People

Colin West

Year of Call: 1999

Clerk: Julian Hawes julian.hawes@brickcourt.co.uk

Colin West

Year of Call: 1999

Clerk: Julian Hawes   julian.hawes@brickcourt.co.uk

“The ‘sharp, quick, and highly responsive’ Colin West ‘cuts through complex issues to get to the nub of the issue astoundingly quickly. His conclusions and reasoning are spot-on,’ say those that use him. He is a market favourite”
- Chambers & Partners 2013

"A skilled tactician, who is extremely clever and tenacious to the end."
- Legal 500 2016

Overview

Colin's practice encompasses commercial law, both in litigation and arbitration, principally contractual disputes of all types, insurance and reinsurance, shipping/shipbuilding, civil fraud and conflict of laws, as well as competition law.

Important recent judgments in cases in which Colin was instructed include the following:

Renaissance Capital v African Minerals [2014] EWHC 2004 (Comm) (Field J); [2015] EWCA Civ 448 (CA). This was a claim for fees by an investment bank against its client, a mining company, arising from various fund-raising transactions entered into by the client company. Questions arose as to the construction of certain investment banking engagement letters and as to various estoppels alleged by the Claimant in relation to the meaning of those letters. An appeal against the Judge’s award of a fee of nearly $30 million in relation to one of the transactions was subsequently allowed by the Court of Appeal (Colin acted as junior counsel for the appellant).

Bilta v Nazir [2015] 2 WLR 1168. In this case the Supreme Court held that the decision in Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens whereby in a one-man company, the knowledge of the company’s alter ego is inevitably attributed to the company, does not apply in the case of a claim by the company for breach of fiduciary duty against the alter ego or his alleged co-conspirators or assistants.

Arriva The Shires v Luton Airport Operations [2014] EWHC 64 (Ch); [2014] UKCLR 313. This involved a challenge on competition law grounds to the award of a coach concession by an airport, raising legal, factual and economic issues in relation to matters such as abuse and objective justification.

Cardiff Bus [2012] CAT 19. This was a claim for damages following a finding of infringement of the Competition Act. The Claimant claimed around £40 million but succeeded in recovering only £100,000. Colin acted for the Defendant.

Masri v Consolidated Contractors. This case concerned the scope of the English Court's jurisdiction to make orders after giving judgment and led to a number of reported judgments. It also involved a successful claim for contempt of court.

Other important cases in which Colin has been involved include the TAG and Composite group litigation claims ([2009] EWCA Civ 1166), the Apostolides case concerning the applicability of the EU Judgment Regulation to land in occupied northern Cyprus; the Buncefield litigation [2010] EWCA Civ 180 and the Viking Lines case concerning the applicability of EU free movement rights to industrial disputes.

Colin is regularly instructed in arbitrations both in multi-million pound cases and more modest claims, concerning matters such as shareholder disputes, shipbuilding disputes and charterparty cases.

Colin is a contributor to "Competition Litigation: UK Practice and Procedure" (Brick Court Chambers, OUP, 2010), and co-author of the UK chapter of Kluwer, "Competition Law in Western Europe and the USA".

practice areas

Commercial

Commercial law

Colin is instructed in relation to a multi-million pound claim arising out of an alleged carousel VAT fraud. The two Defendants for whom Colin acts applied to strike out the claim, relying on the House of Lords' decision in Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens [2009] 1 AC 1391. The Chancellor held that that authority does not apply to claims in conspiracy (see [2012] EWHC 2163 (Ch)), but gave permission to appeal. The appeal is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal in May 2013. Colin is instructed in relation to a claim by an investment bank against its client for fees said to be in excess of $100 million. The Defendant (for whom Colin acts) has applied to strike out the majority of the claim. These applications are due to be heard in early 2013.

Colin is instructed in relation to a number of high-value arbitrations concerning matters such as unfair prejudice to minority shareholders, shipbuilding and charterparty disputes.

Colin was instructed in the Buncefield case [2010] EWCA Civ 180. Colin was instructed in Masri v Consolidated Contractors, which led to a number of important judgments concerning the jurisdiction of the English Court after giving judgment in the case as well as in relation to the law of receivers and contempt of court (see further below).

