Essex Court Chambers: 2020 Review

23 December, 2020

As we approach the end of 2020, members of Essex Court Chambers would like to share with our clients, colleagues and friends a round-up of the year’s cases, news and achievements.

High Profile Cases

  • The Lawyer Top 20 Appeals of 2020
    Members of Essex Court Chambers featured in three of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Appeals of 2020.
  • The Lawyer Top 20 Cases of 2020
    11 members feature in The Lawyer’s annual synopsis of the Top 20 Cases of 2020.
  • Grenfell Tower Inquiry
    Richard Millett QC continues his appointment as Lead Counsel to the Inquiry.
    Following an expedited appeal the Court of Appeal confirmed in February that EU Regulation 267/2012 extends to preventing a sanctioned party from claiming interest under an arbitration award for the duration that its contractual counterparty was prevented from making payment pursuant to the arbitration award as a result of the sanctions.
  • PCP v. Barclays
    In June, Waksman J found Barclays Bank Plc to have waived privilege in legal advice given by its internal and external lawyers in respect of agreements entered into in 2008, as part of events which form the basis of a claim in deceit brought against Barclays by PCP Capital Partners LLP.
  • FCA Test Case
    After an expedited trial in July, the Commercial Court handed down judgment in September. The Supreme Court has since granted permission to appeal to all parties in the case.
  • Shagang v. HNA Group
    In August, the Supreme Court has handed down judgment in Shagang Shipping v. HNA Group Company.
  • Enka v Chubb
    In October, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi AS v. OOO Insurance Co Chubb following an expedited appeal heard in July from the Court of Appeal decision earlier this year.
  • The Central Bank of Venezuela
    Also in October the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in The “Maduro Board” of the Central Bank of Venezuela v. The “Guaidó Board” of the Central Bank of Venezuela.
  • Chubb v. Halliburton
    In November, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in Halliburton Company v. Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd.
  • Sotheby’s v. Mark Weiss
    Also in November, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Sotheby’s v (1) Mark Weiss Ltd (2) Fairlight Art Ventures LLP.
  • PSJC Tatneft
    On 21 December oral closings came to an end following the 12 week Commercial Court trial in  PJSC Tatneft v Bogolyubov, with judgment now awaited. The trial is believed to be the longest fully remote trial to have yet taken place. Members of Chambers acted on both sides.

New Appointments, Tenants and Cross-Recruits

  • David Foxton QC Appointed to High Court Bench
    David Foxton QC, Head of Chambers from July 2017 to December 2020, was sworn in as a Justice of the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) on 13th January 2020. Joe Smouha and Huw Davies replace David as joint Heads of Chambers.
  • Five new QC appointments
    Five members of Essex Court Chambers have been appointed to Queen’s Counsel by the Lord Chancellor; Louise Hutton, Iain Quirk, David Davies, James Willan and Anna Dilnot.
  • Three new junior tenants
    Members welcomed three new tenants to chambers after successful completion of pupillages; Lorraine Aboagye, Katherine Ratcliffe and Akash Sonecha.
  • Alison McDonald QC and Angeline Welsh join Chambers
    Chambers announced that Alison Macdonald QC and Angeline Welsh would be joining Chambers. Joe Smouha QC and Huw Davies QC said, “They are advocates who have earned formidable reputations, and will enhance Chambers’ offering in mainstream categories of work and a number of complementary areas of practice”.
  • Sean Aughey joins Essex Court Chambers from 11KBW
    Members also welcomed Sean Aughey to Chambers in summer, Joe Ferrigno said “The recruitment of Sean Aughey is very exciting and a brilliant opportunity to add significant value to our Public International Law and Arbitration practice areas, as well as our global profile in Investor-State Arbitration and Public Law
  • Professor Dapo Akande joins Essex Court Chambers
    Members announced that Professor Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law in the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, accepted an invitation to join Chambers in December. Joe Ferrigno said “Professor Akande is globally recognised as one of the leading public international lawyers of his generation… his arrival clearly demonstrates our commitment to further strengthening our capabilities in PIL.”
  • New appointments to the The Attorney General’s London panel of counsel and PIL panel of counsel.
    Members announced multiple new appointments to the panel of counsel.



Social Responsibility

  • Mentoring scheme for underrepresented groups
    Members of Essex Court Chambers together with six sets of Chambers launched the Mentoring Scheme for underrepresented groups  this year. Between them they have offered places on the scheme to nearly 150 applicants.  Over 400 applicants from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar applied for places on the scheme.
  • Joint initiative to encourage more women to the Commercial Bar
    Essex Court Chambers featured in an article in The Times that highlights the event series ‘A career as a commercial barrister: A great choice for women.’