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Monckton Chambers is widely recognised as a superb choice for complex competition law mandates across all key areas of practice. Members of chambers advise on major follow-on or standalone private enforcement actions in the UK courts, and have experience in key cases on the certification of opt-out collective actions. They further stand out for their focus on merger control, and have represented merging parties, competition regulators or other UK public bodies in some of the key investigations of the day. Members here are regularly to be seen acting on either side of appeals of CMA or EC decisions before courts in the UK or in Luxembourg, and also win praise for their work on competition law issues arising through price control reviews. Of late, they have shown their worth in the most important cases in the market including the 'pay for delay' pharmaceutical case, the trucks cartel litigation, the air cargo litigation, and the investigation into Fox's proposed acquisition of Sky. Those that instruct the set say that "it has developed an incredibly strong brand in competition and EU law, and has true leaders in the area, who are responsive and fully aware of what is and what is not achievable in a case."
Client service: "With the barristers at Monckton you are comfortable that they are giving their full attention to every matter and that they are not too busy." "John Keegan at Monckton is seriously impressive; he makes sure that he's on top of everything and he understands how to help our clients." "The senior clerk David Hockney is very helpful in steering us to other juniors within Monckton and is always very prompt." "The clerks are willing to work to explore alternative funding methods and be flexible." "Linda Antonioni on reception is the heart and soul of Monckton. It is great how she seems to know every client and all of the current work you have going on."
Has a strong track record in administrative appeals against decisions made by UK or EU competition regulators. He has notable experience of directly defending the EC or acting for companies seeking to defend successful outcomes from complaints to UK sector regulators. Bates further assists recipients of tax benefits with challenges to EC findings of illegal state aid. He also attracts attention for his work on class actions in the cartel damages field.
Strengths: "Always has in mind what the client is trying to achieve and how he can help them to achieve that goal." "He is a tenacious advocate."
Recent work: Defended the EC in an appeal against its decision to fine British Airways EUR104 million for its participation in the air cargo cartel.
Attracts instructions both from solicitors and directly from UK regulators to advise on merger control or behavioural investigations.
Strengths: "Alison spent quite a few years in private practice, so has a real understanding of the timelines and availability that solicitors are required to give their clients." "She gives practical and commercial advice," and "has great tactical understanding in terms of knowing what the client wants to achieve and seeing how that can be delivered."
Recent work: Advised the FCA on its investigation into potential collusion between asset managers in the pricing of IPOs.
Stands out as a merger control specialist, and is noted for his former experience of having worked within a major City law firm. He also assists with abuse of dominance matters and other competition law questions.
Strengths: "Works very collaboratively with clients and solicitors, and gives very succinct and pragmatic opinions." "He is great on merger control, which is one area that the Bar doesn't cover that much. Alistair is very cerebral but is also user-friendly and good at explaining issues to clients."
Recent work: Assisted Sainsbury's and Asda with an application to the CAT for an extension on their deadline to respond to the CMA's merger control investigation.
Widely recognised as a superb choice to handle a wide range of competition law cases. She is often chosen to work together with leading silks on either the defendant or claimant side of important follow-on damages claims, and appears unled in standalone private enforcement actions.
Strengths: "Her experience over all areas of competition law, whether it be regulatory appeals or follow-ons for defendants or claimants, means that she's able to look at cases from all angles and give really pragmatic advice." "She is really practical, pragmatic and commercial."
Recent work: Acted for the complainant at all stages of a CMA investigation into Ping's online distribution practices. Howard drafted the initial complaint, handled hearings before the CMA and intervened in the subsequent CAT appeal against the CMA's decision to fine Ping for breach of competition rules.
Represents private clients and government departments as claimants in competition damages claims, both at a UK level and before the EC. She also advises clients on CMA investigations into abuse of dominance.
Strengths: "She knows competition damages actions inside out and is very thorough."
Recent work: Acted for the group of claimants led by Emerald Supplies in their case against British Airways and other participants in the air cargo cartel.
Often defends competition regulators in CAT or CJEU appeals against their decisions, and has recent experience in cases relating to price-fixing cartels or vertical restraints. He also advises on the claimant side of cartel damages claims.
Strengths: "Very responsive and the quality of his output on short deadlines is very high." "He is easy to work with and extremely bright."
Recent work: Defended the CMA's decision to fine Ping for banning the online sale of its golf clubs.
