Hear from several Members of Monckton Chambers below on their career to date, life as a pupil at Monckton and the type of work you can expect to do as a practicing Member.
Read more on this year’s Chambers Student write-up.
I was extremely pleased to be offered pupillage at Monckton 3 years ago, as I hoped that a tenancy at Monckton would allow me to build a mixed practice which brought together areas of law which are rarely practised alongside each other. I have not been disappointed. My practice since joining Chambers has been an even split between popular areas of work in Chambers: claimant public law, competition law, information law, and procurement law.
Cases I have worked on have included defending the memorable decision by Her Majesty’s Passport Office to award the contract for the production of blue passports to a French firm, and the decision of the Department of Transport to settle the high-profile Eurotunnel (“Brexit Ferries”) litigation. In the area of public law, I regularly advise and act for vulnerable children, age disputed young people, and destitute families, bringing judicial reviews under the Children Act 1989.
Taking the past year as a snapshot, this combination of work has allowed me to work in small teams within Chambers on extremely complex and intellectually demanding competition and telecommunication appeals, whilst at the same time being sole counsel on several multi-day judicial reviews in the High Court, carrying out a four-day age assessment in the Upper Tribunal, and representing the Information Commissioner in defending an appeal in the First Tier Information Tribunal.
I am so pleased to have done my pupillage at Monckton. Monckton is involved in consistently high quality work in intellectually engaging areas of the law, usually involving the relationship between the state and individuals or companies. But just as important, I received fantastic support and coaching from each of my three pupil supervisors and the quality of my work improved significantly due to their help over the year. Pupillage gave me the confidence and skills to start building my own practice, and the supportive environment has continued now that I am a junior tenant.
Although I have some of my own instructions, as a “baby junior” I work principally on big cases with one or two barristers above me. It is a great way to be involved in significant work very early in my career and to continue to learn from colleagues. Since starting at Monckton, I have been involved in interesting and demanding cases across Monckton’s areas of practice, including a claim by a group of public authorities for damages as a result of a price-fixing cartel and a challenge about the procurement of air traffic control services at Gatwick Airport. I have helped to advise a range of central Government departments, including on cases before the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, as well as commercial clients and non-Governmental organisations seeking review of Government decisions. I have also had the chance to get involved in telecoms regulation working for BT, and sports law, for example advising the Rugby Football Union.
I joined Monckton Chambers having completed a training contract at a City law firm and I now do a lot of sports law work, together with work in the commercial regulatory field. Whether as a junior on larger cases or in my own right, I immediately found I had a high level of responsibility in cases of real significance. For example, I worked on the intervention by the Football Association, and other football, rugby and golf bodies in the appeals brought by Sky and the Premier League against Ofcom’s decision to compel Sky to sell its sports channels to other TV platforms. All of the sports bodies that I represented intervened on the basis that they considered that the regulation imposed by Ofcom would negatively impact on the value of their audio-visual rights in the future, with far-reaching consequences for each of their sports.
One of the things I have really appreciated as a junior tenant at Monckton Chambers is the friendly and collegiate working environment. Members are always willing to discuss and share experiences which is particularly welcome when starting out at the Bar. That supportive environment extends beyond work, as I recently appreciated when I took maternity leave. The clerks were very understanding of my situation and I felt under no pressure to return until I was ready. They have also been entirely accommodating of my desire to work flexible hours, where possible
I joined Monckton Chambers in 2014 when I was 9 years call. My practice is primarily claimant judicial review, across a range of areas including children related, education, community care and mental health, data and information, immigration and asylum and social housing. Many of my cases involve the application of fundamental human rights and are heard in the High Court. I have been fortunate to develop a practice which has also taken me to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on several occasions. A number of my cases are politically sensitive, including most recently the High Court’s consideration of the lawfulness of the mass retention of communications data by the government.
Since I have joined Chambers my practice has broadened. I have been brought in as a junior to advise a major pharmaceuticals company with respect to a potential judicial review claim against central government. I am being led in a commercial case involving a dispute about the applicability of the EU Commercial Agents Directive and I have begun undertaking procurement litigation.
