Brick Court Chambers

Maya Lester KC

Maya Lester KC

YEAR OF CALL: 2000    YEAR OF SILK: 2016

"Maya is excellent in every respect - she is user-friendly, provides superb analysis, is quietly forceful and highly effective in court."
Chambers & Partners 2024
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Maya Lester KC is a renowned advocate. She is recommended as a leading silk by the legal directories in 6 practice areas: Administrative & Public Law, Competition & European Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Public International Law and Sanctions.  The only “star individual” for sanctions work, she is one of a handful of barristers in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2024, nominated for Legal 500 international silk of the year in 2023, ranked in the 'Chambers 100 UK Bar' list, in Who’s Who as one of the world's leading competition, trade, customs and international lawyers and as a 'Thought Leader' for Brexit.

A member of the Bar of England & Ireland, Maya is described by the legal directories as “Queen of the Sanctions Bar without a doubt” who “owns the world of sanctions”. She founded and co-writes www.globalsanctions.co.uk, the leading online resource on sanctions, with over 12,000 followers worldwide, and has given evidence to a number of parliamentary committees. She represents and advises hundreds of companies, individuals and government departments before the European and English courts.

Maya’s leading cases include the first UK Sanctions Act appeals (Synesis, Youssef and Graham Phillips) LTTE (proscribed terrorist groups), Kadi II (UN security council resolutions & EU law), Wightman (the European Court of Justice case on the revocability of the Brexit) trigger, Meta v Russian Federation (freedom of expression in the European Court of Human Rights), & acting for the MOL Group in its European Arrest Warrant EU litigation & arbitrations. She appeared in R (Bancoult) v Secretary of State (the Chagos Islands judicial reviews in the UK and ECHR), Enron v EWS (the first competition follow-on trial in the UK), R v Goldshield (prosecuting cartels as conspiracy to defraud), Walker v Innospec (equality in civil partners’ pensions), the Shambo judicial review (on bovine TB),numerous judicial reviews of regulatory decisions (FREENOW, Cityhook, UniChem), competition appeals (including on EURIBOR, Pay TV, horseracing, dairy, and construction recruitment), competition directors' disqualification cases, PCA, ICSID & UNCITRAL arbitrations.

A founder of the Human Rights Lawyers Association, Maya undertakes regular pro bono and public interest work; she co-founded the Anthony Lester human rights fellowships at Bard College, is a trustee of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, and is on the legal panel of Law for Change which funds public interest litigation. There is a strong US and international element to her practice; she spent three years as a Visiting Scholar & Master of Studies in Law at Yale and Columbia Law Schools. She is a regular speaker for the American Society for International Law, Chatham House, Justice, Public Law Project, Hart, C5, ALBA, the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting, BIICL, ACAMS, International Bar Association, Bar European Group and World ECR. Maya is co-chair of the Bar Council sanctions group and sits on the Lincolns Inn Regulatory Panel.

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  • Public Law M

    In her public and administrative law practice, Maya Lester KC appears for and advises individuals, companies, government departments, regulators and public interest groups, and regularly appears in judicial reviews. She has given evidence on legislative reform to a number of Parliamentary committees, is a frequent speaker at the main public law conferences (ALBA, Hart, Justice, Public Law Project, Justice). Maya has advised on and acted in cases involving numerous public bodies and regulators including the FCDO, HM Treasury, CMA, Ofcom, Transport for London, the Law Society, National Farmers Union, Renewable Energy Assurance Limited, British Medical Association, British Dental Association, Advertising Standards Authority, the British Standards Institution, Press Distribution Forum.

    Her leading public law cases include: Graham Phillips v FCDO and Synesis v FCDO (first Sanctions Act challenges); Youssef v SoS (Human Rights Act challenge to the Sanctions Act); NFU & T&G Stone v Defra (badger cull licenses); Jahanshahi v Metro Bank Plc (Iran ‘de-banking’); Neslen v Evans (Labour party anti- semitism investigations); Rahmatullah (human rights damages for alleged abuse in Afghanistan & Iraq); Bancoult (the Chagos Islands litigation, in the UK courts & ECHR); Walker v Innospec (equal treatment in civil partners’ pensions); International Sikh Youth Federation and LTTE (proscribed terrorist organisations); the leading case on freedom of political expression R (Prolife Alliance) v BBC; the Shambo case on religious freedom ( R (Community for the Many Names of God) v Welsh Assembly Government (CA) ); Works v Gray (discrimination in the Matrimonial Causes Act);R (Bingham) v Governor of the Falkland Islands; London Metropolitan University v UK Border Agency; Duncombe v Secretary of State for Education; R (Crystal Windows & Doors) v OFT & Real Energy Assurance; R (Law Society) v Legal Services Commission (procurement of family legal aid); R (British Medical Association) v Secretary of State for Health’ (GPs’ pensions); R (Wildman) v Ofcom (broadcast licences); R (Buxton) v Advertising Standards Authority) (ASA adjudication) & R (Ealing) v Audit Commission (CSCI reports).

    Maya has appeared in a number of judicial reviews of UK government decisions on sanctions: R (Graham Phillips) v FCDO; (Synesis) v FCDO ; R (Azizi v Sedghi) v Secretary of State for FCO; R (Sarkandi & Ors) v FCO (closed material procedures under the Justice & Security Act), and competition judicial reviews: John Lewis v OFT (extended warranties); Association of Convenience Stores v OFT (press distribution); ( R (UniChem) v OFT; R (Celesio) v OFT); R (Cityhook) v OFT; R (Sports Direct) v Competition Commission.

    DIRECTORY QUOTES

    Chambers & Partners

    2024:"Maya is a great leader, down to earth, straight-talking and with excellent judgement."

    2023: “Really incisive.” “She is hugely experienced, very clever and very easy to work with. She’s also very capable of explaining things to the lay client.”

    2022: “She has great client handling skills and is a really good team player.” “She has a breadth of expertise in domestic and international matters.”

    2021: “Very clever and a good strategist, also very client-friendly.” “Exceptionally responsive in difficult times for the client.”

    2020: “She is a total dream: incredibly quick to respond and has an unparalleled ability to produce the highest-quality drafting. Her advocacy style is very calming and persuasive, and she’s extremely sensible, down to earth, engaging and dynamic.” “She’s very bright and has an excellent grasp of the issues.”

    2019: “Gives really proactive advice and knows the crossover of human rights and EU law extremely well.” “So bright and focused, she gets to the key point in minutes.”

    2018: “She is diligent, hard-working and able.”

    2017: “Able to turn out high-quality work in a limited time. Her brain works at a different speed. She is delightfully modest and easy to work with and has a total grasp of the law.” “She is really good with clients, gives measured, considered advice, and comes across as the voice of reason in court.”

    Legal 500

    2024: "Maya has a quiet authority founded upon a keen intellect."

    2023: '‘Phenomenal drafter, strong work ethic, amazingly responsive, top of the tree of sanctions.’' 2022: “Calm, clear and incisive. A punchy, non-nonsense advocate.”

    2021: “Superb when it comes to issues relating to terrorism and sanctions – she knows the law inside and out.”

    2020: “A divinely forensic advocate.”

