Duncan Sinclair

Year of call:

+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“He understands the law – not just the dry legal stuff, but the context around it”
Chambers & Partners 2015

Duncan Sinclair is expert in commercial disputes, public law and EU / competition law (including public procurement disputes). He “comes highly recommended by market sources, and is praised for his commercial bent”, Chambers UK 2012, he “offers quick, clear and concise advice” Chambers UK 2013 and is “a safe pair of hands, able to get on top of complex facts quickly”, Legal 500 2014 whilst being “good at thinking on his feet” Chambers UK 2016. His practice involves advisory work, dispute resolution (notably in disputes with and investigations by regulatory bodies) and litigation (largely in the High Court and the Competition Appeal Tribunal).

A Partner at the energy regulator and competition authority Ofgem (2005-2010) before returning to the Bar in 2010 “He has excellent knowledge of energy regulation, and is down to earth and easy to work with” Legal 500 2015. He was the lead director on the largest abuse of dominance case (National Grid) ever successfully prosecuted in the UK. In the year of his return to the bar, Duncan was listed in The Lawyer’s “Hot 100” lawyers across the UK legal profession.

Recently instructed by the Competition and Markets Authority in its high profile Energy Market Investigation as external counsel (2014-2016), Duncan has also represented a UK competition authority in National Grid v ABB (and ors) in the High Court damages claim (one of The Lawyer’s top 25 cases of 2015).

Duncan has acted in many of the leading judicial reviews in regulated sectors in recent years, representing Friends of the Earth in the successful Solar Panels judicial review in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, Drax Energy in its judicial review in relation to an Investment Contract, Solar Century in a judicial review of DECC’s renewables policy, RWE Generation in a challenge to changes to Ofgem’s charging regime, Oxford Airport in its challenge to use of military airport facilities for commercial purposes, and successfully defending the Legal Services Board in the High Court and Court of Appeal in the QASA case. He has acted for an Interested Party in the online travel agents sector in Skyscanner v the CMA before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the first successful challenge to a commitments decision in the UK) and continues to regularly act in complex commercial disputes (for instance involving power purchase agreements and other contracts).

Duncan’s work is equally split between litigation and advisory/other dispute settlement matters. He regularly represents parties in respect of regulatory investigations and in disputes as to the application of regulatory regimes. He advises local authorities and others on the application of the public procurement rules, including the regeneration of Central Coventry City Cenre, and (increasingly) acts for parties to procurement litigation.

Duncan sits on the Editorial Board of Butterworths’ Competition Law Service, to which he also contributes as an author, and regularly contributes to the leading practitioner journals and seminars on competition and commercial judicial review.

Advisory/dispute resolution

Sample of recent matters:

  • acting for parties in a number of competition and regulatory investigations before the UK authorities.
  • advising contracting entities (and potential challenging parties) on the application of the new procurement rules and procedures (including the competitive dialogue procedure) for instance in respect of the Coventry City Centre regeneration project, construction of infrastructure to a hospital, and procurement of health services in Sunderland.
  • working with parties on issues related to ROCs, Feed-in Tariffs, Contracts for Difference and other environmental schemes including: accreditation; legality; regulatory investigations.
  • representing a pharmaceutical company in to successfully attain a change in the listing of its product.
  • advising on the establishment of the Homebuy and subsequent schemes to encourage affordable home ownership

Related Cases

Sample of recent cases:

R. (on the application of RWE Generation UK Plc) v Gas and Electricity Markets Authority [2016] 1 C.M.L.R. 17

Solar Century Holdings Ltd v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2016] EWCA Civ 117; [2016] B.L.R. 341

Skycanner v Competition and Markets Authority [2015] 3 All E.R. 67; [2015] Bus. L.R. 1318; [2015] Comp. A.R. 41

Skycanner v Competition and Markets Authority [2014] CAT 7

Counted4 Community Interest Co v Sunderland City Council [2015] EWHC 3898 (TCC) (acting for winning contractor in procurement exercise)

R. (on the application of Oxford Aviation Services (t/a London Oxford Airport)) v Secretary of State for Defence [2015] EWHC 3898 (TCC); 164 Con. L.R. 230

R. (on the application of Drax Power Ltd) v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2014] EWHC 2377 (Admin); [2014] EWCA Civ 1153

Lumsdon & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Legal Services Board (Protective Costs Orders) [2013] EWHC 3289 (Admin)

Lumsdon & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Legal Services Board (Divisional Court) [2014] EWHC 28 (Admin)

R. (on the application of Homesun Holdings Ltd) v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2011] EWHC 3575 (Admin); [2012] A.C.D. 28

Affirmed in Court of Appeal [2012] EWCA Civ 28; [2012] Env. L.R. 25; [2012] A.C.D. 29; (2012) 109(6) L.S.G. 20; (2012) 156(4) S.J.L.B. 31

National Grid Electricity Transmission Plc v ABB Ltd [2013] EWHC 822 (Ch); [2013] U.K.C.L.R. 177 (Submissions under the Competition Law Practice Direction)

National Grid Plc v Gas and Electricity Markets Authority [2010] EWCA Civ 114; [2010] U.K.C.L.R. 386

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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