Chambers Bar Awards 2018 – Monckton success with Competition: Set and Silk, Meredith Pickford QC and Tax: Junior, Valentina Sloane

At last night’s awards ceremony at The London Hilton on Park Lane, Monckton Chambers and its members won three awards – Competition: Set and Silk; Tax: Junior.

Meredith Pickford QC won Silk of the Year for Competition and Valentina Sloane picked up the award for Junior of the Year in the Tax category. Monckton Chambers was also awarded Competition Set of the Year.

We were nominated for five awards in total with Anneli Howard in the shortlist for Competition Junior of the Year and Monckton Chambers named as one of six for Client Service Set of the Year.

The awards are based on research for the 2019 edition of Chambers UK Bar, to be published next week. These awards reflect a set’s pre-eminence in key practice areas. They also reflect notable achievements over the past 12 months including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.

Steve Broach nominated for two Bar Pro Bono Awards 2018

Steve Broach has been nominated for Junior Pro Bono Barrister of the Year in the Bar Pro Bono Awards 2018. He has also been nominated as part of the group working on the Mencap Learning Disability Legal Network for the category of Pro Bono Innovation of the Year. The purpose of the Bar Pro Bono Awards, which is organised by the Bar Pro Bono Unit, is to thank and recognise outstanding contributions to pro bono work from across the profession. All nominees have dedicated a huge amount of time assisting others, have provided innovation and inspiration to others through their work, and have shown a commitment to the pro bono ethic.

This is the first year, since its inception in 1997, that the Bar Pro Bono Award has been expanded from just one award to nine separate categories. The judging panel, this year, includes the Lord Chief Justice, Chair of the Bar and the elusive Secret Barrister. The winners will be announced at the Awards evening on Wednesday 24th October. Read more about the awards here.

We welcome two new tenants – Ciar McAndrew and Harry Gillow

Monckton Chambers is delighted to announce that Ciar McAndrew and Harry Gillow, have accepted invitations to join Chambers following successful completion of pupillage.

Ciar is a graduate of Hertford College, Oxford and the Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas. She has worked at the Court of Appeal as Judicial Assistant to Lord Justice Briggs and as a Legal Fellow at JUSTICE.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Harry graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford, with a First Class degree in Classics and worked as a researcher in Parliament.

Ciar and Harry became tenants on 1st October 2018 having experienced a broad range of practice areas as part of pupillage.

Jeremy McBride appointed President of the Expert Council on NGO Law of the Council of Europe’s Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations

The Expert Council carries out thematic and country studies on specific aspects of NGO legislation and its implementation that seem to pose problems of conformity with international standards, notably the European Convention on Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation (2007)14 on the legal status of NGOs in Europe. Its work covers the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe and Belarus. The Expert Council was created in January 2008 with the aim of creating an enabling environment for NGOs through examining national NGO legislation and its implementation and providing advice on how to bring national law and practice into line with Council of Europe standards and European good practice.

The Expert Council provides follow-up to a Recommendation adopted in 2007 by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers which sets a framework for the legal status of NGOs in Europe (CM/Rec(2007)14) and to the Council of Europe’s commitment to the role of civil society in the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It co-operates closely with other Council of Europe bodies, in particular the Venice Commission and the Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Government’s ‘no deal’ Brexit paper on mergers and antitrust

The Government has today published 28 new planning documents explaining what will happen in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, including this one covering the merger and antitrust regimes.

Some of the key points are as follows:

  • The Government says that the only changes to the competition regime will be those necessary to manage Brexit, and they will be made through SIs under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018.
  • The CMA and UK courts will no longer be bound to follow future CJEU case law. The Government is here presumably contemplating amendments to s.60 CA98.
  • EU block exemptions will be maintained as parallel exemptions (with any necessary modifications, e.g. converting figures in euros to sterling).
  • Businesses will need to seek their own legal advice as to the implications of Brexit for current EU merger and antitrust cases covering UK activities.
  • Commission decisions that pre-date Brexit will continue to be binding as to liability in follow-on actions.
  • Commission decisions that post-date Brexit will not bind UK courts as to liability. As stated, it appears that this will be the case even insofar as post-Brexit Commission decisions cover pre-Brexit conduct and agreements.
  • If a claimant wishes to bring an action for an alleged breach of EU competition law that took place after Brexit, they will need to bring a standalone claim for breach of a foreign tort.
  • UK companies may find themselves being investigated by both the UK and EU competition authorities (both for mergers and antitrust violations).