    2018-19: “She has an outstanding intellect and drafting skills that are unique and exceptional.” 2017: “Collaborative, efficient and clear-eyed in her judgement.”

    2016: “The voice of reason in court.”

    2015: “Provides opinions, pleadings and oral advocacy of the highest calibre.”

  • EU law M

    Maya Lester KC has huge experience in all areas of European Union law, including in relation to sanctions, competition law, EU fundamental rights, actions for annulment in the EU General Court, and preliminary references to the Court of Justice. Maya is a member of the Bar of Ireland as well as the Bar of England & Wales, formerly on the Bar Council EU Law Committee. She has particular expertise in the EU Blocking Regulation and appeared in Wightman, the ECJ reference about the revocability of Article 50 TFEU (the Brexit trigger).

    References to the European Court of Justice

    Maya’s references to the Court of Justice include Wightman (revocability of Brexit Article 50); AY (double jeopardy & European Arrest Warrants); R (Milk Marque) v MMC (Common Agricultural Policy and competition law); R (Swedish Match) v Secretary of State for Health  (ban on oral tobacco); Den Dover v European Parliament (MEPs’ expenses).

    EU sports and broadcast rights

    Maya appeared for the European Commission on the listing of the World Cup and FIFA Championship under the Television Without Frontiers Directive (UEFA v Commission and FIFA v Commission); for the British Horseracing Board in the leading case on the collective sale of sports rights in the Competition Appeal Tribunal ( Racecourse Association and British Horseracing Board v OFT) and for the Premier League in the Sky Sports challenge (BSkyB and Premier League v Ofcom).

    Annulment actions in the General Court

    Maya’s General Court annulment actions include: JP Morgan v Commission (EURIBOR); Kim & Ors (DPRK); Dinamo-Minsk, Chyzch, Varabei, Dana Astra (Belarus), Kadi (No. 2) (terrorist asset freeze); Tay Za (Burma/Myanmar); IRISL, Ocean Administration, Elegant Target, Good Luck Shipping, Nabipour, Azizi & Sedghi, Ministry for Energy, National Iranian Tanker Company, Central Bank of Iran, Iran Aluminium Company (Iran); El Materi (Tunisia); Sabra, Kaddour, Zubedi, Al Tabbaa & Al Asaad (Syria); El Maghraby & Gazaerly (Egypt); Rautenbach & Tomana (Zimbabwe); Chyzch & Dinamo Minsk, Varabei, Dana Astra (Belarus).

    DIRECTORY QUOTES

    Chambers & Partners

    2024: "She is all-round excellent. Her ability to communicate with clients and her drafting skills are extraordinary; I've not come across anything like them. She is also brilliant on her feet and commands the respect of the court."

    2024: "Maya is a sanctions guru. She is a widely respected go-to barrister in this space."

    2023: “Flexible, responsive and a pleasure to work with. On the substance, Maya is absolutely without any peer, and is extremely valuable on the strategic side.”

    2022: “She is an absolutely pristine drafter, and her client skills and responsiveness are second to none.” 2021: “She has incredible clarity of writing.”

    2020: “ her drafting is amazing.” “She is enormously diplomatic, a great team player and exceptionally intellectually agile.”

    2019: “Lester is very good to work with and manages matters very well.”

    2018: “She knows EU law inside out and can translate the process well for clients. She is able to take the commercial views of the client on board while remaining sensitive to the expectations of the court.”

    2017: “She is happy to answer queries at all hours and really knows her stuff.”

    2016: “She is fantastic, incredibly committed to her work and leaves no stone unturned. In addition, her drafting skills are second to none. I’ve never met anyone who could draft as well as her in any legal context. She is able to distil arguments on all sorts of legal issues from international law to European law and synthesise them in a way which is brilliant.”

    Legal 500

    2023: “Maya is a phenomenal drafter, amazingly responsive and is top of the tree for sanctions.”

    2022: “Fabulous leader and team player. Terrific strategic thinker. Unparalleled excellence in drafting. Meticulous preparer of cases and gifted advocate.”

    2021: “A top-drawer drafter and forensic advocate with great wisdom. Everyone on the team was struck by her ability brilliantly to synthesise the points and express them clearly and effectively. Maya provides advice in the field not only of EU law but also public international law.”

    2020: “Her knowledge of EU law is unsurpassed.”

    2018-19: “Exceptionally talented, and has an uncanny ability to immediately identify the key to a complex issue.”

    2017: “The voice of reason in court, a superb drafter and a precise advocate.” 2016: “She fully deserved silk, and is a top-drawer advocate and adviser.” 2015: “Her drafting skills are excellent and unique”.

  • Public international law M

    Maya’s public international cases include Kadi II (the leading case on the relationship between international and EU law and on JR of UN Security Council resolutions), AY (European arrest warrants & double jeopardy), Youssef (challenge to UN remedies in the Sanctions Act) the Chagos Islands litigation (on the international law principles of self-determination, the right of abode & treaty obligations to overseas territories),  Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence & FCO (claims of torture & mistreatment in Iraq & Afghanistan), and major Cayman Islands litigation involving Libyan & Cayman law (Palladyne). Maya is regularly involved in international arbitrations (PCA, UNCITRAL, ICSID). She has experience in business crime, including criminal sanctions & export control, European Arrest Warrants (including the AY / MOL litigation and arbitrations) and INTERPOL red notices.

    Before she took silk in 2016, Maya was one of only 5 members of the Attorney General’s public international law A panel, the most senior panel for the Government’s public international law work. She taught international law seminars at Columbia Law School, was on the prestigious Programming Committee of the American Society for International Law, and a Henry Fellow giving seminars to the US State Department.

    DIRECTORY QUOTES

    Chambers & Partners

    2024: "Maya Lester is extremely capable."

    2023: “She is very clear and sharp.” “She masters each legal development quickly and reliably, and assimilates all the new jurisprudential principles into her work on behalf of sanctioned clients.”

    2022: “Very good indeed, and one of the few true public/commercial law crossover barristers.”

    2021: “Her professional skills, teamwork and commitment to her client’s cause and case are superb.”

    2020: “Unsurpassed as a young QC in the field of sanctions. She has superlative drafting skills.”

    Legal 500

    2023: “Phenomenal drafter, strong work ethic, amazingly responsive, top of the tree of sanctions.”

    2022: “An absolute delight to work with. Unstuffy, accessible and always delivers.”

    2021: “She excels in preparing complicated pleadings which address many different arguments in overlapping fields including public international law. Her pleadings are always clear and effective.”

    2020: “A divine forensic advocate with unparalleled knowledge of her legal area.”

    2018-19: “Innovative and creative in thought, and the leading barrister on the issue of sanctions.”

    2017: “Her drafting skills are exceptional and she is extremely persuasive in court.’”

    2016: “Efficient, effective and undaunted by unknowns.”

    2015: “Her oral advocacy is of the highest calibre, displaying meticulous preparation and captivating delivery.”