Insurance/reinsurance

Colin has been involved in two large sets of group litigation proceedings concerning allegations of professional negligence by the insurer of a legal expenses insurance scheme against solicitors who accepted cases onto the scheme, namely The Accident Group (TAG) litigation and the Composite Legal Expenses litigation, in both cases acting for the insurer. The latter case lead to a judgment of the Court of Appeal on limitation issues [2009] EWCA Civ 1166; [2010] P.N.L.R. 10. Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court was granted, but the case then settled. He has also appeared as sole counsel in the London Mercantile Court and on appeal to the Court of Appeal in a case concerning theft of plasma televisions (Anders & Kern v Norwich Union [2007] 1 Lloyd's Rep IR 555 (first instance); [2008] Lloyd's Rep IR 460 (CA)). Colin was also instructed on a multi-million dollar reinsurance arbitration in Bermuda concerning product liability claims arising out of a pharmaceutical product. In addition he was instructed in massive reinsurance fraud litigation (Sphere Drake v Euro International Underwriters [2003] Lloyd's Rep IR 525) and appeared on a successful application for permission to appeal from a reinsurance arbitration award (Cornhill Insurance v Independent Insurance), as well as appearing as sole counsel in a claim concerning avoidance of a life insurance policy by reason of the insured's undisclosed alcoholism (Mundi v Lincoln [2006] Lloyd's Rep IR 353). Colin recently appeared in the Court of Appeal in a marine insurance case (Argo v Liberty [2011] EWCA Civ 1572).

Conflict of laws

Colin was instructed in the Masri v Consolidated Contractors case, which led to a series of important judgments concerning the continuing jurisdiction of the English Courts following judgment in English proceedings, e.g. to appoint a receiver or grant a freezing injunction (Masri v Consolidated Contractors No. 2 [2009] 2 WLR 621), to grant an anti-suit injunction (Masri v Consolidated Contractors No. 3 [2009] 2 WLR 669) or to order the examination of a director of a judgment debtor company as to the company's assets (Masri v Consolidated Contractors No. 4 [2010] 1 A.C. 90).

Colin also appeared on behalf of the Claimant in the Apostolides v Orams matter, concerning whether judgments of the Courts of Cyprus regarding ownership of land in occupied northern Cyprus are enforceable in England under the Brussels Regulation against UK domicilaries claiming to have acquired title to such properties under the ‘law' of the unrecognised ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'. The issue has now been resolved in the Claimant's favour [2010] EWCA Civ 9

Colin is also regularly instructed in cases raising more traditional English jurisdiction issues. For example, he recently appeared in a marine insurance case where the Defendant insurers were challenging the English jurisdiction on forum conveniens grounds (Argo System FZE v Liberty Insurance Pte Ltd).

Shipping

Colin is involved in a substantial number of LMAA shipping arbitrations concerning such matters as off-hire/breach of charterparty in relation to breakdown of the main engine or grabs, alleged failure by the Master to follow legitimate instructions, mitigation/remoteness of damages for breach of charterparty (including under the decision in The Achilleas), unseaworthiness due to deficiencies in fuel pumping system and continues to advise on and appear in various shipping cases regularly.

Carriage of goods by road/air etc.

Colin has been instructed in a number of sets of Court proceedings concerning cargo claims in cases of carriage of goods by sea, road and air.

EU/Competition

Competition law

Colin was instructed for the Defendant in the follow-on damages action in the Cardiff Bus case. The case led to the first final award of damages for breach of competition law in English legal history. The Claimant in the proceedings claimed damages in excess of £30 million. However, the Defendant contended that the losses claimed by the Claimant were not caused by the infringement. In the event, the Claimant succeeded in recovering only £100,000. Colin was instructed in the UK follow-on action arising out of the Commission's decision concerning cartellization in the market for synthetic rubber for car tyres (Cooper Tire v Bayer plc and others). He is a contributor to "Competition Litigation: UK Practice and Procedure" (Brick Court Chambers, OUP, 2010), and co-author of the UK chapter of Kluwer, Competition Law in Western Europe and the USA. He was instructed on a standalone action brought primarily under Article 82 against the Royal Mail concerning abuse of a dominant position on the market for the delivery of unaddressed leaflets (Leaflet Company v Royal Mail), including appearing on interim applications concerning split trial and disclosure (the judgment of the Chancellor, Morritt J, on the split trial issue is reported at [2009] UKCLR 323). He was instructed on behalf of Virgin Atlantic Airways in competition proceedings against BA in the Court of First Instance and Court of Justice in Luxembourg (British Airways v Commission [2003] ECR II-5917 (CFI); [2007] ECR I-2331 (ECJ)). Colin was also instructed in proceedings concerning allegations of cartellisation in the market for the supply of generic drugs to the NHS (on behalf of Norton Pharmaceuticals). He is regularly instructed on competition-related matters including, for example, leniency applications, certification schemes, third party disclosure in competition proceedings and motor distribution.Conflict of laws