The proposed change to s.60 CA98 arguably goes beyond what is strictly needed to cope with Brexit. One could have taken the view that domestic competition law should continue to develop in parallel with EU competition law in order to minimise the additional compliance costs that will result from the two regimes substantively diverging.  But this was presumably considered politically unpalatable.

Overall, though, the Government’s approach is to minimize the number of changes, consistent with its general approach under the Withdrawal Act, disappointing those who had advocated for more fundamental reform.  The reality is there is no legislative time for this at the moment; any wider reforms will need to wait until things have settled down after Brexit.

These ‘no deal’ proposals assume there will be no Withdrawal Agreement. If there is a deal (as hoped), there will be a transition period until 31 December 2020 during which everything will (more or less) remain as it is now.

If the Government and EU also manage to reach agreement over the terms of their future relationship, some of the proposals for a ‘no deal’ scenario will never be implemented.  Any longer-term deal will almost certainly put in place co-operation arrangements, for example in respect of mergers.

Further, a response paper published by the Government in March stated that “the Government may choose to commit some areas of our regulations, including competition and State aid, to remain in step with the EU’s”.   This raises the possibility that the UK might ultimately decide not to make any significant amendments to s.60 CA98 and the current regime governing follow-on damages claims.

Julian Gregory is a competition practitioner who assisted the Brexit Competition Law Working Group (including Jon Turner QC) with its report on the implications of Brexit for competition law.

Chambers UK Bar Awards 2018 – Monckton Chambers and its members in the shortlists for Competition, Tax and Client Service

The shortlist for Chambers UK Bar Awards 2018 has been announced and Monckton Chambers and its members are up for five awards.

Monckton is nominated for the Set award for Competition with Meredith Pickford QC in the final three for Silk of the Year and Anneli Howard for Junior of the Year for the same category. Valentina Sloane has been shortlisted for Junior of the Year in the Tax category. Monckton is also nominated, one of only six shortlisted, for Client Service Set of the Year.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday, 25th October at The London Hilton on Park Lane.

The awards are based on research for the 2019 edition of Chambers UK Bar. These awards reflect a set’s pre-eminence in key practice areas. They also reflect notable achievements over the past 12 months including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.

Who’s Who Legal (WWL) 2018 recognises Monckton Chambers as the leading set for Government Contracts

In the recently published research by Who’s Who Legal (WWL), Monckton Chambers is the only barristers chambers recognised in the table of nine “Leading firms and sets in WWL: Government Contracts 2018 by number of listings”. Monckton Chambers is second in the table; however, if looking at EMEA listings only, Monckton tops the table.

In addition Michael Bowsher QC is recognised as one of nine “Thought Leaders” and the only English barrister for EMEA.

This is what the researchers say about Monckton Chambers and some of its listed members:

“An outstanding set that is home to some of the highest ranked names in our listings.”

The “super brainy” Michael Bowsher is a Thought Leader who is praised by sources as “a leading practitioner in the field” and one of the “strongest for procurement know-how”. He is “very approachable and very bright” with “excellent experience” in public-sector project disputes and state aid issues.

Ewan West is a distinguished barrister in the government contracts field; market observers in our research think highly of him. One of the top juniors in our list, his expertise includes public infrastructure matters in industries such as transportation and nuclear decommissioning.

Philip Moser QC is praised by colleagues for his “outstanding” and “excellent” work in the field. He is “user-friendly and good on novel procurement issues” according to sources, who note that he is “very popular with clients”. He offers a wealth of knowledge on defence procurement.

Valentina Sloane is “a great lawyer” with a distinguished reputation for her EU procurement work as well as on domestic matters such as damages claims and challenges to automatic suspensions.

The “brilliant” Anneliese Blackwood is an impressive junior at the UK Bar. She has a broad practice including experience of matters concerning the protection of confidential information and regulatory breaches.

Ben Rayment, Rob Williams and Ligia Osepciu, are also listed for this practice area for EMEA with Fiona Banks listed in the UK Bar section.

For further information see WWL Government Contract Analysis 2018.

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.”