  • Sanctions M

    Maya Lester KC has a particular expertise in the law relating to economic sanctions, including in litigation, arbitration and advisory work. She co-chairs the Bar Council sanctions working group. As the directories put it, she is “Queen of the Sanctions Bar without a doubt” and “owns the world of sanctions”. She is the “star individual” for sanctions, and founded and co- writes www.globalsanctions.co.uk the leading online sanctions & export control resource, with over 12,000 followers worldwide. She represents and advises hundreds of companies, individuals and government departments before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Graham Phillips, Youssef, Synesis, Kadi II, VTB, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, Rotenberg, Sabrra, NITC and IRISL. In 2018 Maya was named Practitioner of the Year in the World Export Controls Review Awards, is a very regular speaker at sanctions conferences.

    Maya advises on all aspects of sanctions law & export control and across all regimes, including the UK Sanctions Act, Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and EU Blocking Regulation, trade, sectoral and targeted sanctions, sanctions clauses, de-listings, investigations, litigation and judicial review, the implications of US secondary sanctions, approaches to regulators (reporting obligations and licensing), and human rights/Magnitsky sanctions. She has given evidence to a number of parliamentary committees, including the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee on the legality of EU sanctions, the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on post-Brexit sanctions policy, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Lords on Brexit sanctions and on EU-UK sanctions relations, and the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs’ review of Canada’s sanctions regime here.

    Maya’s sanctions cases in the EU and UK courts and arbitral tribunals include: Synesis and Graham Phillips (the first UK Sanctions Act challenges), Soc Gen v Eurochem (ownership & control), Youssef (terrorist sanctions), Jahanshahi v Metro Bank Plc  (Iran ‘de- banking’); Lamesa v Cynergy Bank (sanctions clauses); Kim & Ors (DPRK); Kadi (No. 2) (terrorist asset freeze); Tay Za (Burma/Myanmar); IRISL, Ocean Administration, Elegant Target, Good Luck Shipping, Nabipour, Azizi & Sedghi, Ministry for Energy, National Iranian Tanker Company, Central Bank of Iran, Iran Aluminium Company (Iran); El Materi (Tunisia); Kaddour, Zubedi, Al Tabbaa & Al Asaad, Sabra (Syria); El Maghraby & Gazaerly (Egypt); Rautenbach & Tomana (Zimbabwe), Chyzch & Dinamo Minsk, Varabei, Dana Astra (Belarus). Judicial review of UK sanctions decisions include: R (Synesis) v FCDO (pending), R (Youssef) v FCDO, R (Azizi v Sedghi) v FCO Affairs and R (Sarkandi) v FCO.

    Some of Maya’s broadcasts and articles on sanctions are here:

    Sanctions & Gaza: how are banks & aid agencies navigating terrorist financing and sanctions (December 2023)

    Webinar with UK Government on ownership and control (November 2023)

    Brick Court Chambers Sanctions Soirée (May 2023) 

    Webinar: Sanctions on China: where are we heading? (May 2023)

    Maya Lester KC’s ‘Review of UK sanctions‘ at the City & Financial Global Sanctions Summit, 31 January 2023

    UK Finance Sanctions School: Introduction to UK sanctions (October 2022)

    UK Finance Sanctions School: What are Sanctions? (October 2022)

    UK Sanctions Discussion (September 2022)

    Russia and Sanctions BBC Radio 5 (February 2022)

    International Sanctions Times Radio (February 2022)

    A response to the latest actions BBC Good Morning Scotland (February 2022)

    Sanctions against Russia BBC Radio 4 Today (February 2022)

    Sanctions. What are they? Do they work? BBC Radio Wales Breakfast (February 2022)

    West imposes sanctions on Russia in conflict with Ukraine BBC Newshour  (February 2022)

    Harneys Expert Review: Economic sanctions: Russia, Brexit, and beyond (February 2022)

    Experts discuss what sanctions the West might impose if Russia invades Ukraine (January 2022)

    New UK Sanctions Regime webinar (January 2021)

    CGTN interview: US sanctions on Iran (October 2020)

    ACI / C5 Forum on Global Economic Sanctions speaking on “Post-Brexit: The UK’s new sanctions regime” (September 2020)

    Al Jazeera interview: Is Washington's 'maximum pressure' on Iran working? (September 2020)

    Dentons' Business Crime and Investigations Podcast (October 2019)

    Debate at Thomas Reuters “Are Sanctions Fair and Effective?” (September 2019)

    UK sanctions policy post Brexit - Maya Lester QC’s evidence to the House of Commons UK Foreign Affairs Committee and transcript (April 2019)

    US Sanctions & Economic Warfare: Impact for Europe ECFR podcast (December 2018)

    The Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018 BIICL podcast (July 2018)

    International sanctions seminar, Cyprus (July 2018)

    'The Kadi Case' (Summer 2018) European Advocate

    ‘Sanctions after Brexit’ event (June 2018)

    'Terrorist listings and sanctions' (May 2018)

    Evidence session on sanctions policy after Brexit before the Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee (July 2017)

    'Economic sanctions have been a foreign policy tool of choice for some time' (February 2017) Counsel magazine

    What are the four things you would change about the EU’s sanctions regimes if you could? (November 2016)

    Interview on Monocle Radio on Syria sanctions here (October 2016).

    Evidence session on EU Sanctions before the Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee (October 2016)

    Panama Papers Sanctions interview: BBC Radio 4 - The World at One (April 2016). Economist: Article (June 2015).

    Talk on Terrorist Listings and Sanctions at the Asset-Stripping: Responses to the Financing of Terrorism and Crime event (May 2015)

    BBC Radio 4: Russian Sanctions (‘The Report’, April 2015).

    Profile in Christian Science Monitor here (May 2014).

    Profile in Foreign Policy here (May 2014).

    New York public radio on sanctions against Russia here (May 2014).

    Webinar: A webinar on sanctions (September 2013).

    Presentation on sanctions cases in the European Court here (Hague Centre for Law and Arbitration, July 2013).

    DIRECTORY QUOTES

    Chambers & Partners

    2024: Star Individual -"Maya is a sanctions guru. Widely respected and a go-to in this space."

    2024: "A real expert in her field and a go-to counsel for the most complex sanctions queries."

    2024: "Maya Lester is very assured, knows her subject matter well and is very savvy and thoughtful in how she manages cases."

    2023: Star Individual - "Maya Lester KC of Brick Court Chambers is the leading sanctions mind at the Bar, providing unparalleled expertise to companies and individuals on listing and relisting challenges, enforcement matters and related commercial litigation and arbitration. She has a superb command of EU and US sanctions regimes, including legal developments concerning US secondary sanctions."

    2023: “She’s the queen of sanctions.” “On the substance, she is absolutely without any peers.” “She has been at the heart of the rapidly developing legal area of targeted sanctions because of her involvement right at the centre of the leading EU cases.” “One of her strengths is the clarity of the views she expresses to clients.”

    2022: “She is the oracle and was the first to identify the area of sanctions. Still head and shoulders above other silks in the area.”

    2021: “She has become the go-to expert on sanctions.” “She is incredibly responsive and very quick.”

    2020: “She is a total dream: incredibly quick to respond and has an unparalleled ability to produce the highest-quality drafting. Her advocacy style is very calming and persuasive, and she’s extremely sensible, down to earth, engaging and dynamic.” “She’s very bright and has an excellent grasp of the issues. She’s on top of everything in the sanctions world.”

