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MA, BCL (Oxon)
Robert Griffiths QC is a practising Queen’s Counsel and Senior Counsel in New South Wales who has a multi-disciplinary domestic and international practice across a range of specialist areas of law. He was formerly Joint Head of 4-5 Grays Inn Square and Head of Mondial Chambers. He has appeared in a large number of reported cases, many of which are at appellate level in the Court of Appeal, House of Lords, Privy Council and more recently in the Supreme Court. His practice extends to other jurisdictions including Australia, India, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei and Scotland. He has extensive experience in domestic and international arbitration and was President of the London Chamber of Arbitration from 2016 to 2018. He is listed in Who’s Who 2018 here.
He has been described as “one of the biggest names at the Bar” (Frances Gibb, Legal Editor of The Times) “conspicuously able” and an “outstanding advocate, his core strength is in dissecting the other side’s case and seeking to deliver the client’s case in the best light” (Legal 500), “a master in the art of questioning”, he puts witnesses “through the wringer” (The Cricketer), “very commercially astute and user friendly”, “top drawer” (Chambers Directory) and provides “first rate advice” (Legal 500).
Also described as, “one of the UK’s leading commercial QC’s”, “one of the sharpest barristers in the land” and as having “an ordered mind and a razor tongue” (The Times), he was the Times’ Lawyer of the Week (October 2007) for his representation of Darrell Hair in his claim against the International Cricket Council in respect of the ball tampering affair at the Oval.
In 2018 in recognition of his contribution to law, sport and the philosophy of sport, he was elected to a Fellowship of the Erasmus Forum.
He was a Junior Counsel to the Crown (Common Law) (A Panel) from 1989-1993. He took Silk in 1993 and became a Senior Counsel (New South Wales) in 1999. He is a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple.
He has been instructed in many leading cases in Public, Planning, Regulatory and Commercial law. Those cases include the Rose Theatre, Mclaren v the Home Office, Delaney v Staples, Marsal v Apong, HSE v Wolverhampton City Council, Varma v Mittal, The Government of France v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. He has appeared in a number of high profile Public Inquiries. He represented the Home Office at the Strangeways Inquiry and promoted for the Government the South Downs and New Forest National Parks. He also appeared in one of the largest Public Inquiries in Scotland involving a Compulsory Purchase Order for the St James Retail and Leisure Quarter in Edinburgh.
He is currently representing the United Cabbies Group (on behalf of the United Taxi Action Group) in their claim for judicial review of the decision to award a new licence to Uber. Click here for news item. Click here for article by Robert Griffiths QC on the case that featured in UTAG’s The Gold Standard Magazine.
He has also been instructed to represent Cheshire West and Chester Council in a two week public inquiry in January 2019. The inquiry will look at the relationship between shale gas development and climate change. It will be the first public inquiry to deal comprehensively with the issue.
He is presently acting for a consortium of Businesses in North London in rating cases involving the BID (Business Improvement District). Click here for news item.
He acted for the South Downs National Park Authority in a successful challenge to Highways England’s decision in relation to the selection of the preferred route for the A27.
He is also acting for the owners of a livery in a judicial review challenge to a decision of Windsor & Maidenhead Borough Council relating to planning enforcement and condition notices.
On the commercial side, he is currently representing a shareholder and director of an IT company in a dispute over a start-up company. He is also acting for the claimant in an insurance action in the High Court against American Express and Axa Insurance. The claim arises out of the failure on the part of the Defendants to provide emergency repatriation to the UK when the claimant suffered an illness in Dubai.
His clients have included The Who, Bucks Fizz, Muhammad Ali, Manchester United FC, Kerry Packer, the Sultan of Brunei, the Government of France and a large number of multinational corporations, investment institutions, Government Departments and Public Authorities.
He was an Open Scholar of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, is a Bencher of Middle Temple, a Freeman of the City of London, a Committee Member of the MCC, Chairman of the MCC Laws Sub-Committee 2007 – 2014, a Director of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a member of the Garrick Club.
