CHAMBERS UK, 2009
Chambers UK 2009 made 47 recommendations over 10 fields.
ADMINISTRATIVE & PUBLIC LAW ~ OTHER NOTABLE PRACTITIONERS
Jon Turner QC of Monckton Chambers "works tirelessly and is trusted by people of all levels." A competition specialist with a respected public law practice, he is consistently rated by clients, who assert: "We have always had the feeling that he offers that extra something that can make the difference in complex cases."
Also at this chambers, Tim Ward is "an extremely articulate, imaginative and very experienced" senior junior. He focuses on mainstream judicial review, as well as competition and EU human rights law. Clients find him "very sharp and able to cut through to the important issues," while impressed solicitors comment that "he prepares, with the minimum of fuss, clear and focused pleadings that strike precisely the right note." Up-and-comer Gerry Facenna received rave reviews after an active year in 2007. He acts on both the claimant and respondent sides in public law matters, and was involved in leading environmental judicial review cases in 2007. "He's a real team player with an eye for detail, who turns things around very quickly and is just very practical and useful to have on your team."
CIVIL LIBERTIES ~ OTHER NOTABLE PRACTITIONERS
Piers Gardner at Monckton Chambers is "terrific technically." His experience of working in Strasbourg equips him with knowledge of the ECHR that few can rival, which proves highly effective when combined with his "forceful advocacy."
COMPETITION AND EU ~ LEADING SET
Monckton Chambers offers human rights, public law and commercial dispute resolution expertise, but remains best known as a "competition law titan." "Riven with excellence through and through," it has "simply amazing capabilities" in this regard and is populated by "barristers who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in." As one commentator states: "The set doesn't have one weak member - even the juniors are amazingly professional and knowledgeable individuals." "An unsurpassed choice as a leader," Peter Roth QC "is the main name here. With his "tremendously considered strategic approach" he may not be the most showy lawyer, but is undoubtedly extremely effective for his clients. He has extensive experience in competition law, proving particularly good at cross-examination: "intellectual and focused in his approach," he is "a real go-to guy for competition issues - you can rely on him 100%." Paul Lasok QC "is excellent at seeing the EU rules in their wider context, and always delivers pragmatic and creative advice." With his long-standing experience in acting before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), ECJ and European Court of First Instance, he is "a very exciting advocate whose gut reaction can be trusted." Lasok impresses with his "highly commercial approach," and by dint of the fact that he "is generally able to answer any question in ten words." A "genius who oozes authority," Christopher Vajda QC "wears his enormous intellect lightly." This "great team player" is not only applauded for his "first-class forensic skills," but is also highly praised for his "charm and approachability." Rupert Anderson QC astonishes clients and peers equally with his "responsiveness and ability to go to court and give the client what he or she needs." He "has an excellent grasp of detail in complex cases, and is always spot on, getting right to the core of the issue." Regarded as "one of the greats," the "amazing and accomplished" Sir Jeremy Lever QC recently celebrated 50 years at the Bar. Interviewees say "he is one of the most senior and able competition barristers there is," with particular knowledge of competition and state aid law. "If you want someone to stand up for your client, John Swift QC is the man for the job." Hailed as "user-friendly, charismatic and extremely dedicated," he has had a busy year, representing Tesco in the Competition Commission inquiry into the groceries market and handling myriad other matters. The highly regarded Jon Turner QC is "a blessed barrister," according to clients. As well as being "extremely bright and brilliant at recalling evidence," he enjoys the untrammeled respect of both peers and clients. A lawyer who had a glittering career as the OFT's standing counsel, he is felt to be growing very well in to his role as a silk, bringing "a very useful counter-perspective to proceedings." Nicholas Paines QC impresses clients and peers equally with "his very thorough work, especially in mind-blowingly complex areas of law that most mortals would give up on long before he does." His decades of experience have seen him involved in a number of landmark ECJ cases.
