Drew Holiner appointed to panel of arbitrators of AIFC International Arbitration Centre in Kazakhstan

The International Arbitration Centre (IAC) in Astana, Kazakhstan, began its operations on 1 January 2018 to provide an independent, economical and expeditious alternative to court litigation, operating to the highest international standards to resolve civil and commercial disputes in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).

The IAC currently has a panel of 24 independent, highly qualified international arbitrators and mediators, drawn from a variety of jurisdictions. The IAC seeks to empower regional commerce by increasing confidence in the administration and accessibility of dispute resolution throughout the Astana International Financial Centre, Kazakhstan, the Eurasia region, and globally.

Drew, who is admitted to practise in Russia, the UK (England and the Territory of the Virgin Islands) and the United States (California) is also available as a mediator. Members of the panel are approved by the Chairman of the IAC in accordance with Article 55(1)(b) of the AIFC Arbitration Regulations 2017.  Drew joins Michael Collins SC (Ireland) as the second member of Monckton Chambers on the IAC’s panel.

Drew Holiner also serves on the panels of arbitrators of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and the Asian International Arbitration Centre (formerly known as the Kuala Lumpur Regional Arbitration Centre).

Alexandra Littlewood returns to Monckton from the Supreme Court

We are pleased to welcome Alexandra Littlewood back to Monckton Chambers following her year as a Judicial Assistant to Supreme Court Justices Lord Reed (Deputy President) and Lord Briggs.

Whilst at the Supreme Court, Alexandra assisted the Justices on a variety of high-profile cases, including R (on the application of Gallaher Group Ltd) v Competition and Markets Authority [2018] UKSC 25 (public and competition law), Prudential Assurance Co Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2018] UKSC 39 (tax, restitution and EU law), Morris-Garner v One Step (Support) Ltd [2018] UKSC 20 (contract law), and Re an application by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review [2018] UKSC 27 (human rights compatibility of Northern Irish abortion law).

Alexandra is now accepting instructions in all areas of Chambers’ work.

Who’s Who Legal (WWL) Competition – Monckton in table for Leading Lawyers

The recently published 19th edition of WWL: Competition covers a total of 1,069 lawyers, including 76 EU-based state aid experts. The lawyers selected advise and defend clients in internal, regulatory and criminal investigations as well as assisting with merger filings, civil and criminal litigation and cartel matters.

Monckton Chambers’ members received 12 nominations. Monckton is one of only two barristers’ Chambers included in WWL’s selection of “Leading firms and sets : Competition by number of listed practitioners”, which is predominantly made up of the major international law firms.

In addition Daniel Beard QC is given special recognition as a “Thought Leader” for Competition (London) and George Peretz QC is recognised for State Aid (London)

The other members nominated are:

This is what they say about Monckton Chambers:

“Another powerhouse group at the Bar with 12 barristers highlighted for their expertise.The “outstanding” Daniel Beard QC is an “incredibly popular” name for competition who is particularly well regarded for his telecoms expertise. He provides “sound, strategic advice” and is “an incredibly effective silk, particularly in the Competition Appeal Tribunal”, say sources.“Excellent barrister” Josh Holmes QC is praised as a “very smart” practitioner who “sees the bigger picture”. “He is cool, equanimous and has astonishing knowledge,” comments a fellow barrister.George Peretz QC is a “superb state aid lawyer” who is regularly seen on complex matters in the area before the General Court and European Court of Justice.”

Michael Collins SC appointed to panel of Arbitrators of newly launched International Arbitration Centre in Astana, Kazakhstan

The International Arbitration Centre (IAC) in Astana began its operations on 1 January 2018 to provide an independent, economical and expeditious alternative to court litigation, operating to the highest international standards to resolve civil and commercial disputes in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).

The IAC has its own panel of independent, highly qualified international arbitrators and mediators, drawn from a variety of jurisdictions.

