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UK Bar: Competition 2016

This year 38 practitioners have been identified by our research as the leaders in the field.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Leading Silks
Mark Hoskins QC Brick Court Chambers
Daniel Beard QC Monckton Chambers
Jon Turner QC Monckton Chambers
Helen Davies QC Brick Court Chambers
James Flynn QC Brick Court Chambers
Leading Juniors
Robert O'Donoghue Brick Court Chambers
Josh Holmes Monckton Chambers
Nicholas Gibson Matrix Chambers

Silks

Brick Court Chambers is regarded as “a competition law institution”. The set’s silks are held up as “the pinnacle of knowledge, experience and skill” in this field, gaining widespread acclaim from respondents. They often appear in the most noteworthy cases before the UK and EU Courts, as well as before the European Commission. Mark Hoskins QC is referred to as “the gold standard” for competition law. He is “extremely knowledgeable, incisive and a highly skilled analytical advocate”, according to one source. Helen Davies QC is praised for her “advanced commercial thinking” and “deep knowledge and appreciation of competition law”. Recent cases of note include FAPL v Ofcom and Barclays v Competition Commission, both before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). James Flynn QC is “simply superb”. He is regaled as “a long-standing authority on competition law”. Sources also add that he is an “advocate you want on your side, he is refined and intimidating in equal measure”. Kelyn Bacon QC is “a top-notch junior silk” with a “remarkably deep and varied skillset”, and “a brilliant command of the courtroom”. She is particularly renowned for her knowledge of state aid law and pharmaceutical regulation. Mark Brealey QC extensively experienced in the full range of competition investigations; he is well regarded by his clients and peers, who describe him as “extremely knowledgeable, perceptive and user-friendly”. Marie Demetriou QC is extensively experienced in providing advice and representation in complex domestic and EU competition law matters. She is recommended for her “extremely good advice that is delivered in a clear and practical manner.” Daniel Jowell QC is “very popular among his clients” and an acknowledged competition law expert among his peers, who praise his “stunning advocacy skills.” Recent noteworthy cases include Emerald Supplies Ltd v British Airways before the High Court and Arcadia Group Brands Limited v Visa Inc before the Commercial Court. The newest silk at the set, Maya Lester QC, is extensively experienced in competition investigations and appeals. Before talking silk, instructing solicitors regarded her “as a standout senior junior”, regularly praising her “attention to detail and assiduous nature”.

Monckton Chambers held in equally high regard by our sources. It is a set famed for its “thoroughbred expertise” in competition law, whose members distinguish themselves by their breadth of activity and experience in Europe’s most substantial competition cases. The set’s tradition of excellence and the outstanding level of its current silks ensure that Monckton is the destination of choice for many. Jon Turner QC is recommended for his “tremendous analytical and intellectual powers”. He is “a superb advocate” and “a consummate handler of the most complex and intricate cases”, according to clients. Daniel Beard QC is lauded by his peers and clients alike, who describe him as having “supernatural intelligence” and “a peerless command of technical issues”; he is also considered “a masterful strategist”. Tim Ward QC is an expert in damages actions, cartel penalty appeals and juridical reviews. He is praised by instructing solicitors as a “top-quality advocate, who is a real pleasure to work with”. Recent silk Meredith Pickford QC has “a terrific mind”, “a consummate understanding of economic arguments” and is also popular for being “a true fighter for his clients”. Paul Harris QC is an “excellent advocate”, who is well-schooled in competition litigation. Peers add that “he is a dynamic and potent force in the courtroom.” Paul Lasok QC is “a phenomenal barrister” with decades of experience representing clients before the UK courts, the ECJ and the CAT. He is has been described as “a human index of EU law”. David Unterhalter SC transferred his practice from South Africa to the English bar in 2009, having gained a reputation as “the leading competition law barrister in the country”. He is frequently recommended on the basis of his cartel, abuse of dominance and merger representations.

Blackstone Chambers is the closest player to the two most established competition law sets, a position stemming from its pedigree in public law. Four of its silks are recommended for their experience representing clients on complex competition law cases before the domestic and European courts and tribunals. Dinah Rose QC has a strong practice in EU and competition law, which compliments a broad array of specialisms; she often appears before the CAT and the high courts in telecommunication disputes. According to one peer, “Dinah is exceptional at everything she does; I have no hesitation recommending her for her competition law expertise in particular.” Thomas de la Mare QC’s competition law practice intersects with his market-leading expertise in public and EU law. Sources state that “he is exceptionally good on his feet, a fine tactician and very knowledgeable.” Lord Pannick QC is recommended for his “sound knowledge and experience of competition law matters”; one source notes that his “titanic reputation ensures that he is an imposing figure to his opposition.” Junior senior Brian Kennelly QC is “a supremely gifted counsel, combining intelligence, strategy and a diligent work ethic”. He is very active before the domestic and EU Commission and the courts in prominent cartel investigations and damages claims.