    2020: “Maya Lester is fantastically good.” “She’s first class on sanctions and her drafting is amazing.”

    2020: “Unsurpassed as a young QC in the field of sanctions. She has superlative drafting skills.”

    2020: “First class on sanctions and her drafting is amazing.” “She is enormously diplomatic, a great team player and exceptionally intellectually agile.”

    2020: “She has an excellent knowledge of sanctions and an understanding of how everything fits in, coupled with a calm, logical manner and a good analytical approach.” “She is the queen of sanctions law.” “Maya is the pre-eminent sanctions lawyer in London and an expert on EU sanctions.”

    2019: “She is the queen of sanctions law.” “She is first-class, incredibly user-friendly and amazing on paper; she has incredible drafting skills and she is great in court.” “She was very responsive, very insightful and kept a calm, level head.”

    2018: “A first-class barrister who is highly responsive and authoritative, and who has an unsurpassed knowledge of the law.”

    2017: “Queen of the Sanctions Bar without a doubt. She is just phenomenal.” “Beyond responsive. First- class.”

    Legal 500

    2024: "Maya Lester is very assured, knows her subject matter well and is very savvy and thoughtful in how she manages cases." 

    2024: "A real expert in her field and a go-to counsel for the most complex sanctions queries." 

    2024: "Maya is a sanctions guru. She is a widely respected go-to barrister in this space." 

    2022: "She is the oracle and was the first to identify the area of sanctions. Still head and shoulders above other silks in the area." 

    2021: “Superb when it comes to issues relating to terrorism and sanctions – she knows the law inside and out.”

    2017: “Fantastic knowledge of terrorism and sanctions laws.”

    Who’s Who Legal

    Maya is listed in Who’s Who Legal 2020 as a national leader for international trade & commodities, a global leader for trade & customs, and as one of the world’s leading trade and customs lawyers since 2017.

    2021: “Maya Lester QC earns widespread recommendations for her capable handling of competition, state aid and sanctions disputes”.

    2020: Maya Lester QC “possesses ‘unparalleled drafting skills’ and is ‘able to synthesise multiple legal arguments into simple, consolidated pleadings’. Clients further praise her as a ‘strong and capable lawyer’ who ‘works hard to obtain all relevant facts’.” (Trade & Customs: Leading Individual for International Sanctions)

    2020: “Maya Lester QC is “an incredibly impressive barrister” with “an unsurpassed knowledge of sanctions law”. Her “clarity of thought is exemplary”, say commentators who add: “Her drafting speed and skill is incredible, and her oratory is first class.”

    2019: “Maya Lester QC is “the queen of sanctions”, effuse sources who say she is “very knowledgeable on UK sanctions law” and “always impresses”.”

    2019: “Maya Lester QC is a well-established figure in the field with respondents highlighting her impressive ability on sanctions-related matters.”

    2015: “Maya Lester is known for her ‘ability to cut to the heart of a case immediately’. She has particular expertise in the law relating to economic sanctions.”

  • Civil liberties and human rights M

    Maya Lester KC was a founding member of the Human Rights Lawyers Association and undertakes regular human rights work, including pro bono / public interest litigation. She is on the legal panel of Law for Change which funds public interest litigation.

    Her leading cases in this area include: Youssef (HRA challenge to the Sanctions Act), Meta v Russian Federation (EctHR); Neslen v Evans (Labour party anti-semitism investigations); Rahmatullah (human rights damages for alleged abuse in Afghanistan & Iraq); Bancoult (the Chagos Islands litigation, in the UK courts & ECHR); Walker v Innospec (equal treatment in civil partners’ pensions); Works v Gray (discrimination in the Matrimonial Causes Act); International Sikh Youth Federation and LTTE (proscribed terrorist organisations); the leading case on freedom of political expression R (Prolife Alliance) v BBC; the Shambo case (R (Community for the Many Names of God) v Welsh Assembly Government (CA)).

    Her European Court of Human Rights cases include Meta v Russian Federation, Georgia v Russian Federation; Yukos v Russian Federation; Mattilla v Finland; Bancoult v United Kingdom and Chagos Islanders v United Kingdom.

    DIRECTORY QUOTES

    Chambers & Partners

    2024: "It was a very difficult brief but Maya grasped it very quickly and was phenomenal in court. She has the attention of the court in a way only few have. Someone I would love to work with again."

    2023: "She is a strong practitioner who presents intellectual dexterity and commanding advocacy." "Maya is thoughtful and creative, and has a great manner with clients."

    2022: "Maya has a very easy manner in court."

    2021: "A real powerhouse, she is forever coming up with new angles and ideas."

    2021: "The best drafter I have ever come across. Steely advocate and is divine to work with."

    2020: "Maya Lester is  fantastically good." "Her drafting is amazing."

    2020: "An excellent barrister, who is undoubtedly the leading barrister in the difficult and developing area of sanctions."

    2019: "A very good and extremely clever barrister."

    2018: "Maya Lester is utterly approachable, unflappable and a consummate performer in court." "She is meticulously prepared."

    2018-19: "Gives measured and considered advice and comes across as the voice of reason in court."

    2017: "Her brain works at a different speed, and she's delightfully modest and easy to work with."

    2017: "Fantastic knowledge of terrorism and sanctions laws."

    2016: "An erudite human rights junior who is well versed in high-profile judicial review cases and national security matters. Advises a diverse list of clients including individuals and large businesses."

    2016: "An excellent lawyer, who is diligent and creative."

    2015: "An amazing team player with a calmness under pressure that is much admired."

    Legal 500

    2024: "Maya has a quiet authority founded upon a keen intellect."

    2022: "Fabulous leader and team player. Terrific strategic thinker. Unparallelled excellence in drafting. Meticulous preparer of cases and gifted advocate."

    2021: "Unusual in really credibly marrying top level expertise in both competition law and public law." 2020: "An excellent team leader and motivator."

    2018-19: "An excellent, clear, concise, precise and effective advocate." 2017: "A busy silk with a fast- growing practice."

    2016: "She fully deserved silk, and is a top-drawer advocate and adviser."

    2015: "Her drafting skills are excellent and unique."

  • Competition M

    Maya Lester has extensive experience in all areas of UK and EU competition litigation and advisory work. Her practice includes competition investigations, appeals, and judicial reviews, competition directors' disqualification, follow-on damages actions, mergers, abuse of dominance, cartels, EU actions for annulment and preliminary references. Who’s Who Legal has recommended her every year since 2015 as one of the world’s leading competition lawyers.

    She is a regular speaker at competition events including the ABA Antitrust Spring meeting & MLex conference, and has been on the organising committee of the Fordham Competition Law Institute Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy.

    Standalone and follow-on competition claims

    Maya appeared in the first ever follow-on damages trial in the UK,      Enron v EWS , and in several since including Emerald v BA (Air Cargo) and National Grid v Alstom & Ors. She appeared in the standalone actions Foundem and Streetmap v Google (abuse of dominance), JJH/ValueLicensing v Microsoft (abuse of dominance), British Horseracing Board v AtTheRaces (abuse of dominance and excessive pricing), and in the leading case on prosecution of cartels for conspiracy to defraud R v Goldshield (heard in the House of Lords with Norris v USA) and Kodak v Glencore & Ors.