Since August 2017 Robert Griffiths has been a senior practising member of Six Pump Court. He is especially focussing on international commercial and arbitration law, international trade, Brexit issues, public law and regulatory matters relating to transport and infrastructure. In addition, he is acting for a number of clients in the UK and overseas, in relation to oil and gas exploration including shale gas and fracking and climate change.
In December 2018 he was appointed a High Level adviser to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth. This prestigious appointment relates to the development of investment contracts, international arbitration and dispute resolution within the Commonwealth. In April 2019 he chaired an international conference in Johannesburg on the development of investment contract arbitration in the Commonwealth.
Fellow of the Erasmus Forum, 2018
President of the London Chamber of Arbitration, 2016-2018
Head of Mondial Chambers, 2016-2018
Joint Head of 4-5 Grays Inn Square Chambers, 2008-2015
Master of the Bench, Middle Temple, 2004
Special Advocate, 2004
Senior Counsel (New South Wales), 1999
Junior Counsel to the Crown (Common Law) (‘A’ Panel), 1989-1993
Standing Counsel to the National Grid, 1987-1993
Standing Counsel to the National Dock Labour Board, 1983-1989
Open Scholarship to St Edmund Hall, Oxford 1968
Cricket Appointments and Memberships
Member of MCC Committee, 2000-2001, 2001-2003, 2004-2011, 2012-2015, 2016-2019
Chairman of MCC Development Committee, 2009-2011
Chairman of the MCC Laws Sub-Committee, 2008-2014
Chairman of Test Match Grounds Consortium, 1998-2002
On 21st May 2019 and as a member of the MCC Committee he was quoted in the The Times Obituary for Seymour Nurse, the West Indian batsman saying of the cricketer, “The ball came so hard at me that I thought I would break a bone every time“.
Director of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 2014-2016
Trustee of the Lords Taverners, 2011-2013
Special Adviser to Princes Regeneration Trust, 2008-2012
Freeman City of London, 1997
• Varma v Mittal (2013) (Commercial Court, dispute over oil blocks and commission in Nigeria)
• Re Dianoor International (2009) (due diligence of a pawnbroker, money laundering)
• Abbey Mine Ltd v The Coal Authority  EWHC 118 (judicial review / natural justice / competition law)
• Association of British Travel Agents Ltd (ABTA) v Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)  EWCA 13 (judicial review / definition of package holiday)
• Marsal v Apong  (Privy Council)1 WLR 674 (Leading Counsel for the Sultan of Brunei / the Brunei constitution and limitations of actions)
• Marsal v Apong (1997) (Court of Appeal West Malaysia)Marsal v Apong (1996) (High Court of Brunei)
• Marsal v Apong (1996) (High Court of Brunei)
•Sabah Berjaya SDN BHD v Director General of Inland Revenue (Kuala Lumpur 1997, taxation of charitable fund)
• Yorkshire Water Services Ltd v Sun Alliance and London Insurance Plc,  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 21 (insurance contracts / repairs / water pollution)
• Yorkshire Water Services Ltd v Sun Alliance & London Insurance Plc (No.2)  Env. L.R. 204 (insurance contracts / negligence / nuisance / repairs / water pollution)
• F. G. Whitely Ltd v Bickerton  EG 100 (surveyor’s negligence / limitation of actions)
• Regina v National Dock Labour Board, Ex parte Emerson and Another Regina v Grimsby and Immingham Dock Labour Board, Ex parte Tom S leight Seiners Ltd and Another National Dock Labour Board v Vendelbo Fishing Company Ltd and Others (1989) Times, 24 March (Dock labour board policy)
• National Dock Labour Board v Pinn and Wheeler Ltd  BCLC 647 (piercing the corporate veil)
• Caledonian Mining Co v Bassett  ICR 425 (repudiation)
• National Dock Labour Board v Buschini (Standing Counsel for Dock Labour Board / meaning of dock work)
• Marley Tile Co v Burrows  QB 241 (bankruptcy)
Planning & Environmental
• Re Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation and mixed use development of Derby City Centre (Public Inquiry 2011)
• Wolverhampton CC v Peel, Sainsbury&rsquos and Tesco (major retail development) 2011
• Cala Homes v HSE (effect of nuclear installations at Aldermaston on proposed residential development). Public Inquiry 2010-2011
• Wolverhampton City Council (2010) (major regeneration schemes in Wolverhampton)
• Metro Construction Ltd. v London Borough of Barnet  EWHC 2956 (Admin)(quashing a Conservation Area designation)
• Lords Cricket Ground (2009) (ongoing major re-development of the iconic venue and adjacent residential site)
• Resumed South Downs National Park Inquiry (2008 – 09) (Represented Natural England in a 6 month public inquiry into the South Downs National Park).