Advises competition regulators on appeals against their decisions, and supports private sector clients throughout CMA behavioural investigations, handling any subsequent follow-on damages actions for either claimants or defendants. He further stands out for his ability to take on smaller domestic commercial claims that raise competition law arguments.
Strengths: "Fully gets to grips with the detail of a case" and is "good at identifying the killer point." "Thoughtful and academic, he's interested both in the law and in the client's business underlying the work." "He is a really calming influence when you're faced with large-scale, complex litigation."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant group in Emerald Supplies Ltd and others v British Airways Plc. The case raised the question of whether UK courts have jurisdiction to award damages for cartel activities that occurred prior to 2004, the date when national courts were made responsible for the enforcement of EU competition law.
Daniel Beard QC
Highly sought-after silk who earns superb praise for his oral advocacy skills in complex competition cases. He handles diverse matters spanning competition damages claims, merger control advisory topics and appeals against CMA or Ofcom decisions, acting for both claimants and defendants. He also advises on CJEU appeals against EC findings of illegal state aid.
Strengths: "Has thousands of hours' experience on his feet, which shows in his delivery." "He thinks quickly on his feet when asked questions by the judge and doesn't get flustered." "Daniel is a very persuasive advocate both in appellate courts and at first instance. He knows the law back to front and has a good strategic view."
Recent work: Appeared in Emerald Supplies Limited and Others v British Airways, the air cargo cartel case.
George Peretz QC
Has a broad EU and competition law practice that extends from state aid cases to abuse of dominance and the defence of EC cartel decisions in CJEU appeals. He also has proven experience of intervening in CMA merger control investigations and applying for judicial review of Ofcom decisions that affect competition in the UK media sector.
Strengths: "A great thinker when it comes to EU and competition law, who is well known for his expertise." "His thoroughness, common sense and good client manner always impress."
Recent work: Represented the EC in separate CJEU appeals brought by Air Canada and by Latam Airlines Group and Lan Cargo. The airlines sought to overturn fines imposed for the fixing of air freight prices.
In-demand junior who is often paired with leading competition silks on high-profile cases. He defends private enforcement actions and handles appeals against EC or CMA decisions. Bourke attracts attention for his previous experience working in the EC and at a major City firm.
Strengths: "His skill really outweighs his year of call; he is clever, thorough and knows EU competition law inside out." "Incredibly hard-working, creative and thoughtful."
Recent work: Defended Google in a private enforcement action brought by Unlockd. The claimant alleged abuse of dominance following Google's decision to block access to the Unlockd app on Android phones.
Jon Turner QC
Enjoys an outstanding reputation for his competition litigation practice. He represents claimants and defendants in market-leading follow-on or standalone damages claims, including key cases on behalf of major IT or retail sector clients. He acts either for private companies or for the CMA in administrative appeals of competition decisions, and has proven experience in cases heard before the CAT, the UK senior courts or the CJEU.
Strengths: "Rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in as a full member of the team." "He has a good read on what judges are going to like and makes sure that the whole energy of the case points in the right direction." "If an argument comes from him judges take it seriously, because they know that he is not going to take silly points. Even if it is a difficult point, he articulates it in a way that the judge will get behind." "Clients love him because he's able to explain things very clearly and concisely." "He knows what a general counsel needs to do to translate thorny legal issues to their CEO; he is able to give nuggets of concise information and advice that they can pass on to stakeholders in their business."
Recent work: Acted for a claimant group consisting of Asda, Argos and Morrisons in their appeal against a High Court decision on the recoverability of interchange fees charged by Mastercard.
Josh Holmes QC
Has a broad competition law practice, advising clients on state aid, abuse of dominance and cartel matters, and has quickly established a reputation as an important competition law silk. Holmes acts on the defendant side of follow-on damages claims, earning praise for his ability to assess quantum in complex cases. He also assists public sector clients with the defence of regulatory decisions at the CJEU or in UK administrative appeals. He has experience of handling diverse cases relating to the pharmaceutical and telecoms sectors.
Strengths: "Able to get to grips with difficult points quickly and simplify them. He drafts things in a really clear way and brings out the story behind the case." "Insightful, commercial and very client-friendly, he is someone whose advice is always spot on." "His arguments are to the point and he gets things across very concisely."
Recent work: Acted for Rabobank in a claim brought by the FDIC seeking damages for LIBOR-fixing among European banks.