    Appeals from competition regulatory decisions

    Maya has appeared in major competition appeals in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Competition Appeal Tribunal and EU courts, including: Alstom (French Blocking Statute), (BSkyB and Premier League v Ofcom ( Pay TV)); EURIBOR (JP Morgan v Commission in the EU General Court, HSBC v Commission in the ECJ); telecoms (Carphone Warehouse v Ofcom (Carrier Pre- selection); BT v Ofcom  (080 termination charges);  Tesco v OFT  (dairy cartel); (Racecourse Association v OFT (collective selling); Hays v OFT (construction recruitment forum penalty appeals).

    OFT / CMA and European Commission investigations

    Private schools' fees; Orders and Rules of Horseracing; cigarette pricing; construction industry cover pricing; dairy investigation; EURIBOR

    Competition judicial reviews

    Maya has appeared in numerous competition judicial reviews in the High Court and Court of Appeal, including Ryanair v Competition Commission; John Lewis v OFT   (extended warranties); Association of Convenience Stores v OFT (press distribution); R (UniChem) v OFT ; R (Celesio) v OFT; R (Cityhook) v OFT; R (Sports Direct) v Competition Commission.

    DIRECTORY QUOTES

    Chambers & Partners

    2024: "Maya is brilliant, she is a really good lawyer in writing and orally."

    2024: "Clients love Maya and find her calm and measured approach very reassuring."

    2024: "Maya is excellent in every respect - she is user-friendly, provides superb analysis, is quietly forceful and highly effective in court."

    2023: "Absolutely first class. She is the master of her brief and is legally completely up to date with all developments. She provides very sound, reasoned and objective advice."

    2022: "Decisive, with a superb grasp of the detail and wider strategic objectives." "Her written work is really a thing of beauty; her drafting is sublime." "Maya is very enthusiastic, very committed and hard-working. She is client-friendly and collaborative. She is very practical and rolls up her sleeves."

    2021: "Maya is absolutely incredible to work with."

    2020: "A total dream of a lawyer, who has an unparalleled ability to produce the highest quality drafting. Her advocacy style is very calming and persuasive." "She was able to drop everything and turn around a piece of advice very quickly."

    2019: "She is calm, experienced and a lawyer with excellent drafting skills."

    2018: "She offers wise and measured counsel, drafts beautifully and is great on her feet."

    2017: "She is particularly good on complex cases, and very positive and definitive on points of law."

    2016: "A very bright and diligent junior." "She's good with clients, gives measured and considered advice, and comes across as the voice of reason in court."

    2016: "A hugely gifted public and competition law expert who receives consistent praise for both her advocacy skills and her thoughtful and creative approach to cases. Over the years she has acted in a number of headline cases, including the dairy cartel affair and the Premier League Pay- TV affair.

    2016: "She is very measured and persuasive on her feet, managing to clearly cut through a case to its core issues." "A real team player who rolls up her sleeves."

    Legal 500

    2023: "A highly impressive silk, Maya possesses superb intellect and gets to the heart of a matter quickly in both drafting and shaping her submissions."

    2022: "A fabulous leader and team player. She is a terrific strategic thinker, has unparalleled excellence in drafting. She is a meticulous preparer of cases and a gifted advocate."

    2021: "Unusual in really credibly marrying top level expertise in both competition law and public law." 2020: "An excellent team leader and motivator."

    2018-19: "An excellent, clear, concise, precise and effective advocate." 2017: "A busy silk with a fast- growing practice."

    2016: "She fully deserved silk, and is a top-drawer advocate and adviser." 2015: "Her drafting skills are excellent and unique."

    Who's Who Legal

    2023: Maya Lester KC earns plaudits for “confronting the difficult questions head on”, with sources adding, “She gives pragmatic advice”.

    2021: “Maya Lester QC earns widespread recommendations for her capable handling of competition, state aid and sanctions disputes”.

    Maya is listed in the 2020 edition of Who's Who Legal as a global and national leader in competition, which states she is “considered a go-to silk for competition and international trade disputes”, is “highly experienced in the area, but also clear in her advice”, with drafting skills that are “second to none”.

    2015 - 2021: Listed as one of the world's leading competition lawyers

  • Agriculture, fishing and food M

    Maya Lester KC is a regular adviser to the National Farmers Union and other individuals & entities on agricultural matters, in particular those with a public, EU, PIL or competition angle.

    She has appeared in a large number of cases involving animal health, environmental law and agriculture including: NFU & T&G Stone v Defra (badger cull licenses); judicial review of the decision to slaughter Shambo the temple bullock (R (Community for the Many Names of God) v Welsh Assembly Government (CA); the European Emissions Trading Scheme (R (Cemex v Secretary of State for the Environment ); the Renewable Energy Assurance Scheme (Crystal v REAL) and Rural Payments Agency; foot and mouth disease (R (Kindersley) v Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and Pride & Ors v Institute of Animal Health, Merial Ltd & Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (escape of foot & mouth disease) . She has advised regularly on cases involving bovine TB, foot & mouth disease, and badger culling.

  • Terrorism and national security M

    Maya regularly advises on and appears in cases relating to terrorism and national security, in the UK and EU courts and tribunals. Her leading cases in this field include: Youssef (terrorist sanctions listings), Rahmatullah (alleged mistreatment in Afghanistan & Iraq), Kadi 2 (terrorist asset freezing, EU measures implementing UNSC resolutions), International Sikh Youth Federation and LTTE (terrorism prescribed organisations). Much of her practice involves business crime, including criminal sanctions & export control, European Arrest Warrants (including the AY / MOL litigation and arbitrations) and INTERPOL red notices.

    Click here to see Maya Lester QC on Newsnight discussing Interpol (November 2018)

  • Publications & podcasts M

    Blog: www.europeansanctions.com (over 12,000 followers, the leading online sanctions & export control resource worldwide).

    Book chapters: Foreword in Sanctions in Europe (World ECR) EU Competition Law: Procedures and Remedies (Gray, Lester, Darbon, Facenna, Holmes, Oxford University Press) Co-author; Human Rights Practice (eds Simor & Emmerson, Sweet & Maxwell) Editorial Assistant and Updater on Article 10 of the ECHR); Law of the European Union (eds Vaughan and Robertson, Oxford University Press) Contributing Author; Competition Litigation (UK Practice and Procedure) (OUP), Contributing Author.

