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39 Essex Chambers

Chambers of Neil Block QC and Alison Foster QC

Work 020 7832 1111
Fax 020 7353 3978
Kuala Lumpur, London, Manchester, Singapore

39 Essex Chambers is a long established set with 51 Queen's Counsel and 85 juniors. With offices in London, Manchester, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the set offers substantial expertise in almost every aspect of civil liability, commercial, construction and engineering, commercial fraud, financial services, costs and litigation funding, aviation, energy,  planning, environmental and property, personal injury and clinical negligence, public, regulatory and disciplinary law, shipping and alternative dispute resolution, both in the UK and worldwide. Members of chambers have wide experience of all courts and tribunals including the Supreme Court, Privy Council, Court of Appeal, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice, specialist courts, tribunals and planning and other public inquiries, as well as of domestic and international arbitrations. Members have participated in many significant investigations before Parliamentary Select Committees and 24 members are on the Attorney General's Panel of Counsel instructed on behalf of the Crown. Members also undertake pro bono work for public interest organisations.


Administrative and public: judicial review and public law, including civil liberties and human rights, education, local authorities, health trusts, mental health, community care, court of protection, housing and housing associations, immigration, VAT and customs and excise.

Aviation and aerospace: leading experts who advise and represent clients on issues across the aviation and aerospace sector in the UK and internationally. This includes: planning and development of airports, heliports and aviation-related infrastructure; environmental; commercial; construction; civil liability and regulatory disputes; advice on compulsory purchase; surface access; noise and emission controls; AAIB inquiries and air accidents; air traffic services; the effects of wind turbines on radar and ATC; lease finance; airport, aircraft, pilot and crew licensing; engineering and management; taxation; aircraft leasing and sales; passenger claims; cases involving UK and foreign governments; ICAO, EASA and the RAA; competition; and European and international law.

Commercial: insurance and reinsurance, commodities and derivatives, funding disputes, banking, mergers and acquisitions, sale and carriage of goods, insolvency, company law, financial services law, professional negligence and professional indemnity work for auditors and legal advisors and international commercial arbitration.

Construction and engineering: litigation and related claims, including professional negligence and indemnity work, from major international ventures to smaller domestic contracts, acting for employers, contractors, subcontractors and professional advisors. Members act as advocates, mediators and arbitrators in the United Kingdom, the EU and worldwide.

Costs: members of chambers appear in every court and tribunal where costs issues arise. Members also carry out advisory work on potential funding arrangements and in drafting cost documentation including CFAs, CCFA and legal expenses insurance policies.

Employment: work for employers and employees, local authorities and central government. An emphasis is on public law-related work, discrimination, restrictive covenants, wrongful dismissal and breach of fiduciary duties.

Energy: a unique capability to cover corporate/commercial, construction, engineering, projects, environmental, planning, public and regulatory work in the electricity, nuclear, oil and gas and renewable sectors.

Entertainment and sports: entertainment and media-related work including performers' contracts, passing off, breach of confidence, film and management agreements and broadcasting regulation. Sports-related work includes public liability of sports clubs for acts of their players, employer's liability, disciplinary tribunals, disputes concerning control of clubs, transfer fee disputes, EU free movement and other employment issues.

European: EU law before domestic and EU courts, including competition, discrimination and equality law, public procurement, free movement, state aids and milk quotas.

Human rights: members of chambers regularly appear in domestic Human Rights Act cases and also have extensive experience as advocates before the European Court of Human Rights and in courts overseas. Members have appeared in leading cases with a human rights dimension in diverse fields including civil liberties, commercial law, healthcare, housing, immigration, local government, mental health, community care, planning, police and prisoners.

Personal injury and clinical negligence: sea, air and crowd disasters, group actions, industrial disease, sports injuries, injuries of maximum severity,  pharmaceuticals, product liability and high profile and complex matters, ranging from sensitive consent-to-treatment cases to those involving serious disability and death.

Planning, environmental and property: compulsory purchase, contaminated land, environmental civil liability, environmental regulation, European law and human rights, health and safety and product liability, insurance, international environmental law, licensing, marine environment, parliamentary and public affairs, planning law, nuisance and rating.

Public inquiries: members of chambers have been instructed in most of the major public inquiries over the past ten years including BSE, the King's Cross fire and, more recently, the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Victoria Climbie, the Saville inquiry, the Hutton inquiry, Hillsborough, the Leveson Inquiry and the Bristol Review.

Regulatory and disciplinary: appearing in tribunals and hearings, and carrying out advisory work across the entire medical sphere, appearing before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and in challenges to interventions by the Law Society, social care, education, financial services, broadcasting, communications and the media, sport, transport and health and safety, buildings and housing, local government standards, licensing.

INTERNATIONAL: 39 Essex Chambers has a number of members who have been called to the Bars of various international and offshore jurisdications including California, France, Hong Kong, New South Wales, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and the British Virgin Islands. Chambers also has experience of acting in disputes in various foreign jurisdictions including Western and Central Europe, Africa, the USA, India, China and Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, Singapore, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

RECRUITMENT: the set is a member of Pupillage Gateway and also advertises recruitment via its website.

Above material supplied by 39 Essex Chambers (Chambers of Neil Block QC and Alison Foster QC).

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