• Stansted Airport Inquiry (2008 – 09)- Retained by the Civil Aviation Authority to represent them at the public inquiry into the second runway at Stansted Airport
• Surrey County Cricket Club and Aurora Hotels (2008-09) (new development in proximity to gasometers at the Oval Cricket Ground)
• Bolnore Village Public Inquiry (Crest Nicholson) (2006-7) (longest running planning inquiry for major residential development and Hayward&rsquos Heath relief road)
• Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd v Surry Heath BC & Natural England Public Inquiry (2006-7) No1(impact of residential development on Thames Basins Heath SPA)
• Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd v Natural England (2006-7) No2 (Leading Counsel for Taylor Wimpey / impact of residential development on Thames Basin Heath SPA)
• South Downs National Park Public Inquiry (2004 and 2007) (Leading Counsel for Countryside Agency / promoter 2004 (and Natural England 2007-08)
• Lewes District Council v Secretary of State (2006) (Brighton Football Club / planning)
• New Forest National Park Public Inquiry (2004) (Leading Counsel for the Countryside Agency / promoter)
• Hammersmatch Properties Ltd v First Secretary of State  EWCA 187 (appeal re major mixed retail / residential use site)
• Dibden Bay Public Inquiry (2004) (Leading Counsel for Environment and Countryside Agency)
• Graham v Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions  EWHC 1150 (planning / highways)
• Castleford Homes Ltd v Secretary of State for Environment  PCLR 470 (planning)
• Tesco Stores Ltd v Norfolk DC  78 P & CR 359 (planning permission)
• Wimpey Homes Holdings Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment and another  JPL 919 (section 106 agreements)
• Chichester District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment and another  3 PLR 49 (planning conditions)
• Darrell Hair v International Cricket Council (2007) (race discrimination and sport)
• Delaney v Staples  1 AC 687 (House of Lords) (payment in lieu of notice / wages)
• Expro Services v Smith  ICR 577 (transfer of undertakings)
• Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte Attard (1990) Times, 14 March (Court of Appeal) (unlawful suspension without pay)
• Regina v Police Complaints Authority, Ex parte Thompson (1989) Times, 24 October(disciplinary proceedings)
• Payne v Secretary of State for Employment  IRLR 352 (Court of Appeal)(associated employers / redundancy payment)
• Eaton v Robert Eaton  ICR 302 (director / employee)
• Secretary of State for Employment v Crane  IRLR 238 (redundancy payments)
• Cox v E L G Metals Ltd  ICR 310 (oversees employees)
• Naylor v Orton & Smith Ltd  ICR 665 (industrial action)
• Moody v Telefusion Ltd  IRLR 311 (unfair dismissal)
• Tanner v Keen  IRLR 110 (unfair dismissal)
• Egg Stores (Stamford Hill) v Leibovici  ICR 260 (frustration)
Thompson v Eaton Ltd  UK EAT 24 76 1404 (unfair dismissal / industrial action)
• Dhatt and Another v McDonalds Hamburgers Ltd  ICR 591 (race discrimination)
• Horsey v Dyfed CC  ICR 755 (sex discrimination)
• Skyrail Oceanic Ltd v Coleman  ICR 864 (sex discrimination)
• R (United Cabbies Group (London) Ltd) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court & Transport for London, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association & Uber London Ltd  EWHC 409 (Admin) (bias of District Judge and licensing)
• R (Mr Robert Johnston and Mrs Marjolein Russnak-Johnston) v Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead  EWHC 160 (Admin) (lawfulness of Breach of Condition Notices)