Chambers is a “broad church”, which I really like. Whilst my work and that of a number of other members is primarily claimant based, several barristers in Chambers undertake work for the government. I have found this to be a healthy mix, especially after coming from a chambers which only undertook claimant work. Monckton is a very friendly place to be and people want to try to help you get ahead. It is also a modern, forward-looking and unstuffy environment and I believe is an excellent place where you can develop a successful practice.
Being part of a set of chambers which does lots of high quality, intellectually demanding work has been a huge help to me in building my practice from my first day as a tenant onwards. I enjoy the challenge of getting to grips with big cases involving complex interrelated legal, technical and economic issues. For example, I was recently involved in a case in which internet service providers were challenging new legislation that could be used to require them to take action to stop illegal f ile-sharing. The applicants raised multiple arguments based on EU and human rights law, claiming that the measures were disproportionate, should have been notified in advance to the European Commission, and violated data privacy rights.
Other recent cases have included: the airport operator BAA’s challenge to the Competition Commission decision requiring it to sell Stansted airport; a judicial review of the Home Office’s refusal to release information about what action it has taken in response to misconduct by animal research scientists which had been exposed as a result of an animal rights group’s undercover investigation; and the finding of a post 2012 tenant for the Olympic Stadium. In addition, I am currently advising a coalition of environmental groups preparing a challenge under EU law to arrangements regarding the ‘feed-in tariff’ scheme for promoting renewable energy. It’s exciting to work on cases that are making the news; and it’s a privilege to be trusted to give advice that will have major impacts on big companies, government policy or millions of people.
My indirect tax practice has given me the chance, right from my earliest years of practice, to argue cases on my own that have turned on difficult points of EU law, and sometimes to obtain references to the European Court of Justice. No other area of law gives you that sort of early exposure to EU law litigation.
Before joining the Bar, I worked as a management consultant, as an economist in the City.
I joined Monckton Chambers because I was attracted by the opportunity to combine commercial and public law. This is reflected in my practice, which is focussed on competition law and economic regulation. It covers both damages actions between private companies and challenges to regulatory and other public law decisions.
I enjoy my work for a number of reasons. First, I get to participate in cases at the cutting edge of the law. Many of my cases are in fast-moving sectors such as technology, media and communications, and to keep up the law needs to evolve rapidly. I am currently acting for Google in its challenge to a €2.4bn fine imposed by the European Commission for the way Google presented its search results. Second, the cases are intellectually demanding. They involve issues which tend to be complex both legally and factually. This complexity is augmented by the typically international nature of the disputes which brings with it issues of conflict of laws, and often involves difficult strategic points concerning the interplay of different legal systems. Third, I have the privilege of working with highly talented clients who keep me on my toes.
I also value immensely the culture at Monckton. Other barristers and staff are collaborative, open and supportive, ensuring that Monckton is a pleasurable environment in which to work and, on occasion, even play.
I joined Monckton Chambers in 1990, after 5 years specialising in building and construction law. My practice at Monckton spanned a wide range of areas, including EU law, commercial litigation, aviation law, professional negligence, judicial review, pensions and employment. After a few years, I chose to specialise in tax. I now do little else. However, in addition to appearing before Tax Tribunals, my chosen specialism frequently takes me to the Administrative Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice, typically with juniors from chambers. My cases often involve entire sectors and millions of taxpayers. I tend to be instructed in litigation which will change the law, which means that my cases often last for many years. Moving to Monckton Chambers was a career defining decision. I am surrounded by excellence, which makes for a very stimulating environment in which to work. It is also exceptionally friendly and welcoming.
I joined Monckton Chambers in 1999 when I was five years call. At that time, I had no expertise at all in EU law. I was lucky enough to learn on the job through working with some outstanding silks. I’ve since acted in more than 50 cases before the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
A large part of my practice is commercial public law. That typically involves challenges to regulators: whether broadcasting, energy or competition regulators. The cases are complex and demanding: they usually have an EU and/or an ECHR dimension. I frequently lead teams of juniors. The subject matter is wide ranging and international. In the last year I’ve worked on cases concerning Russian sanctions, Icelandic banking, an Italian merger, internet commerce, and outside of public law, many international cartels.