Several silks are also well known for their competition law practice outside these sets. Matrix Chambers has “a strong offering” led by the “outstanding” Rhodri Thompson QC. He is a “true specialist”, regularly appearing before the CAT and the UK and EU courts on all aspects of competition law.

Stephen Morris QC of 20 Essex Street is an “immensely respected senior silk” who is very active before the UK and EU courts and the commission”. According to one respondent, “He is able to draw on his experience and knowledge to navigate demanding situations.”

At One Essex Court, Thomas Sharpe QC is a competition law silk of “venerable standing”, who has appeared in some of the most noteworthy cartel proceedings, discriminatory pricing and abuse of dominance cases in the last few decades. He is particularly active in the telecommunication, energy and water sectors.

Juniors

Brick Court has an enviable array of senior and junior juniors, who are at the cutting edge of competition law matters and are widely praised for their professionalism and outstanding performances. Sarah Ford has an excellent reputation for “impeccable drafting and oral skills”, and she is regularly sought as junior counsel in high-stake cases by leading solicitors in the field. David Bailey is “a very impressive young junior”. A source stated, “I enjoy instructing [him] immensely; he is a talented advocate and very user-friendly.” Respondents also speak of his “exemplary unled performances before the Commission.” Sarah Love is well liked by respondents, and described as “an intelligent and astute junior with a strong background in economics and a pragmatic approach”. Robert O’Donoghue is recognised as a “resounding expert in competition and EU law”, as well as “a resourceful litigator”. Those who instruct him are particularly fond of his “unfaltering dedication and approachability”. Daniel Piccinin appears regularly before the courts and the commission. According to one peer, “As a young junior he really stands out; he has a refined style and is technically very assured.”

Monckton’s junior members are among the finest at the bar and have cut their teeth into some of the largest competition investigations in the UK and the EU. Josh Holmes impresses peers and clients time and again with his “excellent court sense” and “eloquent advocacy skills”. Combined with his vast experience before courts and regulators in the UK and EU, he is regularly referred to as “the best junior in his field”. Alistair Lindsay has “one of the best minds practicing competition law; he is highly cerebral and a phenomenal talent”. Many consider him “the first port of call” for merger control matters in particular, and recent appeals include GET v Competition and Markets Authority. Alison Berridge is described as “a rapidly rising junior”, who has over a decade’s worth of experience as a solicitor before her call in 2011. She is regularly instructed in merger approvals and antitrust investigations by clients who find her “practical, discerning and responsive”. Rob Williams receives strong praise for his “pervasive commercial insight and intelligence”. He has been involved with several notable damages claims and judicial reviews before the commission. Anneli Howard is admired as “smart, technical and precise” and “an absolute pleasure to instruct” by respondents. Significant clients include Visa, Orange Telecom, BT and Ryanair. Ronit Kreisberger is a senior junior and a former solicitor at a leading international law firm. According to sources, she is “truly excellent” and “very practical”, and she “understands the commercial needs of the client”. She is particularly active in the pharmaceutical sector and her clients include Pfizer, Roche, Teva and Merck.

Matrix Chambers, through its expertise in public law, has several juniors who are active in competition matters, with two individuals standing out in particular. Nicholas Gibson is “a very popular choice” among solicitors for his “outstanding attitude and dedication to his work”, “as well as his impressive array of experience for his year of call”. He is regarded as “an up-and-comer, who will go very far.” Christopher Brown is “a fully fledged competition law expert” and “an impressive junior counsel, who is growing in stature”.

At Blackstone Chambers, Tristan Jones has acted as junior counsel in many noteworthy follow-on damages claims. According to sources, “Tristan is very impressive”, he is able to provide “rapid and coherent responses” and he is widely considered to have “a very bright future.”

David Went is “a renowned competition law expert”, who recently moved from Sidley Austin to Exchange Chambers. He is “an authority” on cartels, dominance, mergers and state aid cases. While he was at Sidley Austin, clients considered him “extremely prompt, efficient and user-friendly.”

At Serle Court, Suzanne Rab is “frankly a joy to work with”. She practised for over a decade as a solicitor before her call in 2013, consequently she offers enviable experience and expertise in competition law and economic regulation to her clients. She is said to “combine a first-class mind with a rigorous focus” and “her work ethic and efficiency is exemplary.”

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