Offers a broad competition law practice, advising on merger clearance, follow-on damages claims, pricing and state aid cases. He frequently acts for claimants in competition litigation.
Strengths: "Particularly good when working on quantum and testing whether or not the economics behind our argument works." "He is extremely industrious" and "is willing to explain the situation in a way that is easy to understand."
Recent work: Acted for the NHS in Scotland and Northern Ireland on their joint claim against Servier. The claimants relied on a decision by the EC that Servier had abused its dominant position through measures taken to stop competitors from selling generic perindopril tablets.
Popular choice for key UK sector regulators seeking to defend challenges to the exercise of their competition law enforcement powers, appearing both as sole counsel and as a key part of counsel teams. She also has experience in competition damages claims for technology sector defendants and retail sector claimants.
Strengths: "Very dependable and able to get things done in tight timeframes for demanding clients." "She understands the client's interests and is able to work out strategically how best to put together a case. Her drafting is impressive and she is diligent and tireless in getting things done."
Recent work: Defended Ofcom's decision to fine Royal Mail for abuse of dominance. The regulator investigated a complaint filed by Whistl following price increases for Royal Mail's wholesale customers.
Kassie Smith QC
Advises competition regulators and government bodies on their handling of behavioural or merger control investigations, and on wider public reviews of competition law enforcement in overseas jurisdictions. She earns further praise for her handling of commercial damages actions.
Strengths: "You can rely upon her to working incredibly well with the team when building a case." "She is calm and level-headed in a crisis, tackling everything with a good deal of pragmatism." "Clients really appreciate her advice as she can get across difficult issues and make them easy to understand."
Recent work: Conducted an independent review of the Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority on behalf of the States of Jersey. The review focused on the JCRA's handling of an abuse of dominance investigation into ATF Overseas Holdings.
Laura Elizabeth John
Has a strong reputation among instructing solicitors and members of the Bar for her experience in follow-on damages claims. She acts for private and public sector claimants on high-value cases, and has clients from a number of sectors, including the energy, healthcare and technology industries.
Strengths: "Super-clever, really practical and massively knowledgeable about the law." "She is not afraid to challenge and push back on arguments."
Recent work: Appeared unled for the Welsh NHS in its follow-on damages claim against Servier.
Benefits from regular instructions across a diverse range of competition and wider EU law topics. She advises on state aid cases, public procurement issues and appeals against decisions taken by UK sector regulators, and is also an expert in follow-on damages cases and IP disputes that raise key competition law arguments.
Strengths: "Able to get to grips with a large amount of detail and background in a short time." "She works very well in a team and can take on the lion's share of any case." "Ligia is an encyclopaedia of competition law knowledge, who spots issues very well and gives pragmatic and commercial advice."
Recent work: Advised Royal Mail on its appeal against the £50 million fine imposed by Ofcom for abuse of dominance.
Mark Brealey QC
A leading practitioner both at domestic and EU level, who acts for both claimants and defendants. He has a broad practice, representing clients in cartel follow-on claims, pricing investigations and FRAND licensing matters, and has attracted recent attention for his success in overturning CMA decisions on excessive pricing in the pharmaceuticals sector.
Strengths: "He has an understated advocacy style" and a "really good nose for how a case should be run." "In court you can tell that all of the senior competition judges trust his views." "He breaks down complicated issues for the judge to understand" and "you see all levels of the judiciary paying a lot of attention to him."
Recent work: Acted for Ryder in its claim against MAN and other trucks manufacturers for losses incurred as a result of the defendants' participation in a large-scale price-fixing cartel.
Meredith Pickford QC
Defends important technology or automotive sector clients, amongst others, in follow-on damages claims brought in the UK seeking damages for alleged abuse of dominance or cartel conduct. He acts for claimants in cases against financial services companies, and also advises on sensitive regulatory appeals. Interviewees regularly highlight his ability to engage with economics arguments in competition damages claims.
Strengths: "An extremely hands-on QC, who gets into the detail and lives and breathes the case." "His capacity to absorb facts and get right to the heart of the issues is impressive." "Sometimes the message we need to give to the client can be difficult, especially where there are potential criminal sanctions for the individuals concerned. If you are trying to give advice to a client at an early stage, having someone of his stature, who is also very calm and measured, is vitally important."
Recent work: Acted for DAF in the defence of several high-value follow-on claims brought by purchasers of trucks.
