Monckton Chambers

Telecommunications Department

London (Bar)
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Monckton Chambers handles the full spread of telecoms work, and is particularly known for its strength in competition cases, where it appears both domestically and at a European level. It is a strong choice for advice on reforming telecoms legislation and for representation in regulatory disputes, and further boasts intellectual property expertise, having appeared in numerous key cases relating to standard-essential patents in the technology sector. Members here have noted EU law expertise and are known for their adroit handling of EU competition law cases, as well as their superior advice on EU regulatory frameworks. Their clients include significant telecoms companies, content providers and both UK and overseas regulatory bodies including Ofcom. One instructing solicitor enthused: "In an extremely technical and complicated matter before the UK CAT, which raised complex UK and EU law questions, the set landed our client an absolutely spectacular win."

Client service: "The set is well organised and has good clerks who adopt a welcoming approach to solicitors. The administration is good and they are always willing to help. Senior clerk David Hockney and deputy senior clerk John Keegan are particularly helpful." "David Hockney has always been very efficient at turning matters around quickly for us and keeping us updated on availability."

Alan Bates

Best known for his work on competition law and state aid matters, including sensitive cases that involve clients in the telecoms sector. He acts for prominent telecoms operators and telecoms service providers. Having spent a year on secondment to Ofcom, Bates is able to provide especially insightful advice on Ofcom decisions and inquiries to service providers. 
Strengths: "Provides really great advice in conference and superb representation in court. He delivers hard-hitting presentations without any grandstanding, and never acts anything other than courteously. Definitely a go-to person."
Recent work: Represented Vodafone and TalkTalk in an appeal against an Ofcom decision. The issue focused on the legal test for deciding whether a company has SMP in a certain market.

Anneli Howard

Outstanding senior junior often instructed in her own right for both advisory and contentious mandates. A top choice for UK operators in competition law cases, she is an expert in the competition law implications of decisions made by UK public bodies, and handles challenges to those decisions before the CAT and ECJ. She also assists telecoms operators with appeals against EC fines, and is well experienced in providing regulatory advice in relation to broadband rollouts at leasehold properties. 
Strengths: "An excellent lawyer, who is extremely hard-working and good on her feet."
Recent work: Represented Inmarsat in Viasat v Commission, a matter concerning in-flight digital communication services.

Ben Lask

Well regarded in the telecoms dispute sector, he frequently acts in competition-related cases, and has a broad client list that includes telecoms operators and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. He is considered by peers to be a strong choice as a junior for Ofcom matters. Lask appears frequently in cases before the CAT, High Court and Court of Appeal.
Strengths: "He is an excellent senior junior with a wide-ranging understanding of the law."
Recent work: Represented the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in relation to EE's challenge to an Ofcom decision. The decision concerned the setting of annual licence fees for mobile spectrum usage.

Daniel Beard QC

Regularly instructed by leading UK telecoms operators on their most important competition law-based regulatory appeals. He also handles competition law cases for operators based in continental Europe, and represents government bodies in relation to national security legislation in the telecoms field. Beard regularly handles market-defining cases in the sphere, including matters relating to the 5G spectrum and dark fibre.
Strengths: "A tenacious litigator and a colourful advocate, who is very eloquent in his advocacy." "He'll often see a different angle to everyone else, or an argument that's not super obvious at first. He then runs these ideas in a way that works, all the while remaining pragmatic and sensible." "A barrister who approaches complex disputes well, he is very strategic in his advice."
Recent work: Represented Google in relation to a European Commission fine concerning the company's advertising services arrangements.

Fiona Banks

Joins the rankings this year as a result of her growing practice in the telecommunications sector, and strong endorsement from peers and clients alike. Her broad-based telecommunications practice sees her handling competition and state aid matters for telco service providers, as well as representing clients in challenging Ofcom decisions.
Strengths: "An expert in the field," who "has a lot of experience and is good to work with." "She is very accurate in all she does and works hard at the detail. Her drafting is good and she knows how to handle complex issues.
Recent work: Represented Viasat in relation to challenging an Ofcom decision. The decision regarded the licensing of ground-based networks of Inmarsat, a competitor of Viasat.

Gerry Facenna QC

Has acted in several important public law cases that test the relationship between data privacy and the obligation on telecoms providers to store and disclose data in the interests of counter-terrorism. He also handles data privacy cases regarding EU data rules for search engines. Facenna frequently appears before the ECJ and ECHR. His clients include significant telecoms and technology companies, as well as government bodies.
Strengths: "An outstanding advocate who has a deep knowledge of the law relating to the freedom of expression, data protection and privacy." "He is ingenious, good in court, and very informed."
Recent work: Advised an international telecoms operator on a range of issues both in relation to telecoms legislation and regulations. The advice related to issues of data protection and competition law, including the interaction between the regulators of the UK and third countries.

Jon Turner QC

A lawyer with a well-established reputation as one of the most important telecoms silks in the UK, he advises on challenges to Ofcom decisions before the CAT, Administrative Court and Court of Appeal. Turner has been involved in some of the most high-profile matters in the telecoms sector, including defining cases relating to standard-essential patents and the spectrum auction. His varied client base includes significant telco service providers, tech giants, multinational conglomerates and delivery companies.
Strengths: "An exceptional lawyer and advocate, who is arguably the best competition barrister in the UK. This means that he is in high demand, but he is always willing to find time to deal with issues." "He is very thorough, he presents his points clearly, and he finesses his argument to the point where he knows he is going to win." "Jon is an engaging advocate, who is incredibly persuasive and doesn't give up."
Recent work: Represented Google in a competition litigation case regarding alleged abuse of dominance.