• The Health and Safety Executive v Wolverhampton City Council (2012) UKSC 34, (2012) 1 WLR 2264 (Planning and financial considerations, Supreme Court)
• Derwent Holdings v Trafford BC, Tesco Superstores Ltd and Lancashire CCC  EWCA Civ 832 (Challenge to grant of planning permission to Lancashire CCC and Tesco superstore represented Lancashire) 2011 Court of Appeal
• Maddox Club (judicial review and licensing) 2011
• HSE v Wolverhampton City Council (planning and financial considerations, Court of Appeal 2011)
• HSE v Wolverhampton City Council (2009) EWCA Civ 892 (hazardous installations and the control of development)
• Club 54 2009 (licensing and planning issues relating to a nightclub)
Castleford Homes Ltd v Secretary of State of Environment, Transport and Regions and Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (2001) EWHC Admin 77 (Natural Justice)
• West Midlands Probation Committee v Secretary of State for the Environment  JPL 388 (planning considerations)
• Regina v Department of Trade and Industry, Ex parte Healaugh Farms  P & CR 1(judicial review / wayleaves)
• R v Sheffield CC  68 P & CR 331 (locus standi / established use / judicial review)
• Chief Adjudication Officer and Another v Ahmed and Others (1994) Times, 6 April(Court of Appeal) (temporary absences abroad)
• Barnet BC v Secretary of State for the Environment, Cox and ors  IPL 767(planning policy / Green Belt)
• Ynys Mon Borough Council v Secretary of State for Wales and others  3 PLR 1(time limits)
• Sharkey and another v Secretary of State for the Environment and another  2 PLR 11 (Court of Appeal) (remedies / compulsory purchase)
• Strangeways Inquiry (1991) (prison disturbances / (Junior Counsel for Home office))
• Department of Education and Science v Taylor  IRLR 308 (res judicata / abuse of process)
• Fox v Secretary of State for the Environment  62 P & CR 459 (compulsory purchase)
• Cherwell DC v Hodges  RVR 169 (community charge)
• Re Rose Theatre Ltd  QB 504 (ancient monuments / judicial review)
• McClaren v Home Office  ICR 824 (Court of Appeal) (civil service contracts / judicial review)
• Sadiq v Chief Adjudication Officer (1988) Times, 28 March (liability for repayment of overpaid child benefit)
• Regina v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Ex parte Stevenson (1987) Times, 22 April (natural justice)
• Abse v Smith  QB 536 (amicus curiae / rights of audience)
For further detail on career, articles and publications see his personal website.
Black Taxis in High Court challenge to decision to grant Uber their licence
Robert Griffiths QC and Stuart Jessop will represent the United Cabbies Group on behalf of the United Taxi Action Group in the High Court today in the Claimant’s challenge to the Chief Magistrate’s decision in June last year to grant Uber London Limited a Private Hire Vehicle Operators ...read more
Robert Griffiths QC appointed as adviser on Commonwealth Investment and Dispute Resolution by the Commonwealth Secretariat
Robert Griffiths QC has been appointed as high level adviser on Commonwealth Investment and Dispute Resolution to the Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform. The Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform acts as the primary focal point of all legal work ...read more
Robert Griffiths QC instructed by Hampstead pub landlord in challenge to Hampstead BID levy
Robert Griffiths QC has been instructed by a Hampstead pub landlord following his refusal to pay a business levy imposed by the Hampstead Business Improvement District (BID). The Hampstead Business Improvement District levy was introduced in 2016 by local businesses and is enforced by Camden ...read more