Although known as a ‘leading set’ for EU, competition, and public procurement law instructions, thanks to having ‘excellent strength in depth across the spectrum’, Monckton Chambers ‘also has barristers who can turn their hand to more esoteric public law challenges’. Chambers is also a ‘go-to’ for civil liberties and human rights work. ‘Barristers have always made themselves available on a pro bono basis, including at the highest level, and consistently produced work of the highest quality.’ Robert Palmer, Ronit Kreisberger, and Valentina Sloane took silk in 2019. Meanwhile, in other news, Steven Gee QC joined chambers after five years at boutique litigation firm Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, while Ben Emmerson QC arrived from Matrix Chambers. Senior clerk David Hockney and his deputy, John Keegan, ‘run a great clerking team’ that is ‘a cut above all other sets’. The clerks are ‘responsive to requests for assistance; open to considering varied arrangements for instruction, and thoroughly 21st century in their use of technology and means of communications’. First junior Steven Duffett is ‘highly effective in a hands-on and task-focused way’.
- Administrative and public law (Including local government) – leading set – third tier
While Monckton Chambers ‘is known for its EU and competition law expertise, it evidently has barristers who can turn their hand to more esoteric public law challenges’. Ian Wise QC represented claimants in a challenge to the lawfulness of the “benefits cap” on the basis that it discriminates against single parents with children under two years old, while Robert Palmer QC – a 2019 silk appointment – represented the campaign group in R (Jewish Human Rights Watch) v Leicester City Council, which brought a challenge to the local authority’s decision in support of boycotts of products from the occupied West Bank. In the High Court, Brendan McGurk represented the government in a case concerning if, in judicial review proceedings concerning the Gender Recognition Panel, the court was able to issue gender recognition certificates itself rather than remit matters back to the panel.
2019 Silk – Robert Palmer QC.
Leading Junior – Anneli Howard
- Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police) – leading set – third tier
Monckton Chambers’ members ‘work to a very high standard and with incredible dedication’ to the clients they serve, according to instructing solicitors. Members undertake a breadth of human rights instructions, including the right to a fair trial, data protection, immigration, and asylum. Ben Emmerson QC has a vast international practice representing heads of states and foreign governments, and is an accomplished European human rights expert having litigated before international courts. Also of note, Eric Metcalfe was recently instructed by the Information Commissioner in Liberty’s challenge to the use of facial recognition cameras in public spaces.
- Competition – leading set – first tier
Monckton Chambers is ‘a formidably strong set, with a critical mass of highly regarded members in this specialism’. The set has members instructed in all manner of competition cases, including the most high-profile cartel investigations, follow-on damages claims, and litigation over standard essential patents. Paul Harris QC represents the claimants in the Merricks collective action case, in which a litigation funder-backed class representative seeks to bring a claim against Mastercard concerning interchange fees, nominally on behalf of every UK resident who purchased anything from a Mastercard-accepting retailer in a sixteen year window. Jon Turner QC is defending Google in an abuse of dominant position claim brought by price comparison website Foundem; the claim concerns the placement of competing price comparison websites on Google’s search engine. More unusually, on behalf of the States of Jersey, Kassie Smith QC carried out a review into the Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority, after the Jersey Royal Court overturned a finding that a fuel supplier abused its dominant position at Jersey airport.
Daniel Beard QC, Jon Turner QC, Paul Harris QC, Tim Ward QC, Kassie Smith QC, Mark Brealey QC, Meredith Pickford QC, Michael Bowsher QC, George Peretz QC, Gerry Facenna QC, Josh Holmes and Philip Moser QC.
Anneli Howard, Alan Bates, Alistair Lindsay, Anneliese Blackwood, Ben Rayment, Ben Lask, Philip Woolfe, Rob Williams, Alison Berridge, Brendan McGurk, Fiona Banks, Julianne Kerr Morrison, Julian Gregory, James Bourke, Ligia Osepciu and Laura Elizabeth John.
Leading Silk – Michael Bowsher QC
- Data protection – leading set – third tier
Monckton Chambers’ members count the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), government departments, NGOs, and corporates as clients, which they assist with GDPR issues, Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) litigation, Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests, and investigations. Gerry Facenna QC is particularly noted for his DPA and FOI work; he recently acted for the ICO in Stunt v Association of Newspapers in the Court of Appeal, which has been referred to the European Court of Justice, relating to journalistic and artistic exemptions from the DPA. Laura Elizabeth John also regularly acts for the Information Commissioner; she recently advised on an infringement decision issued against Uber for breaching its data protection obligations and the related fine following a cyber attack on Uber’s US data storage in 2016.
