June 2008 at the award ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

Please click below for more information on:
Tim Ward QC

Christopher Vajda QC Speaks at AntiTrust Conference

Christopher Vajda QC spoke at the Lawyer Conference held on 7 May 2008 on the EC White Paper on damages actions for breach of EC antitrust rules. He spoke on the subject of access to evidence and what, if any, changes the White Paper would herald for the disclosure regime in England and Wales

Permission Denied in Carbon Case

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (‘CAT’) has refused permission to bring claims for damages said to arise from the EC Commission’s decision finding an infringement of Article 81(1) EC in relation to electrical and mechanical carbon and graphite products against a number of proposed defendants, including Le Carbone Lorraine SA, while their appeals to the Court of First Instance against that decision are pending. The CAT held in an earlier judgment that the two year time limit for bringing a follow on claim for damages in the CAT does not begin to run until any appeals against that decision have been determined and that permission is required to bring a claim at any time before that date. The CAT distinguished the position of Le Carbone and others from the claims against Morgan Crucible plc, in respect of which it granted permission in an earlier judgment. Morgan has not appealed the Commission’s decision. The CAT’s decision to refuse permission means that it was not necessary for it to deal with various detailed arguments advanced by the proposed defendants regarding the Tribunal’s jurisdiction under the Brussels Regulation.

Daniel Beard was instructed on behalf of Le Carbone Lorraine by Ross & Co on the application for permission.

Ben Rayment was instructed by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP on behalf of Morgan Crucible plc.

Please click below for more information on:
Daniel Beard QC
Ben Rayment

England and Wales Cricket Board Decide ‘Not Out’ for South African Players

On Wednesday 30 April 2008, the Appeal Panel of the ECB unanimously allowed appeals by three South African cricketers against the decision of the ECB to refuse to register them as Qualified Cricketers for the English 2008 season. The ECB had refused to register them because they had played cricket for the Indian Cricket League. The Appeal Panel directed the ECB to register the cricketers forthwith. In view of the urgency of the situation the Appeal Panel gave its decision today and will provide its reasons later.

Christopher Vajda QC, Paul Harris, Josh Holmes and Ewan West acted for one of the cricketers, Johannes Van Der Wath, instructed by Sheridans.

Please click below for more information on:
Paul Harris QC
Josh Holmes
Ewan West

The Sixth Annual VAT and EU Law Conference

Our flagship VAT event took place on Tuesday 29 April at the Kingsway Hall Hotel. Once again in association with Lexis Nexis, the event brought together some of the leading practitioners in VAT to discuss updates in the principles of EU law which underpin the VAT system.

Seven speakers from Monckton Chambers, along with special guests from the European Commission, HMRC, Eversheds and BT, all shared their expertise with the delegates.

Topics included:

  • The Relationship Between VAT and Customs Duties
  • Fiscal Neutrality and Competition
  • VAT Avoidance and the Follow-Up from Halifax
  • Developments from the ECJ
  • Loyalty Schemes
  • Maximising Input Tax Recovery Whilst Minimising Output Tax Liability.

OFT Issues Formal Apology to Morrisons

The OFT announced today (23 April) that it had settled the judicial review and defamation actions brought against it by Morrisons.

In September last year, the OFT issued a press release with a Statement of Objections against a number of large supermarkets and dairy processors. Morrisons was one of the supermarkets included in the Statement of Objections.

Today’s statement said, “The OFT regrets that the press release contained these serious errors, and wishes to apologise sincerely to Morrisons for their publication.”

To read the statement in full, please click here.

Meredith Pickford acted for Morrisons, instructed by Wilmer Hale.

Please click below for more information on:
Meredith Pickford

Court of Appeal Upholds Coal Authority’s Licensing Decision as Fair

The Court of Appeal gave judgment on Wednesday 16 April in an appeal brought by Abbey Mine Limited (“AML”), the disappointed applicant for a coal mining licence at the Margam site in South Wales.

Margam has large reserves of high quality coal, and once it is operational, will supply virtually all the coking grade coal mined underground in the United Kingdom. The Coal Authority awarded the licence to Corus, the steel producer, instead of to AML.

AML brought judicial review proceedings to challenge the Authority’s decision, alleging procedural unfairness. At first instance, Mrs Justice Dobbs rejected AML’s complaints. On appeal, the Court of Appeal has once again found for the Authority.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment, delivered by Lord Justice Laws, contains important guidance as to what constitutes a fair procedure in competitive licensing cases. The Court held that “in a competition case like this. fairness imposes two broad requirements: (1) that an applicant by told the substance of the decision-maker’s concerns about his own case, and (2) that each applicant be treated like every other: there should, to use the hackneyed phrase, be a level playing-field. the applicant is entitled to be told of the decision-maker’s concerns about his own case, but not the details of his rival’s case”.

Christopher Vajda QC and Josh Holmes acted for the Coal Authority, instructed by Nabarro.

Please click below for more information on:
Josh Holmes

House of Lords Hands Down Judgment in Edwards v Environment Agency

On Wednesday 16 April, the House of Lords handed down judgment in the case of
Edwards v Environment Agency [2008] UKHL 22.

The appeal arose out of an application by a concerned local resident to quash a permit issued on 12 August 2003 by the Environment Agency (“the Agency”) to Rugby Ltd for the operation of the Rugby cement works. The chief grounds were that the Agency did not disclose enough information about the environmental impact of the plant to satisfy its statutory and common law duties of public consultation.

The case involved significant issues of EC environmental law, particularly the correct interpretation and application of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directives. It also raised important matters of principle relating to a public body’s common law obligation to consult on “internal” documents.

Their Lordships held unanimously that the Agency was not obliged to disclose to the public reports which it had commissioned internally from its Air Quality Modelling Assessment Unit (AQMAU) on emissions of particulates (dust) from the plant either under the EIA regime or under the IPPC regime. They also held that, even if there had been a breach of the common law duty of fairness by the Agency in failing to disclose those reports, the Judge below had been entitled to exercise his discretion not to grant relief on the grounds inter alia that “it would be pointless to quash the permit simply to enable the public to be consulted on out-of-date data”.

The appeal was therefore dismissed.

Kassie Smith acted for the Respondents, the Environment Agency, the First Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Please click below for more information on: Kassie Smith QC

OFT Accepts Undertakings in Transocean/GlobalSantaFe Merger

On 11 April, the OFT accepted undertakings offered by Transocean Inc arising from its merger with GlobalSantaFe (GSF) in November 2007. Transocean and GSF are major worldwide suppliers of drilling rigs to oil and gas exploration companies: each party had a worldwide turnover in 2006 of between US$3 and 4 billion. The merger was considered by a number of competition authorities worldwide including the OFT and the US Department of Justice.

In the UK, the OFT accepted the parties’ arguments that the sale of two of the rigs previously operated by GSF in the UK sector of the North Sea addressed the OFT’s competition concerns, and on that basis decided not to refer the merger to the Competition Commission.

George Perez and Ben Rayment acted for the parties before the OFT; they were instructed by Baker Botts in Houston, Texas, on behalf of Transocean and by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on behalf of GSF.

Please click below for more information on:
George Peretz
Ben Rayment