    Articles include: 'Court of Justice says UK's Article 50 notice of intention to leave EU can be unilaterally revoked (Wightman and Others v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)' [December 2018] LexisNexis 'General Court rejects challenge to EU decision opening Brexit negotiations as inadmissible (Shindler v Council of the European Union)' [November 2018] LexisNexis; 'The Kadi Case' [Summer 2018] European Advocate; 'Economic sanctions have been a foreign policy tool of choice for some time' [ Counsel, February 2017]; ‘Brussels lists, Luxembourg de-lists? Sanctions de-designation cases in the European Court' [May 2013] World Expert Control Review; Targeted sanctions and sanctions targeted: Iranian banks in the European Court' [May 2013] Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law; 'Judicial review of sanctions decisions: "The wrong point in the wrong court with the wrong defendant"?' [2013] Judicial Review 206; ‘Prosecuting Cartels for Conspiracy to Defraud' [2008] Competition Law Journal; ‘Judicial Review in the UK of Competition and State Aid Decisions' [2007] European Common Market Law (co-author); ‘UniChem v OFT' [2005] Competition Law Journal; ‘Puzzling over Abuse of Right' [2004] European Current Law; ‘Human Rights - The International Dimension' [2004] The Lawyer; ‘The Chapter I Prohibition' [2002] Competition Law Review; ‘The Bar European Group in Budapest' [2001] European Advocate.

    City & Financial Conference (2024)

    Sanctions & Gaza: how are banks & aid agencies navigating terrorist financing and sanctions (December 2023)

    Webinar with UK Government on ownership and control (November 2023)

    Brick Court Chambers Sanctions Soirée (May 2023) 

    Webinar: Sanctions on China: where are we heading? (May 2023)

    Click here to see Maya appearing in the Supreme Court defending the assassins of Julius Caesar in a charity trial.

    Maya Lester KC’s ‘Review of UK sanctions‘ at the City & Financial Global Sanctions Summit, 31 January 2023

    UK Finance Sanctions School: Introduction to UK sanctions (October 2022)

    UK Finance Sanctions School: What are Sanctions? (October 2022)

    UK Sanctions Discussion (September 2022)

    Russia and Sanctions BBC Radio 5 (February 2022)

    International Sanctions Times Radio (February 2022)

    A response to the latest actions BBC Good Morning Scotland (February 2022)

    Sanctions against Russia BBC Radio 4 Today (February 2022)

    Sanctions. What are they? Do they work? BBC Radio Wales Breakfast (February 2022)

    West imposes sanctions on Russia in conflict with Ukraine BBC Newshour  (February 2022)

    Harneys Expert Review: Economic sanctions: Russia, Brexit, and beyond (February 2022)

    Experts discuss what sanctions the West might impose if Russia invades Ukraine (January 2022)

    New UK Sanctions Regime webinar (January 2021)

    CGTN interview: US sanctions on Iran (October 2020)

    ACI / C5 Forum on Global Economic Sanctions speaking on “Post-Brexit: The UK’s new sanctions regime” (September 2020)

    Al Jazeera interview: Is Washington's 'maximum pressure' on Iran working? (September 2020)

    Al Jazeera interview: US sanctions and the Iran nuclear deal (September 2020)

    RUSI podcast High Risk Thinking talking about targeted sanctions (June 2020)

    Interview with Press TV on the impact of US sanctions on Iran on its ability to deal with the Coronavirus (March 2020)

    Dentons' Business Crime and Investigations Podcast (October 2019)

    Debate at Thomas Reuters “Are Sanctions Fair and Effective?” (September 2019)

    UK sanctions policy post Brexit - Maya Lester QC’s evidence to the House of Commons UK Foreign Affairs Committee and transcript (April 2019)

    Economic Sanctions after Brexit podcast (February 2019)

    US Sanctions & Economic Warfare: Impact for Europe ECFR podcast (December 2018)

    The Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018 BIICL podcast (July 2018)

    International sanctions seminar, Cyprus (July 2018)

    'The Kadi Case' (Summer 2018) European Advocate

    ‘Sanctions after Brexit’ event (June 2018)

    The Sanctions & Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, WorldECR, June 2018 (Issue 70) 'Terrorist listings and sanctions' (May 2018)

    Evidence session on sanctions policy after Brexit before the Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee (July 2017)

    'Economic sanctions have been a foreign policy tool of choice for some time' (February 2017) Counsel magazine

    The Bar’s Brexit blogs (January 2017) Counsel magazine

    What are the four things you would change about the EU’s sanctions regimes if you could? (November 2016)

    Interview on Monocle Radio on Syria sanctions here (October 2016).

    Evidence session on EU Sanctions before the Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee (October 2016)

    Panama Papers Sanctions interview: BBC Radio 4 - The World at One (April 2016). Economist: Article (June 2015).

    Talk on Terrorist Listings and Sanctions at the Asset-Stripping: Responses to the Financing of Terrorism and Crime event (May 2015)

    BBC Radio 4: Russian Sanctions (‘The Report’, April 2015).

    Australian radio broadcast on Hamas de-listing here (December 2014).

    Profile in Christian Science Monitor here (May 2014).

    Profile in Foreign Policy here (May 2014).

    New York public radio on sanctions against Russia here (May 2014).

    Webinar: A webinar on sanctions (September 2013).

    Presentation on sanctions cases in the European Court here (Hague Centre for Law and Arbitration, July 2013).

  • Qualifications M

    U.K: James Allen's Girls' School; Clare College, Cambridge University (BA in History, First Class in Pts I & II); Diploma in Law at City University (Distinction, 1st place); Bar Vocational Course (Inns of Court School of Law); called to Bar at Lincoln's Inn (2000); Pupillage at Brick Court Chambers; QC (Lincoln’s Inn) 2016.

    U.S.A: Master of Studies in Law and Visiting Scholar (Yale Law School, Paul Mellon Fellowship); Visiting Scholar (Columbia Law School); Researcher at the Open Society Institute (New York); Summer Associate at Williams & Connolly (Washington DC); Judicial Extern to Judge Thelton Henderson (Federal District Court, San Francisco); Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School (New York); Seminars at Yale, Columbia and NYU on targeted sanctions (2011-2012); Henry Fellowship at the US State Department, 2012.

    European and International experience: Stagiaire at the European Court of Justice (Advocate General Francis Jacobs); International Law Intern at the Supreme Court of Israel; Part-time Tutor in European Law, City University (London). Training for judges, lawyers and prosecutors on human rights and European law for the Slynn Foundation, Interrights, the Council of Europe and the Turkish Chief of

    Staff (including in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Serbia, Poland and Turkey); Speaker at the Anglo-Finnish Competition Law Trust (in Finland and Estonia), the University of Amsterdam, the Italian Antitrust Association, the European University Institute.

    Awards: Clare College Foundation Scholarship; Clare College History Award; Paul Mellon Fellowship to Yale Law School; Lincoln's Inn Hardwicke Entrance Award; Lincoln's Inn Mansfield Scholarship; Winner of 2000 Lincolns Inn Robert Wright Mooting Competition; Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Prize; Pegasus Scholarship from the Inns of Court; Bingham Centre Fellowship; Henry Fellowship at US State Department.

    Appointments: Bar Council AML & Sanctions working group Co-Chair; Lincolns Inn Regulatory Panel; Trustee of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk; Bar Council European Law Committee; editorial board World Export Control Review.

  • Directory Quotes M

    Maya Lester KC is recommended as a leading silk by the legal directories in six practice areas: Administrative & Public Law, Competition & European Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Public International Law and Sanctions. She is the “star’ individual for sanctions and ranked in the 'Chambers 100 UK Bar', a list of the top 100 barristers, and Who’s Who rank her among the world's leading competition, sanctions and trade and customs lawyers and as a 'Thought Leader' for Brexit 2018.