Michael Collins SC (Ireland) is one of five arbitrators from the EU approved by Barbara Dohmann QC, the Chairman of the IAC in accordance with Article 55(1)(b) of the AIFC Arbitration Regulations 2017. The launch of the IAC is being celebrated in London this week with a reception at the Kazakhstan Embassy, hosted by Barbara Dohmann.

Award of Lancashire Children’s Services Contract to Virgin Care Set Aside

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust v Lancashire County Council [2018] EWHC 1589 (TCC)

The High Court (Mr Justice Stuart Smith) has today handed down a judgment setting aside the award of a contract for public health nursing services by Lancashire County Council to Virgin Care Services Limited.  The Court has upheld a challenge made by the Claimants, two local NHS Trusts, to the Council’s decision on the basis that the Council failed to give adequate or sufficient reasons for the scores it awarded to the two bidders in the evaluation. The Court held that:

“I am satisfied that the notes do not provide a full, transparent, or fair summary of the discussions that led to the consensus scores sufficient to enable the Trusts to defend their rights or the Court to discharge its supervisory jurisdiction.”

The Court held that the inadequacy of the reasons given by the Council was such that the Court was not able to determine whether the scores awarded by the Council contained manifest and material errors.  The Court did not accept certain other criticisms which the Trusts made of the conduct of the procurement.

The trial took place over 5 days concluding on 1 May 2018. The Judgment follows an earlier ruling of the High Court in February 2018 suspending the conclusion of the contract with Virgin pending trial – see link here.

Rob Williams acted for the successful Claimants throughout the proceedings, instructed by Hempsons.

A copy of the Judgment can be found here.

MPs’ arguments on revocability of Article 50 notice – petition refused by Court of Session in Edinburgh

Monckton Chambers’ Gerry Facenna QC and Anneli Howard provided pro bono assistance to Morag Ross QC (instructed by Bindmans and Harper Mcleod) representing Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP and Labour’s Chris Leslie MP in their intervention before the Court of Session in Scotland to get a preliminary reference to the CJEU on whether the Article 50 notice could be unilaterally pulled back by the United Kingdom Government in the event of a unsatisfactory deal or no deal scenario.

Permission for judicial review had been initially refused but was granted on appeal by the Lord President of the Inner House in April 2018 ([2018] CHIH 18). The Court of Session in Edinburgh then went on to hear arguments on 22nd May 2018 regarding the petition for a preliminary reference on this “issue of great constitutional importance”. Judgment from the Court of Session was handed down by Lord Boyd on 5 June 2018, refusing to make the reference on the basis that it was hypothetical as the facts upon which the CJEU would be asked to give an answer had not occurred and could not be ascertained. The judgment can be read here.

Three new tenants for Monckton Chambers – Gregory Pipe, William Buck and William Hooper

Monckton Chambers welcomes three new members, Gregory Pipe, William Buck and William Hooper, who join from St Philips Stone Chambers along with Clerk Chris O’Brien.

Gregory Pipe (call 1995) is a heavy-weight commercial practitioner who is regularly instructed on complex high value disputes both in England & Wales and internationally. His practice covers a wide range of commercial disputes often involving company and property issues. He has a particularly wide experience in shareholder disputes and business sale disputes. In addition he has a particular interest in and ability to deal with lengthy and complex technology, software, hardware, telecoms and engineering disputes including those with a heavy scientific focus. Gregory is also instructed on high value arbitrations.

He is consistently recommended in both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners:

If you want a lawyer who gets down to the minute detail on a contract case, he’s your man.Chambers & Partners, 2018

Very experienced in shareholder and business sale disputes.Legal 500, 2017

William Buck (call 2001) has a strong commercial practice covering a wide spectrum of high value disputes. As well as undertaking high value work in the Court of Appeal and the High Court of England and Wales, he has developed a substantial international practice, undertaking work in other jurisdictions, such as the Isle of Man, Spain, Germany and the USA. He has also successfully acted in a range of arbitrations and adjudications.He has been consistently recommended in both Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as a leading commercial practitioner in his field:

He is good at analysing how particular pieces of a case come together and what you need to do to win.” “He is sensible and can bring humour to a case which endears him to judges.” – Chambers & Partners, 2018.