The well-regarded Daniel Beard is "a forceful and accomplished advocate" who displays a "great creativity and intellectual curiosity." Known for his "expert handling of his clients and down-to-earth attitude", he appears before the Competition Commission, CAT, ECJ, OFT and Court of First Instance. George Peretz continues to earn respect as a result of his knowledge across competition, regulatory and EU law matters generally. " A worthy opponent who will always give you an individual view," he "offers sound judgement." Peretz acted as a UK antitrust counsel for Delta 2 in relation to its highly public attempt to acquire Sainsbury's. "Intellectually brilliant," Philip Moser has "outstanding EU law and commercial knowledge." Peers commend him for his "charming manner, tremendous knowledge and professional style as an advocate." The equally respected Meredith Pickford not only "has tremendous economic skills, "but is also "a smooth character and a good opponent." He regularly appears before the Court of Appeal and the High Court, and is seen as "bright, dedicated and a definite star of the future." The highly capable Kassie Smith is seen by peers and clients as "an intelligent, gifted and very hard-working individual." She offers great expertise in competition matters, having appeared a number of times before the CAT and the ECJ. Clients are impressed with Paul Harris' "aggression and down-to-earth client-handling abilities." Representing clients before the CAT and ECJ, he is "a very charming individual" who is particularly recommended for contentious matters. The "responsive, hard-working and practical" Anneli Howard is popular with clients, who say she "listens to what you want to achieve and goes about it in an incredibly time-responsive manner." Her expertise covers EC and UK competition law, telecoms and human rights issues. Tim Ward wins clients and peers over with his "intellect, great presentation skills and ability to think on his feet." Having acted in more than 30 cases before the ECJ - seven of those in 2007 alone - he offers solid experience. The "extremely talented" Ronit Kreisberger enters the rankings as a result of tremendous feedback and the impressive work engagements she has recently undertaken. Previously a solicitor at Herbert Smith, she "is flexible, really knows her stuff and understands the needs of clients." This "very engaging individual" is "diligent, thorough and accessible," and was part of the set's team advising the OFT on its credit card investigation. Interviewees say Josh Holmes "has an encyclopaedic knowledge of competition and European law and a very professional demeanour that puts clients at ease." Peers add that "he is very bright and has an excellent grasp of competition and EU law issues." Ben Rayment wins favour with many competitors for being "a bright and straightforward barrister who brings clarity to very complex issues." He covers state aid, procurement and general competition matters, and acted for the Competition Commission on an appeal against its decision to order interim measures to secure the safeguarding of assets during a merger inquiry.
CONSTRUCTION ~ OTHER NOTABLE PRACTITIONERS
Michael Bowsher QC of Monckton Chambers is included in the tables as a result of his skill and expertise in the arena of disputed procurement. As one of the few with knowledge of this area, he is as likely to be hired as anyone if a tendering process becomes contended.
ENVIRONMENT ~ OTHER NOTABLE PRACTITIONERS
"Bright and calm," Kassie Smith of Monckton Chambers "runs her cases very hard" and is held in high esteem for her understanding of "all the quirks" of European and domestic environment law. She has been instructed by both the Environment Agency and Greenpeace, and acted in a House of Lords appeal over a case involving the UK's implementation of EIA and IPPC directives.
PROCUREMENT ~ LEADING SET
"The obvious first choice when it comes to public procurement," Monckton Chambers impresses clients with its "unrivalled experience in the field" and its provision of "pragmatic, commercial advice." It has within its walls "the most phenomenally knowledgeable procurement specialist out there," Michael Bowsher QC. He acts in leading cases, such as Lion Apparel Systems v Firebuy, and is much sought after as he is "solution-oriented, down-to-earth and approachable." Once in the courtroom, he is "absolute dynamite," according to commentators. "Heavyweight procurement expert" Paul Lasok QC impresses clients with his "tremendous brain power." He offers "clear, practical and creative advice," and is particularly recommended for his ability to apply wider EU law perspectives to difficult questions of public or utilities procurement law. "Accomplished advocate" Christopher Vajda QC advises central government departments and local authorities on public procurement matters generally. He maintains the set's strong tradition in this area, as does the "extremely bright and forward-thinking" Nicholas Paines QC. Paines advises contracting authorities on tender processes and potential challenges from unsuccessful bidders.
