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Nicholas Gibson: EXPERTISE

Public Law

Contact: nicholasgibson@matrixlaw.co.uk Practice Manager: jasonhousden@matrixlaw.co.uk

Nicholas has a broad public law practice with a commercial focus and with considerable experience of acting for and against public bodies, covering both work before the Admin Court and matters arising under the specialist judicial review regimes under the Enterprise Act 2002 and the Communications Act 2003.

Recent and notable examples of his experience in this area of practice include those set out below.

Compass Contract Services UK Limited v HMRC (FTT Ref. TC/2010/09581) (2014) Representing HMRC (as junior counsel to Jessica Simor QC) in proceedings concerning recovery of VAT input tax, including an application to the First-tier Tribunal, and subsequent appeal to the Upper Tribunal, to set aside a barring order, which application involved the application of the guidance of the Court of Appeal as to the application of CPR r. 3.9 after the ‘Jackson reforms’: see Mitchell v NGN [2013] EWCA Civ 1537 and Denton v TH White [2014] EWCA Civ 906. The case also raises issues regarding the First-tier Tribunal’s jurisdiction to entertain an appeal in circumstances where the disputed tax has not been paid and hardship has not been granted.

Prince Cash and Carry v HMRC (FTT Ref. TC/2013/09427) (2014) Advising HMRC unled in an appeal against HMRC’s decision to issue a post-clearance duty demand in relation to anti-dumping duty on certain goods consigned from Vietnam in accordance with the relevant EU regulations.

Lafarge Tarmac Holdings Limited v the Competition and Markets Authority; Hope Construction Materials Limited v the Competition and Markets Authority (Case Refs. 1224, 1225/6/8/14) (2014) Defending the CMA (as junior counsel to Rhodri Thompson QC) against challenges to the package of remedies (and in particular the divestiture of a cement plant) proposed by the Competition Commission to address coordination in GB cement markets, which the CC had found following its Aggregates market investigation under Part 4 of the Enterprise Act 2002. Details of the case are available via the CAT’s website here, including judgment refusing Lafarge Tarmac’s application to rely on new expert evidence in [2014] CAT 5.

Own-initiative investigation by the OFT into Weatherseal Home Improvements Limited (Case. Ref. CE/9706/12) (2014) Advising the OFT in relation to its investigation under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Etc. Regulations 2008 into the business practices of Weatherseal, a national provider of double glazing and other energy efficiency and home improvement products, leading to Weatherseal providing assurances regarding its future conduct.

Everything Everywhere and others v Office of Communications (MCT appeals) (2013) [2013] EWCA Civ 154 and [2012] CAT 11 (Appeal No. 2012/1523) Representing the Competition Commission unled before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in joined appeals by Everything Everywhere and other parties against Ofcom’s 2011 Wholesale Mobile Voice Call Termination Statement, advising in relation to the Commission’s determination of the questions referred to it and defending that determination (as junior) against challenges on judicial review grounds before the Tribunal and on appeal to the Court of Appeal. Details of the case are available via the Tribunal’s website here.

R (oao Calland) v Financial Ombudsman Service (2013) [2013] EWHC 1327 (Admin) Appearing in the Administrative Court (with Hugh Tomlinson QC) for an independent financial adviser in his judicial review claim challenging a significant financial award against him by the Financial Ombudsman Service after an investigative process lasting more than a decade.

R (Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Limited and others) v Coventry City Council [2014] EWHC 2089 (Admin) [2013] EWHC 3366 (Admin) Acting (with Rhodri Thompson QC) for the owners of Coventry City Football Club in judicial review proceedings before the Administrative Court alleging that Coventry City Council’s decision to lend £14.4million to its subsidiary Arena Coventry Limited (the company which managed the Club’s home ground) was an unlawful use of public funds in breach of EU State aid rules and irrational; and representing the Club’s owners on an appeal to the Court of Appeal

TalkTalk and Sky v Office of Communications; BT v Office of Communications (LLU/WLR appeals) (2013) (CAT Case Ns 1192 and 1193/3/3/12) Representing the Commission unled before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in appeals by TalkTalk and Sky and by BT against Ofcom’s 2012 Local Loop Unbundling and Wholesale Line Rental Statement, and subsequently advising in relation to the Commission’s determination of the questions referred to it. Details of the cases are available via the Tribunal’s website here and here.

Verizon and Vodafone v Office of Communications (BCMR/LLCC appeal) (2013) (CAT Case No 1210/3/3/13) Representing BT as intervener in a joint appeal by Verizon and Vodafone against Ofcom’s 2013 Business Connectivity Market Review (“BCMR”) and Leased Lines Charge Control (“LLCC”) Statement, and subsequently appearing for BT in hearings before the Competition Commission in the Commission’s determination of the questions referred to it by the Tribunal. Details of the case are available via the Tribunal’s website here.

Local Bus Services Market Investigation (2011) Instructed as junior counsel to advise the Commission on issues arising from its investigation into the local bus services market in the United Kingdom (excluding London and Northern Ireland) under Part 4 of the Enterprise Act 2002. The Commission’s report can be accessed here.

Scot Young Research Limited v NHS Business Services Authority (2011) (Claim No. HC10C04461) Representing (as junior counsel to Rhodri Thompson QC) a supplier of cleaning products to the NHS in its claim in the Chancery Division for breach of public procurement regulations, and advising on mediation and settlement.

TalkTalk v Office of Communications; BT v Office of Communications (WBA appeals) (2011) (CAT Case Ns 1186 and 1187/3/3/11) Representing the Commission unled before the Competition Appeal Tribunal and otherwise advising the Commission in appeals by TalkTalk and by BT against Ofcom’s 2011 Wholesale Broadband Access Statement, including advice in relation to the Commission’s determination of the questions referred to it in BT’s appeal. Details of the case are available via the Tribunal’s website here.

Westminster CC v Bulat and others (2011) (Claim No. HQ11X00563) Appearing unled at interim hearing on behalf of one of the protestors encamped in Parliament Square, in proceedings brought by Westminster City Council for an injunction to remove all structures from the Square.

Cable & Wireless UK v Office of Communications (PPC appeal) (2010) (CAT Case No. 1112/3/3/09): Legal adviser to the Competition Commission on a reference from the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the appeal by Cable & Wireless against Ofcom’s 2009 Leased Line Charge Control Statement, liaising with expert advisers on economics and accountancy issues, and leading the preparation of the Commission’s determination of the questions referred to it. Also instructed as junior counsel for the Commission in BT’s subsequent challenge on judicial review grounds; BT withdrew its challenge prior to trial.

R (CGTSN and Global Knafaim Leasing) v the Civil Aviation Authority and BAA (2010) EWHC 1348 (Admin) (Appeal No. 2010/1682) Representing (as junior counsel to Rhodri Thompson QC) an aircraft leasing company in its challenge under the Human Rights Act 1998 and UK/EU competition law and EU fundamental rights to the detention and threatened sale of its aircraft, and in its subsequent appeal to the Court of Appeal; the matter settled before the hearing of the appeal.

Investigation into an alleged collective boycott and alleged price fixing by certain recruitment agencies (2007) (CE/7510-06) Acting for Hays Specialist Recruitment in the OFT’s “Construction Recruitment Forum” investigation into complaints of collective boycotting and price-fixing in the supply of candidates to the construction industry.

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