    Chambers & Partners 

    2024: "It was a very difficult brief but Maya grasped it very quickly and was phenomenal in court. She has the attention of the court in a way only few have. Someone I would love to work with again." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2024: "Maya Lester is very assured, knows her subject matter well and is very savvy and thoughtful in how she manages cases." (Sanctions)

    2024: "A real expert in her field and a go-to counsel for the most complex sanctions queries." (Sanctions)

    2024: "Maya is a sanctions guru. She is a widely respected go-to barrister in this space." (Sanctions; EU Law)

    2024: "She is all-round excellent. Her ability to communicate with clients and her drafting skills are extraordinary; I've not come across anything like them. She is also brilliant on her feet and commands the respect of the court." (EU Law)

    2024: "Maya Lester is extremely capable." (Public International Law)

    2024: "Maya is a great leader, down to earth, straight-talking and with excellent judgement." (Administrative & Public Law)

    2024: "Clients love Maya and find her calm and measured approach very reassuring." (Competition Law)

    2024: "Maya is excellent in every respect - she is user-friendly, provides superb analysis, is quietly forceful and highly effective in court." (Competition Law)

    2024: "Maya is brilliant, she is a really good lawyer in writing and orally." (Competition Law)

    2023: "Flexible, responsive and a pleasure to work with. On the substance, Maya is absolutely without any peer, and is extremely valuable on the strategic side."

    2023: "Absolutely first class. She is the master of her brief and is legally completely up to date with all developments. She provides very sound, reasoned and objective advice."

    2023: "She is hugely experienced, very clever and very easy to work with. She's also very capable of explaining things to the lay client."

    2023: "One of her strengths is the clarity of the views she expresses to clients."

    2023: "She's the queen of sanctions."  "Really incisive."

    2023: "On the substance, she is absolutely without any peers."

    2023: "She has been at the heart of the rapidly developing legal area of targeted sanctions because of her involvement right at the centre of the leading EU cases."

    2023: "She is a strong practitioner who presents intellectual dexterity and commanding advocacy."

    2023: "Maya is thoughtful and creative, and has a great manner with clients."

    2023: "She is very clear and sharp."

    2023: "She masters each legal development quickly and reliably, and assimilates all the new jurisprudential principles into her work on behalf of sanctioned clients."

    2022: "She is the oracle and was the first to identify the area of sanctions. Still head and shoulders above other silks in the area." (Sanctions) 

    2022: "She has great client handling skills and is a really good team player." "She has a breadth of expertise in domestic and international matters." (Administrative & Public Law) 

    2022: "Maya has a very easy manner in court." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2022: "Very good indeed, and one of the few true public/commercial law crossover barristers." (Public International Law) 

    2022: "She is an absolutely pristine drafter, and her client skills and responsiveness are second to none." (European Law)

    2022: "Decisive, with a superb grasp of the detail and wider strategic objectives." "Her written work is really a thing of beauty; her drafting is sublime." "Maya is very enthusiastic, very committed and hard- working. She is client-friendly and collaborative. She is very practical and rolls up her sleeves." (Competition Law) 

    2021: "She  has become the go-to  expert on sanctions." "She  is incredibly responsive and  very quick."(Sanctions)

    2021: "Very clever and a good strategist, also very client-friendly." "Exceptionally responsive in difficult times for the client." (Administrative & Public Law)

    2021: "A real powerhouse, she is forever coming up with new angles and ideas." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2021: "Her professional skills, teamwork and commitment to her client's cause and case are superb." (Public International Law)

    2021: "She has incredible clarity of writing." (European Law)

    2021: "Maya is absolutely incredible to work with." (Competiton Law)

    2020: "She is a total dream: incredibly quick to respond and has an unparalleled ability to produce the highest-quality drafting. Her advocacy style is very calming and persuasive, and she's extremely sensible, down to earth, engaging and dynamic." "She's very bright and has an excellent grasp of the issues. She's on top of everything in the sanctions world." (Administrative & Public Law)

    2020: "Maya Lester is fantastically good." "She's first class on sanctions and her drafting is amazing." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2020: "A total dream of a lawyer, who has an unparalleled ability to produce the highest quality drafting. Her advocacy style is very calming and persuasive." "She was able to drop everything and turn around a piece of advice very quickly." (Competition Law - UK & Global)

    2020: "First class on sanctions and her drafting is amazing." "She is enormously diplomatic, a great team player and exceptionally intellectually agile." (European Law)

    2020: "Unsurpassed as a young QC in the field of sanctions. She has superlative drafting skills." (Public International Law - UK & Global)

    2020: "She has an excellent knowledge of sanctions and an understanding of how everything fits in, coupled with a calm, logical manner and a good analytical approach." "She is the queen of sanctions law." "Maya is the pre-eminent sanctions lawyer in London and an expert on EU sanctions." (Sanctions)

    2019: "Gives really proactive advice and knows the crossover of human rights and EU law extremely well." "So bright and focused, she gets to the key point in minutes." (Administrative & Public Law)

    2019: "A very good and extremely clever barrister." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2019: "She is calm, experienced and a lawyer with excellent drafting skills." (Competition Law - UK & Global)

    2019: "Lester is very good to work with and manages matters very well." (European Law)

    2019: "She is the queen of sanctions law." "She is first-class, incredibly user-friendly and amazing on paper; she has incredible drafting skills and she is great in court." "She was very responsive, very insightful and kept a calm, level head." (Sanctions)

    2018: "She is diligent, hard-working and able." (Administrative & Public Law)

    2018: "Maya Lester is utterly approachable, unflappable and a consummate performer in court." "She is meticulously prepared." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2018: "She offers wise and measured counsel, drafts beautifully and is great on her feet." (Competition Law)

    2018: "She knows EU law inside out and can translate the process well for clients. She is able to take the commercial views of the client on board while remaining sensitive to the expectations of the court." (European Law)

    2018: "A first-class barrister who is highly responsive and authoritative, and who has an unsurpassed knowledge of the law." (Sanctions)

    2017: "Able to turn out high-quality work in a limited time. Her brain works at a different speed. She is delightfully modest and easy to work with and has a total grasp of the law." "She is really good with clients, gives measured, considered advice, and comes across as the voice of reason in court." (Administrative & Public Law)

    2017: "Her brain works at a different speed, and she's delightfully modest and easy to work with." "She's one of the leading lights for sanctions." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2017: "She is particularly good on complex cases, and very positive and definitive on points of law." (Competition Law)

    2017: "She is happy to answer queries at all hours and really knows her stuff." (European Law)

    2017: "Queen of the Sanctions Bar without a doubt. She is just phenomenal." "Beyond responsive. First- class." (Sanctions)

    2016: "An excellent junior with a particular speciality in sanctions work, one of the leading experts in that field." "Owns the world of sanctions." (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

    2016: "An erudite human rights junior who is well versed in high-profile judicial review cases and national security matters. Advises a diverse list of clients including individuals and large businesses." (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

    2016: "A very bright and diligent junior." "She's good with clients, gives measured and considered advice, and comes across as the voice of reason in court." (Competition Law)

    2016: "A hugely gifted public and competition law expert who receives consistent praise for both her advocacy skills and her thoughtful and creative approach to cases. Over the years she has acted in a number of headline cases, including the dairy cartel affair and the Premier League Pay-TV affair. (Chambers Global, Competition Law Band 1)

    2016: "She is very measured and persuasive on her feet, managing to clearly cut through a case to its core issues." "A real team player who rolls up her sleeves." (Chambers Global, Competition Law Band 1)

    2016: "She is fantastic, incredibly committed to her work and leaves no stone unturned. In addition, her drafting skills are second to none. I've never met anyone who could draft as well as her in any legal context. She is able to distil arguments on all sorts of legal issues from international law to European law and synthesise them in a way which is brilliant." (European Law)

    Legal 500

    2024: "Maya has a quiet authority founded upon a keen intellect."