Josh Holmes QC

Continues to advance in the rankings in recognition of outstanding feedback from peers, clients and instructing solicitors. He is among the counsel of choice for Ofcom and other international regulatory bodies, and regularly advises on competition law challenges to decisions on key aspects of telecoms or media sector regulation. Holmes is highly regarded for his sector expertise and courtroom demeanour. He frequently acts in telecoms matters that contain multi-jurisdictional elements, and receives particular praise for his European law expertise.
Strengths: "Extremely precise, intellectually honest and very compelling." "He has unparalleled knowledge of telecoms and European law, and is absolutely brilliant at drafting and distilling arguments into easy to read and understand points." "A superb and incredibly clear advocate. If you need someone to take on really, really complicated factual and technical regulatory policy work, you go to him as he'll have good arguments and explain them in a crystal-clear way to the judge."
Recent work: Appeared in Vodafone and Talk Talk v Ofcom, leading the legal team defending Ofcom against an appeal challenging Ofcom’s new package regulating business data connections in the UK.

Kassie Smith QC

Best known for her work on important cases that test the relationship between the protection of IP rights and the use of standard-essential patents in mobile telecoms technology. She also advises on media and telecoms-related competition law cases, including in foreign jurisdictions, and further provides regulatory advice in the sector. Her client base includes government bodies and telecoms equipment companies.
Strengths: "She is measured in her approach and excellent at strategy, which ensures that the case is on a good footing from the outset."
Recent work: Acted for the Hong Kong Competition Commission in two cases under the Competition Ordinance.  The first involved the exchange of commercially sensitive pricing information and bid rigging in a tender process involving digital technology products. The second concerned itself with a long-running cartel in an important retail market.

Meredith Pickford QC

Has an impressive client list that includes many of the largest global telecoms operators and electronics manufacturers. He handles competition law and complex intellectual property disputes, including Court of Appeal cases that clarify the meaning of FRAND terms in the licensing of standard-essential patents. Pickford's economic background and expertise are of particular advantage for clients, according to interviewees.
Strengths: "Meredith is great to work with. He always provides clear advice and views, often concerning the application of complex, technical legislation to complex, technical facts, and he presents his advice in a way which is easy to understand and implement. What is more, Meredith is very happy to debate his views and clarify where appropriate." "He is impressive. His advice is clear and concise, and he demonstrates good judgement. He is decisive and able to quickly identify the winning points."
Recent work: Represented Google before the General Court of the EU in relation to an alleged abuse of dominance by the multinational tech giant.

Philip Woolfe

Drawing praise for his outstanding technical knowledge and ability, he plays a prominent role in important judicial review proceedings on behalf of various key operator clients, having been led by renowned telecoms silks both within chambers and in other sets. Woolfe further stands out for his instruction as sole counsel in competition law cases that inform Ofcom decisions on dark fibre access.
Strengths: "A very quick advocate. who knows the law inside out, and adopts new approaches. He's responsive, good to work with, and excellent on the technical details."
Recent work: Represented Abbey Law in a contract termination dispute. The dispute raised regulatory as well as contract law issues, and questions of technical breaches.

Robert Palmer QC

New silk who is noted for his increasing prominence in important cases in the telecoms sector. He handles complex advisory matters, regulatory appeals and court proceedings before the CAT, Supreme Court and ECJ. His client list includes leading telecoms operators and public authorities. Palmer is noted for his experience in acting for intelligence agencies in relation to protecting their data collection rights for intelligence and investigatory purposes. 
Strengths: "Very user-friendly and a pleasure to work with, he is very committed and an agile thinker. He has an excellent understanding of telecommunications regulation." "Extremely good, very thorough, an excellent lawyer, and a very good advocate. He is good on his feet."
Recent work: Represented a number of intelligence agencies including MI5 and the GCHQ before the CJEU in order to protect the agencies' ability to collect and use bulk data for intelligence and criminal investigation purposes.

Stefan Kuppen

Recognised as a valuable resource both for his advisory work relating to difficult points of telecoms regulation and on the defendant side of regulatory investigations. He is experienced at providing insightful advice on legislation relating to data protection and the interception of communications. Kuppen attracts particular attention for his experience gained working within the financial services sector.
Strengths: "In terms of practical knowledge of the industry and the law, he is pretty outstanding." "He is brilliant, excellent, measured, helpful, and creative."
Recent work: Advised Virgin Media in relation to appealing an Ofcom fine. The fine concerned the alleged unfair termination of consumer contracts.

Tim Ward QC

Popular choice among London solicitors and in-house counsel at UK and international telecoms companies faced with sensitive regulatory disputes. Interviewees highlight his advocacy skills and his ability to build a rapport with judges, junior barristers and lay clients. Ward showcases his expertise when advising government entities on reforming telecoms legislation.
Strengths: "Excellent, user-friendly, bright, and a good advocate." "He really gets into the detail of a case."
Recent work: Represented the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority concerning a challenge in relation to whether the body has the power to regulate certain parts of the Bahamas.