Colin was instructed in the Masri v Consolidated Contractors case, which led to a series of important judgments concerning the continuing jurisdiction of the English Courts following judgment in English proceedings, e.g. to appoint a receiver or grant a freezing injunction (Masri v Consolidated Contractors No. 2 [2009] 2 WLR 621), to grant an anti-suit injunction (Masri v Consolidated Contractors No. 3 [2009] 2 WLR 669) or to order the examination of a director of a judgment debtor company as to the company's assets (Masri v Consolidated Contractors No. 4 [2010] 1 A.C. 90).

Colin also appeared on behalf of the Claimant in the Apostolides v Orams matter, concerning whether judgments of the Courts of Cyprus regarding ownership of land in occupied northern Cyprus are enforceable in England under the Brussels Regulation against UK domicilaries claiming to have acquired title to such properties under the ‘law' of the unrecognised ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'. The issue has now been resolved in the Claimant's favour [2010] EWCA Civ 9

Colin is also regularly instructed in cases raising more traditional English jurisdiction issues. For example, he recently appeared in a marine insurance case where the Defendant insurers were challenging the English jurisdiction on forum conveniens grounds (Argo System FZE v Liberty Insurance Pte Ltd).

EC law

Colin was instructed in the Viking Lines case, which concerned the applicability of the free movement provisions of the EC Treaty to trade unions in relation to collective agreements and threats of strike action ([2005] 3 CMLR 29 (first instance), [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep 303 (Court of Appeal); [2007] ECR I-10779 (ECJ)). He was instructed on long-running price discrimination proceedings (NALOO v Commission). Colin has also advised in relation to other general EC matters such as Commercial Agents Regulations. See also under competition law and conflict of laws.

Human Rights

Colin was instructed on behalf of the Applicant in a claim before the European Court of Human Rights involving the unlawful killing of a demonstrator inside the ‘buffer zone' in Cyprus (Isaak v Turkey Application no. 44587/98, judgment of 24 June 2008).

Qualifications

Qualifications

BA, St. Anne's College, Oxford, 1994-1997, First Class

BCL, St. Anne's College, Oxford, 1997-1998, First Class

Bar Vocational Course, 1998-1999, Inns of Court School of Law

Career to date

Called to the Bar, Inner Temple, November 1999

Pupillage at Brick Court Chambers 1999-2000

Tenant at Brick Court Chambers, 2000 to date

Professional Memberships

  • Inner Temple
  • Bar European Group
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (committee member)
  • COMBAR
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • European Circuit
  • Human Rights Lawyers' Association
  • Competition Law Association

Life outside the Bar

  • Colin is married with two daughters and lives in London
  • Grade VIII clarinet (distinction), Colin is a former member of National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and soloist with Oxford Sinfonietta. He sings tenor in North London choir ‘Eclectic Voices'
  • Languages: French, fluent if rusty (attended school in France for a year in 1993-94, Loire valley region); Scots Gaelic, neach-ionnsachaidh
  • Ran 2013 Brighton marathon in under 4 hours.

Directory Quotes

Colin is recommended as a leading junior in Commercial Litigation by the Legal 500, 2008 - 2014.

  • "A skilled tactician, who is extremely clever and tenacious to the end." (Legal 500 2016)
  • “A bright and reliable junior, with a practice spanning a range of commercial litigation and arbitration cases. Insurance, civil fraud and shipping cases are a particular focus, and he is strong on contractual disputes.” (Chambers & Partners 2015)
  • "Very bright, good on the detail and excellent tactically." "Really calm, really sound and obviously going places." (Chambers & Partners 2015)
  • "An excellent barrister, who is very, very clever." (The Legal 500 2014)
  • "The "sharp, quick, and highly responsive" Colin West "cuts through complex issues to get to the nub of the issue astoundingly quickly. His conclusions and reasoning are spot-on," say those that use him. He is a market favourite" (Chambers & Partners 2013)
  • "The ‘sharp, quick, responsive and incisive' Colin West has ‘a deep knowledge of jurisdictional issues and is at home dealing with complex cases'." (The Legal 500 2012)

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