Essex Court Chambers has a long and distinguished history, which can be traced back to the early twentieth century. Since then, its members have been at the forefront of the development of international arbitration and global commercial litigation and have been involved in many influential and ground-breaking cases in these areas as well as in its other areas of practice, including public law, employment law, European law, revenue law and human rights law.
Chambers in its present incarnation was established in 1961. It was then known as 4 Essex Court, before the change of name to Essex Court Chambers in 1994 as part of its relocation from Middle Temple to Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
The founding members of Essex Court Chambers were Michael Mustill (later Lord Mustill), Michael Kerr (later Lord Justice Kerr), Anthony Evans (later Lord Justice Evans), Anthony Diamond (later Judge Diamond QC) and Robert MacCrindle.
The set’s profile and reputation as a “magic circle” commercial chambers was confirmed in the late 1960s and 1970s, during which time Mark Saville (later Lord Saville), Johan Steyn (later Lord Steyn), Anthony Colman (later Mr Justice Colman) and John Thomas (now Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales) joined.
Since then, Essex Court Chambers has gone from strength to strength, growing in size and international presence whilst maintaining its tradition of excellence. Distinguished alumni over this time include Jack Beatson (now Lord Justice Beatson), Bernard Eder (now Sir Bernard Eder), Geraldine Andrews (now Mrs Justice Andrews), Dame Rosalyn Higgins (former president of the International Court of Justice) and Sir Christopher Greenwood (the current British Judge of the International Court of Justice). Essex Court Chambers continues to attract the highest calibre of recruits, and now comprises over 80 members.
In November 2017, VK Rajah SC, Calvin Liang, Colin Lieu and Tham Lijing became members of Essex Court Chambers.
Members of Chambers have been involved in many of the landmark decisions of the 20th and 21st century, including:
- Hongkong Fir Shipping Co Ltd v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd
- Suisse Atlantique d’Armement SA v NV Rotterdamsche Kolen Centrale
- Koufos v Czarnikov Ltd (The “Heron II”)
- Carl Zeiss Stiftung v Herbert Smith & Co (No. 2)
- Maredelanto Compania Naviera SA v Bergbau-Handel GmbH (The “Mihalis Angelos”)
- New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd v AM Satterthwaite & Co Ltd (The “Eurymedon”)
- Tito v Waddell
- Amalgamated Investment & Property Co Ltd v Texas Commerce International Bank Ltd
- Armagas Ltd v Mundogas SA (The “Ocean Frost”)
- Rover International Ltd v Cannon Film Sales Ltd
- JH Rayner (Mincing Lane) Ltd v Department of Trade and Industry (the “Tin Council” litigation)
- Channel Tunnel Group Ltd v Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd
- Henderson v Merrett Syndicates Ltd
- Brasserie du Pecheur SA v Federal Republic of Germany; R v Secretary of State for Transport ex parte Factortame Ltd
- Lonrho Exports Ltd v Export Credits Guarantee Department
- Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society
- Kleinwort Benson Ltd v Glasgow City Council
- Stocznia Gdanska SA v Latvian Shipping Co
- R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate ex parte Pinochet (No. 2) and (No. 3)
- Islam v Secretary of State for the Home Department; R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal ex parte Shah
- Midland Bank plc v Customs and Excise Commissioners
- Card Protection Plan Ltd v Customs & Excise Commissioners
- Abbey National plc v Customs and Excise Commissioners
- R (Alconbury Developments Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
- Goodwin v United Kingdom
- Great Peace Shipping Ltd v Tsavliris Salvage (International) Ltd (“The Great Peace”)
- Three Rivers DC v Bank of England (No. 6)
- Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizm Ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi v Ireland
- Overland Footwear Ltd v Commissioners of Customs & Excise
- OBG Ltd v Allan
- BBC v Sugar
- Secretary of State for the Home Department v AF (No. 3)
- Revenue and Customs Commissioners v Baxi Group Ltd
- Dallah Real Estate & Tourism Holding Co v Pakistan
- Revenue and Customs Commissioners v RBS Deutschland Holdings GmbH
- Jivraj v Hashwani
- Othman (Abu Qatada) v United Kingdom
- Royal Bank of Scotland Plc v Highland Financial Partners LP
- Attrill v Dresdner Kleinwort
- AES Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP v Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant JSC
- Bank Mellat v HM Treasury
- ZZ (France) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No. 2)
- Bates van Winkelhof v Clyde & Co LLP
Members of Chambers have been consistently instructed in many of the largest court and arbitral proceedings of the last 50 years, including the Tin Council litigation, the Lloyd’s litigation, the swaps litigation, Elektrim SA v Vivendi Universal SA, Kuwait Airways Corporation v Iraq Airways Co, the Solitaire arbitration, Fiona Trust & Holding Corporation v Privalov, Cherney v Deripaska and Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings Inc.