Clients recommend Jennifer Skilbeck for her "in-depth knowledge and user-friendly, incisive, commercial advice." She "reacts fast and is immensely practical," something which endears her to her many instructing solicitors. Valentina Sloane is praised for her "technical excellence" and is seen as being "extremely user-friendly and responsive." She is recommended alongside Rob Williams, a lawyer who has "strong, analytical skills and a down-to-earth practical approach." A "real team player who engages well with clients," Williams was recently led by Michael Bowsher QC in Lion Apparel Systems v Firebuy.
SPORTS ~ OTHER NOTABLE PRACTITIONERS
Peter Roth QC of Monckton Chambers is greatly admired for his competition work... Paul Harris of Monckton Chambers is a standout junior who has "an excellent manner with clients and an impressive grasp of sports law." "A tenacious litigator," he is considered sure to remain at the top of his game.
TAX: INDIRECT TAX ~ LEADING SET
Expert at European law, this set has considerable depth when it comes to indirect tax and VAT. Leading the charge are silks Melanie Hall QC and Paul Lasok QC. Renowned for her "prodigious strength in court," Hall has a reputation as a "tenacious fighter and cross-examiner." She has made numerous appearances in the High Court and VAT Tribunal for prestigious clients on major cases including JPMorgan v HMRC, Boots plc v HMRC, Vodafone v HMRC and HMRC v Weald Leasing. Lasok earns respect for his "first-class ability to deal with technical detail" and is hailed as "an innovator in VAT and EU work." He appears for HMRC and the taxpayer. Clients confirm that "his enormous experience really shines through in court," and that his advice and representation are "immensely valuable." Christopher Vajda QC takes an "incredibly cerebral approach" to VAT, amongst other matters, and is particularly adept at work at the intersection of VAT and completion law. He regularly appears in the ECJ, House of Lords, Chancery Division and Court of Appeal, and recently acted for HMRC on Condé Nast v HMRC, Newcastle United v HMRC, LMUK v HMRC and Total UK v HMRC.
Valentina Sloane brings a "clear, precise and analytical" approach to work for HMRC and taxpayers on a wide range of matters, including VAT. Considered "excellent on paper" she is a "tough, tenacious and brilliant" advocate. Paul Harris "always impresses" on VAT cases, consistently proving himself a "real fighter." He is rated along with Peter Mantle, who "leaves no stone unturned" when handling VAT work for HMRC. Mantle is also building a substantial taxpayer practice.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS ~ LEADING SET
Competition law supremo Monckton Chambers continues to deal with a number of matters relating to the telecoms industry. It is able to approach its cases with confidence as it has barristers of the caliber of Christopher Vajda QC, "a man of enormous intellect" who has acted in a number of proceedings before the ECJ, Court of First Instance and CAT. Vajda represented the UK in a state aid challenge to the way in which BT's network is assessed for business rates, and further acted for Ofcom in a case concerning access to the Sky platform. The "formidably bright" Peter Roth QC is a leading authority in the field of competition and community law. His extensive advocacy and trial experience has seen him act for Ofcom before the CAT on a series of test appeals regarding the EC regulatory framework. Roth was also involved in the Floe Telecommunications v Ofcom test case on the scope of the powers of the CAT itself, and has impressed regulators with his "ability to pitch complicated legal concepts at the appropriate level.
Anneli Howard also had a key role in the Floe case, and has been advising Ofcom in the Court of Appeal. She has also represented BT in the Orange v Ofcom jurisdiction appeal, and acted for the same client in the termination rates dispute. Commentators note that "her work output is phenomenal and her intellectual ability first-rate." Meredith Pickford impresses with his "tremendous economic skill and experience in legal competition matters." He advises T-Mobile, Samsung and Cable & Wireless, with telecoms matters, making up a significant proportion of his practice. His recent work includes five major telecoms competition cases in the High Court and two appearances in the Court of Appeal.