Increasingly attracts attention for his contributions to follow-on damages claims and other private enforcement actions. He also handles CJEU appeals against EC cartel decisions.
Strengths: "His attention to detail is good and his drafting is excellent." "He is practical and willing to work hard, and is someone who gets on very well with clients."
Recent work: Defended Daimler in claims brought by various parties affected by the trucks cartel.
Paul Harris QC
Widely regarded as an excellent choice for cases that call for a forceful advocacy style, he acts for clients in a number of cartel litigation cases, appearing for both claimants and defendants. He also assists parties with abuse of dominance and merger clearance matters, and attracts attention for his work on high-profile cases that test the CAT's application of rules on the certification of class actions.
Strengths: "A powerful advocate and a strong force in court." "He narrows down the salient points and is forceful in his delivery of them." "Clients completely rely on his advice and really value everything he says," valuing the fact that he is "very clear-cut and direct."
Recent work: Defended Daimler in proceedings filed by various claimant groups seeking to obtain damages from participants in the trucks cartel.
Philip Moser QC
Acts for both claimants and defendants in cartel damages claims. He also assists clients with state aid law and abuse of dominance allegations.
Strengths: "Sensitive to the challenges of client-facing work. He can be flexible and he understands different perspectives very quickly."
Recent work: Defended Prysmian in proceedings brought by Vattenfall and other claimants seeking damages for the increased cost of power cables as a result of a market-sharing cartel among European cable manufacturers. The defendants sought to strike out Vattenfall's claim based on lack of jurisdiction to hear the case in the UK.
Plays a supporting role in follow-on damages claims on behalf of both claimants and defendants, having acted on highlight claims in the pharmaceuticals and air freight sectors. He has notable additional experience appearing either led or unled in standalone private enforcement cases.
Strengths: "His critical thinking is superb." "He turns things around quickly, is on top of all of the detail in cases and has good instincts about the right approach to take." "His direct and clear approach plays well."
Recent work: Acted for Korean Air in the defence of proceedings brought by Emerald Supplies and others against participants in the air cargo cartel.
Known for his former experience working as a solicitor and for his regular selection to handle complex cases for the CMA. He defends the UK competition authority in procedural challenges brought by companies that are subject to dawn raids or that are facing phase II merger control investigations. He also supports claimants or defendants in competition damages claims.
Strengths: "Displays excellent attention to detail, is robust in his advice and is strong in court." "He gets on top of quite complex factual legal situations very quickly, is hands-on and is easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for DAF in several pieces of litigation arising from the Commission’s information exchange infringement decision relating to medium and heavy trucks.
Ronit Kreisberger QC
New silk who has proven skill in complex competition claims. She advises on CAT and CJEU appeals against adverse decisions on pay-for-delay agreements in the pharmaceuticals sector, and has experience of intervening for competition regulators in high-profile follow-on damages claims. Kreisberger assists with the competition law aspects of disputes in key regulated sectors.
Strengths: "She gets how clients want to receive advice." "You can talk to her about any significant case and she always has an interesting insight."
Recent work: Assisted the EC with its intervention in a key Court of Appeal case concerning interchange fees charged by Visa and Mastercard.
Well known for his handling of major competition damages claims, including those seeking to enforce EC infringement decisions against trucks, cathode ray tube and power cables manufacturers. He represents both claimants and defendants, and is noted for his advice to regulators and government bodies on appeals against authority decisions, particularly those relating to the pharmaceutical industry.
Strengths: "Thoughtful and hard-working," he's "a calming influence, who works to build a consensus among parties." "He's extremely good value for someone of his level of call as he has a decade of experience of practising in India."
Recent work: Acted for Singapore Airlines and other Part 20 defendants brought into cartel damages proceedings filed by Emerald Supplies against British Airways.
Tim Ward QC
Sought after for a number of different competition law matters, assisting claimants and defendants with cartel and abuse of dominance cases. He acts for several important TMT sector companies.
Strengths: "Looks to deal with issues head on, before the other side raises the point." "He's extremely personable, gets stuck in to the nitty-gritty of the day-to-day drafting," has "good strategic judgement and never loses sight of the client's broader commercial perspective." "Tim is pragmatic and understands what is needed from senior counsel in terms of giving advice that can be fed to the board; he's very much to the point and clear."
Recent work: Acted for several truck purchasers including Royal Mail, BT and Dawsongroup in their claims against truck manufacturers.