    2023: "A highly impressive silk, Maya possesses superb intellect and gets to the heart of a matter quickly in both drafting and shaping her submissions." (Competition)

    2023: "Maya is a phenomenal drafter, amazingly responsive and is top of the tree for sanctions." (EU Law and Public International Law)

    2023: "Maya is a noted expert in sanctions. She is extremely responsive and user-friendly. She has worked on some of the most high-profile domestic and EU sanctions cases." (Administrative Law & Human Rights)

    2022: "An absolute delight to work with. Unstuffy, accessible and always delivers." (Public International Law)

    2022: "A fabulous leader and team player. She is a terrific strategic thinker, has unparalleled excellence in drafting. She is a meticulous preparer of cases and a gifted advocate." (Competition, EU Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2022: "Calm, clear and incisive. A punchy, non-nonsense advocate." (Administrative and Public Law)

    2021: "Unusual in really credibly marrying top level expertise in both competition law and public law." (Competition)

    2021: "A top-drawer drafter and forensic advocate with great wisdom. Everyone on the team was struck by her ability brilliantly to synthesise the points and express them clearly and effectively. Maya provides advice in the field not only of EU law but also public international law." (EU Law)

    2021: "She excels in preparing complicated pleadings which address many different arguments in overlapping fields including public international law. Her pleadings are always clear and effective." (Public International Law)

    2021: "The best drafter I have ever come across. Steely advocate and is divine to work with." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2021: "Superb when it comes to issues relating to terrorism and sanctions – she knows the law inside and out." (Administrative and Public Law)

    2020: "A divinely forensic advocate." (Administrative and Public Law)

    2020: "An excellent barrister, who is undoubtedly the leading barrister in the difficult and developing area of sanctions." (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

    2020: "An excellent team leader and motivator." (Competition) 2020: "Her knowledge of EU law is unsurpassed." (EU Law)

    2018-19: "She has an outstanding intellect and drafting skills that are unique and exceptional." (Administrative and Public Law)

    2018-19: "Gives measured and considered advice and comes across as the voice of reason in court." (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

    2018-19: "An excellent, clear, concise, precise and effective advocate." (Competition)

    2018-19: "Exceptionally talented, and has an uncanny ability to immediately identify the key to a complex issue." (EU Law)

    2018-19: "Innovative and creative in thought, and the leading barrister on the issue of sanctions." (Public International Law)

    2017: "Collaborative, efficient and clear-eyed in her judgement." (Administrative and Public Law) 2017: "Fantastic knowledge of terrorism and sanctions laws." (Civil Liberties and Human Rights) 2017: "A busy silk with a fast-growing practice." (Competition)

    2017: "The voice of reason in court, a superb drafter and a precise advocate." (EU Law)

    2017: "Her drafting skills are exceptional and she is extremely persuasive in court." (Public International Law)

    2016: "The voice of reason in court." (Administrative and Public Law)

    2016: "An excellent lawyer, who is diligent and creative." (Civil Liberties and Human Rights) 2016: "She fully deserved silk, and is a top-drawer advocate and adviser." (EU & Competition) 2016: "Efficient, effective and undaunted by unknowns." (Public International Law)

    2015: "Provides opinions, pleadings and oral advocacy of the highest calibre." (Administrative and Public Law, Tier 1)

    2015: "An amazing team player with a calmness under pressure that is much admired." (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

    2015: "Her drafting skills are excellent and unique." (EU & Competition)

    2015: "Her oral advocacy is of the highest calibre, displaying meticulous preparation and captivating delivery." (Public International Law)

    Who's Who Legal

    2022: Maya Lester KC is “widely regarded as the queen of UK sanctions” by peers, and has a wealth of experience in trade and compliance issues.(Trade & Customs - International Sanctions, Global Elite Thought Leader)

    2021: “At Brick Court Chambers Maya Lester QC is ‘the leading lawyer of sanctions’ who is ‘highly sought after’ as ‘one of the most experienced litigators in this field in the UK”. (Trade & Customs: Leading Individual)

    2021: “Maya Lester QC earns widespread recommendations for her capable handling of competition, state aid and sanctions disputes”.

    2021: Respondents celebrate Maya Lester QC for her “unsurpassed knowledge of sanctions” and her “unparalleled drafting skills”. (Competition Law, and International Trade and Commodities)

    2020: Maya Lester QC “possesses ‘unparalleled drafting skills’ and is ‘able to synthesise multiple legal arguments into simple, consolidated pleadings’. Clients further praise her as a ‘strong and capable lawyer’ who ‘works hard to obtain all relevant facts’.” (Trade & Customs: Leading Individual for International Sanctions)

    2020: Maya Lester QC is “the queen of sanctions”, effuse sources who say she is “very knowledgeable on UK sanctions law” and “always impresses”. (Trade & Customs - International Sanctions)

    2020: Maya Lester QC is “highly experienced in the area, but also clear in her advice”, with drafting skills that are “second to none”. (Competition - Listed as a Global and National Leader)

    2020: "Maya Lester QC at Brick Court Chambers is “an incredibly impressive barrister” with “an unsurpassed knowledge of sanctions law”. Her “clarity of thought is exemplary”, say commentators who add: “Her drafting speed and skill is incredible, and her oratory is first class.”" She is classed as one of the “most highly regarded silks” in international trade and commodities. (International Trade & Commodities - Listed as a National Leader)

    2020: "Maya Lester QC impresses market sources who consider her a go-to name at the Bar for trade compliance, sanctions and export control matters.” (Trade and Customs - Listed as a Global Leader)

    2015-2020: Listed as one of the world's leading competition lawyers.

    2019: "Maya Lester QC is a well-established figure in the field with respondents highlighting her impressive ability on sanctions-related matters." (International Trade & Commodities)

    2019: "Maya Lester QC is “the queen of sanctions”, effuse sources who say she is “very knowledgeable on UK sanctions law” and “always impresses”." (Trade and Customs, International Sanctions) Listed as one of the world's leading trade and customs lawyers since 2017.

    2018: Listed as a 'thought leader' for Brexit.

    2016: “The newest silk at the set, Maya Lester QC, is extensively experienced in competition investigations and appeals. Before taking silk, instructing solicitors regarded her 'as a standout senior junior', regularly praising her 'attention to detail and assiduous nature'”.

    2015: “Maya Lester is known for her 'ability to cut to the heart of a case immediately'. She has particular expertise in the law relating to economic sanctions.”