A very bright barrister with an analytical approach.” – Legal 500, 2017

William Hooper (call 2014) has a broad commercial litigation and arbitration practice. He has experience both led and unled in a wide range of commercial matters, including banking and finance, private equity, shipping and international trade, energy, civil and commercial fraud, project finance, offshore litigation, and private international law. He has acted in the High Court (Commercial Court and Chancery Division) and frequently in arbitration and recently appeared, as junior counsel, for the successful appellants in the Supreme Court, in The New Flamenco [2017] UKSC 43, the latest Supreme Court decision on mitigation of loss.

Chris O’Brien began clerking in 2006. Much of his career has been spent at a leading Chancery Commercial set. Chris’ primary focus is on Monckton Chambers Commercial practice area.

Philip Moser QC, joint Head of Chambers, comments on the positive development of three new members and an expanded clerks’ team: “We are delighted that Gregory Pipe, William Buck and William Hooper have decided that Monckton Chambers provides the right environment in which to develop further their impressive commercial litigation and arbitration practices. The fact that they bring with them an experienced Clerk, Chris O’Brien, means that they move as a fully proven team. We are delighted to welcome all four to Monckton Chambers. This new recruitment, shortly after that of former EFTA President Carl Baudenbacher as an arbitrator and door tenant, further complements Monckton’s growing commercial litigation and arbitration offering.”

Professor Panos Koutrakos was UK rapporteur at FIDE 2018

Professor Panos Koutrakos was national rapporteur for the UK at the FIDE (Fédération internationale pour le droit européen) 2018 conference in Estoril, Portugal on 23-26 May 2018.

Professor Koutrakos’s report was on the external dimension of EU policies and covered issues of international treaty-making, trade and protection of investments, and the area of freedom, security and justice (the report may be found here).

The biannual FIDE conference is the biggest EU law conference and brings together more than 500 academics, practitioners, and judges.

Members of Monckton Chambers submit evidence to House of Commons inquiry on Dispute Resolution in the Withdrawal Agreement

Carl Baudenbacher, Peter Oliver and Michael Bowsher QC made a joint submission to the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee in connection with their inquiry into Dispute Resolution and Enforcement in the Withdrawal Agreement. The submission is here.

The submission suggests that despite misgivings over the Court of Justice of the EU continuing to exercise jurisdiction in the EU after Brexit, this situation should be accepted for a short period. Apart from any other considerations, it is hard to see what other process can be put in place in the time available. The Court of Justice should only retain jurisdiction for a short time after the transitional period. The EFTA Court would then provide a sensible forum for resolution of the various disputes that will have to be addressed.

Flynn / Pfizer v CMA: the CMA misapplied the test for excessive pricing

The Competition Appeal Tribunal handed down a Judgment today setting aside parts of the CMA’s decision imposing combined fines on the pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Flynn, of around £90 million for charging unfairly high prices for the anti-epileptic drug, phenytoin sodium capsules, in breach of Article 102 TFEU / the Chapter II prohibition.

Although the Tribunal upheld the CMA’s findings that Pfizer / Flynn each occupied a dominant position in the relevant market, it struck down the findings of abuse on the basis that the CMA was wrong in law to confine its methodology for testing whether the drug prices were excessive to a purely “Cost Plus” approach. The Tribunal held that the correct approach, which the CMA should have but failed to adopt, was to identify a benchmark price or price range which would have applied in conditions of “normal and sufficiently effective competition”. In determining that benchmark price, the CMA should have given proper consideration to whether phenytoin sodium tablets – the prices of which were higher than the allegedly excessive prices for capsules – served as a meaningful price comparator. The CMA also erred in law in failing to have any regard to the benefit to patients of phenytoin capsules in determining their economic value.

The Tribunal has indicated that its provisional view is to remit the matter back to the CMA for further consideration, but has invited written submissions from the parties before coming to a final decision on remedy.

Mark Brealey QC acted for Pfizer.

Ronit Kreisberger acted for Flynn.

Click here for the full judgment.