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Chambers of Mark Howard QC and Helen Davies QC

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Maya Lester QC

Work 020 7379 3550
Brick Court Chambers (Chambers of Mark Howard QC and Helen Davies QC)

Work Department

Brick Court Chambers


Barrister specialising in public and administrative law, European Union law, competition law, and human rights, with a particular expertise in the law of international sanctions, on which Maya writes a blog: She has appeared in leading cases in all these fields, in the English courts, Competition Appeal Tribunal, European Courts, European Court of Human Rights, and the Supreme Court of the Falkland Islands. In the last 2 years Maya has spoken at numerous conferences (including the International Bar Association and American Bar Association antitrust spring meeting and at Chatham House, MLex, and the British Bankers Association), organised a workshop at NYU law school, and is on the programming committee of the American Society of International Law annual meeting. For a list of Maya’s cases, see These include the leading House of Lords cases on the cartel offence and conspiracy to defraud (R v GG plc [2008] UKHL17), on the European Schools (Duncumbe & Fletcher [2011] 2 All ER 417), the Health and Safety at Work Act (Chargot v HSE [2008] UKHL 73) and the Chagos Islands litigation on prerogative powers and on EU obligations to overseas territories (R (Bancoult No 2) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2008] UKHL 61 and R (Bancoult No 3) [2014] 1 WLR 2921). They include the first follow-on damages action in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (Enron v EWS [2011] EWCA Civ 2) and others (including National Grid, ABB & Ors, the gas insulated switchgear litigation), several judicial reviews of OFT decisions (Cityhook Celesio, UniChem, John Lewis, Association of Convenience Stores), economic loss action from foot and mouth disease (Pride v Merial [2009] EWHC 685), Shambo (R (Community for the Many Names of God) v Welsh Assembly Government [2007] EWCA Civ 893), JRs of decisions relating to casinos, the EU carbon emissions trading scheme, the UKBA’s decision to remove London Metropolitan University’s licence, the Law Society’s challenge to the Legal Services Commission’s family law tender ([2010] EWHC 2550 (Admin)), the Pay TV litigation (for the Premier League), an abuse of dominance claim against Google’s mapping services (Streetmap), the dairy cartel appeal (for Tesco) and construction recruitment forum (for the OFT) and Ryanair’s judicial review (for the Competition Commission), the Attheraces cases ([2005 CAT 29) and the UEFA/FIFA challenges to free to air TV lists (for the European Commission). Her sanctions cases include Kadi (2) v Commission and C-376/10 P Pye Phyo Tay Za v Council, and hundreds (literally) of applications for annulment in relation to the EU’s sanctions against Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Zimbabwe, Russia, Ukraine, and terrorist sanctions. She undertakes many pro bono cases (including for Liberty and the Human Dignity Trust), including Walker v Innospec (a test case challenging legislation discriminating against civil partners as regards pension accruals). In the European Court of Human Rights she appeared in Georgia v Russian Federation [2011] STC 1988 1996d-e, Yukos v Russian Federation (14902/04), Mattilla v Finland (77138/01), and Chagos Islanders v United Kingdom (35622/04). Court of Justice cases include Kadi (see above), Case C-278/11 P Den Dover v Parliament and Case 2001/37 R Swedish Match v Secretary of State and numerous actions for annulment in the General Court. Selected by ‘The Times’ in 2008 as one of the ten ‘Future Stars of the Bar’, nominated for Competition/EU Junior of the Year at Chambers & Partners Bar Awards 2010.


QC 2016.  Attorney General's A Panel and Public International Law A Panel in 2015.
Intern Open Society Institute, Soros Foundation, New York 1997; summer associate Williams & Connolly, Washington DC 1998; summer clerk Chambers of Judge Thelton Henderson, District Court for the Northern District of California 1998; tutor in European Law, City University 1999-2000; stagiaire in cabinet of Advocate General Jacobs, European Court of Justice 2000; called 2000, Lincoln’s Inn; Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (C Panel 2005; B Panel 2008); foreign law clerk to Chief Justice Barak and Justice Beinisch, Supreme Court of Israel (Pegasus Scholarship 2006; visiting scholar at Columbia Law School 2011-12. Publications include: blog and numerous articles on targeted sanctions; contributor to ‘Competition Litigation’ (eds Brealey & Green, OUP 2010); ‘EU Competition Law: Procedures and Remedies’, by Gray, Lester et al (OUP 2006); sub-editor and annual updater of ‘Human Rights Practice’ (eds Simor and Emmerson, Sweet & Maxwell); ‘Prosecuting Cartels for Conspiracy to Defraud’ (Competition Law Journal 2008); ‘Judicial Review in the UK of Competition and State Aid Decisions’ (2007, Common Market Law Review); ‘UniChem v OFT’ Competition Law Journal (Issue 2 2005); ‘Puzzling over Abuse of Right’ European Current Law (2004); ‘Human Rights – The International Dimension’, The Lawyer (2004). Legal work includes: seminars on targeted sanctions at Yale, NYU and Columbia law schools, New York, and at numerous conferences in London; participant in Slynn Foundation, Interrights and Council of Europe training on EU and human rights law (Poland, Kosovo, Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia); speaker at Anglo-Finnish Competition Law Trust conferences (Finland, Estonia).


Competent French.


Human Rights Lawyers Association (former secretary and founder member); Bar European Group; Administrative Law Bar Association, European Circuit; Bar Council European Committee; Peace Brigades International UK advisory board; Administrative and Constitutional Law Bar Association; Competition Law Association; United Kingdom reporter for LIDC Convention 2009.


Clare College, Cambridge (1996 BA History First Class. Received Paul Mellon Fellowship, Clare College Foundation Scholarship and History Award); Yale Law School, USA as Paul Mellon Fellow (1997 MSL; 1998 visiting scholar); City University, London (1999 CPE distinction 1st place); Inns of Court School of Law, London (2000 BVC, Lincolns Inn CPE Award, Hardwicke Scholarship, Mansfield Scholarship, Robert Wright Mooting Competition Prize); Columbia Law School (2011-12 visiting scholar).


Music (viola, classical guitar), theatre.

London Bar

Administrative and public law (including local government)

Within: Administrative and public law (including local government) – Leading silks

Maya Lester QC - Brick Court ChambersShe has an outstanding intellect and drafting skills that are unique and exceptional.

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Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police)

Within: Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police) – Leading silks

Maya Lester QC - Brick Court ChambersGives measured and considered advice and comes across as the voice of reason in court.

Within: Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police)

In the past 12 months, barristers at Brick Court Chambers have been instructed across very diverse areas, including Privy Council death row appeals and constitutional issues with a direct impact on human rights such as R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, which concerned the procedure by which the UK government could initiate withdrawal from the European Union. Also of note, Martin Chamberlain QC acted in the Supreme Court in Walker v Innospec, representing a retired gay man whose pension scheme only provided a spousal pension entitlement to opposite sex couples. In Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence & FCO, Maya Lester QC acts for the claimant in a challenge to his detention and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Within: Competition – Leading silks

Maya Lester QC - Brick Court ChambersAn excellent, clear, concise, precise and effective advocate.

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EU law

Within: EU law – Leading silks

Maya Lester QC - Brick Court ChambersExceptionally talented, and has an uncanny ability to immediately identify the key to a complex issue.

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Public international law

Within: Public international law – Leading silks

Maya Lester QC - Brick Court ChambersInnovative and creative in thought, and the leading barrister on the issue of sanctions.

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