Leading Silks – Gerry Facenna QC
- EU law – leading set – first tier
Monckton Chambers, which has a strong bench across EU law matters (crossing over with its strength in competition law) acts for a number of private clients but is also notable for the work its members handle for the UK government. Ian Rogers QC successfully represented the government in Swedish Match’s failed challenge before the CJEU of the UK’s ban on the sale of snus, a smokeless tobacco product popular in Sweden but banned in the rest of the EU. Gerry Facenna QC and Anneli Howard represented two members of parliament in Wightman, and Ben Lask (unled) represented the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in the MB case concerning a male-to-female transsexual without a gender recognition certificate’s entitlement to a state pension at the female age. In Motor Insurers’ Bureau v Lewis, Philip Moser QC represented the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) concerning its role in compensating those injured by uninsured vehicles: in this Court of Appeal case, a suspected scrap metal thief was rammed by a farmer (who was acquitted of GBH with intent in a criminal case) in an uninsured Nissan Terrano; the claimant argued that the Motor Insurance Directive made the MIB liable despite the fact the incident occurred on a private farm.
Leading Silk – Jon Turner QC
- IT and Telecoms (regulatory) – leading set – first tier
Monckton Chambers ‘has an impressive strength for contentious telecoms regulatory work’ with ’a deep knowledge of the regulatory framework and its technical aspects’. The set is frequently instructed in regulatory challenges; Meredith Pickford QC represented by TalkTalk and Sky in the Court of Appeal in an appeal against Ofcom relating to charges for Ethernet services while Michael Bowsher QC and Fiona Banks was instructed by Viasat UK Limited and Viasat, Inc in an appeal against Ofcom’s authorisation to the intervener Inmarsat Ventures Ltd for the use of the 2GHz spectrum by ground stations for the operation of a satellite mobile communications network, pursuant to the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.
2019 Silk – Robert Palmer QC.
- Immigration (including business immigration)
2019 Silk – Robert Palmer QC.
- International arbitration: counsel
Leading Junior – Drew Holiner.
- International crime and extradition
Leading Silk – Ben Emmerson QC.
- Professional negligence
Leading Junior – Brendan McGurk.
- Public international law
Leading Junior – Thomas Sebastian
- Public procurement
Considered ‘the top set’ for public procurement instructions, Monckton Chambers is home to an impressive range of practitioners with expertise across the health services, housing, utilities, transport, and defence sectors. Members cover EU matters, PPPs, and project finance in the form of advice or complex litigation or mediation. Michael Bowsher QC is pre-eminent for UK and EU procurement; in Central Surrey Health Limited v NHS Surrey Downs CCG he successfully represented Central Surrey Health in the first stage of a procurement challenge. Philip Moser QC is also well known – acting for both claimants and government departments on procurement disputes. He acted for the NHS in a high-profile case where AbbVie challenged the health service on a Hepatitis C drug procurement. Valentina Sloane QC combines her EU procurement expertise with her tax practice. She acted for Eurotunnel in a headline grabbing case which challenged to the Secretary of State for Transport’s (Chris Grayling MP’s) procurement of Brexit-related ferry contracts. The government agreed to pay Eurotunnel £33m to settle the action.
2019 Silk – Valentina Sloane QC.
- Social housing
Leading Silk – Ian Wise QC
- Sport – leading set – fourth tier
Monckton Chambers’ members’ sports law work load is often focused around competition issues in the sports arena. Motorsport, however is also a notable area for the set: Paul Harris QC and Fiona Banks represented TDS Racing in the FIA Court of Appeal after one of its cars, which had won the LMP2 class on the track at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, was disqualified after modifications to its refuelling system were discovered.
Leading Silk – Paul Harris QC
2019 Silk – Ronit Kreisberger QC.
Leading Juniors – Fiona Banks.
- Tax: VAT – leading set – first tier
Members of Monckton Chambers regularly act for taxpayers and HMRC, standing out in VAT and other indirect tax cases that intersect with EU, human rights, and public law. Melanie Hall QC was instructed HMRC v Fortyseven Park Street, where she represented Marriott Hotel Group USA, in a case which clarified whether timeshare interests in luxury hotels fall within the hotel rather than the property sector. She also appeared before the Supreme Court in SAE Limited v HMRC, a case which confirmed that the client is VAT exempt because it supplies a university education. 2019 saw Valentina Sloane QC take silk.
2019 Silks – Valentina Sloane QC.