Philippe Kuhn

Year of call:
2017
Email:
philippe.kuhn@39essex.com

Clerks:
+44 (0)20 7832 1111

Philippe is building a broad practice across all areas of Chambers’ specialisms. He has a particular interest in commercial matters with an international dimension (including arbitration, construction, shareholder, civil fraud, jurisdiction and choice of law disputes) and cases at the intersection of private and public law (including Human Rights Act damages and equality rights claims). This builds on his international background, growing up in Switzerland and Sri Lanka, before reading law at the LSE and Oxford and qualifying as a barrister in England.

He joined Chambers after completing a third six pupillage in March 2020. He was previously a Judicial Assistant at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2018/19), assigned to Lord Briggs, Lord Sumption and Lord Sales. He completed his pupillage at 11 King’s Bench Walk (2017/18) and maintains an interest in commercial and statutory employment matters.

Notable cases on which Philippe has assisted include the Bank Mellat A1P1 ECHR damages litigation in the Commercial Court arising out of asset freezing orders against an Iranian bank (as a pupil) and Vedanta Resources PLC v Lungowe [2019] UKSC 20 concerning jurisdiction issues in a mass tort claim brought by Zambian nationals (as a judicial assistant).

Commercial, Construction & International Arbitration


Philippe is currently instructed as junior counsel in an international commercial arbitration matter. He has also been appearing as sole counsel in commercial disputes in the County Court.

During his pupillage at Chambers, Philippe gained experience working on skeleton arguments, pleadings, research notes, witness statements, applications and pre-action correspondence under the supervision of Marion Smith QC and Samar Abbas. Notable matters include:

  • Contested arbitration enforcement proceedings in the Commercial Court concerning ICC awards in a Swiss-seated arbitration between non-UK parties, with parallel cross-border proceedings outside the European Union.
  • A Hong Kong construction arbitration raising issues as to the scope of contractual and tortious duties, causation, damage to non-parties to the arbitration and limitation.
  • A high-end residential property damages claim to be issued in the Technology and Construction Court, which was successfully settled by mediation before proceedings.
  • A construction adjudication concerning a mixed-use property development in the UK, involving international contractors.

While at the Supreme Court, Philippe assisted on a number of significant commercial and commercial chancery appeals including:

  • Sevilleja v Marex Financial Ltd (pending) – on whether the rule against reflective loss bars creditors from claiming directly against a third party for asset-stripping of a company.
  • Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB v Conway [2019] UKPC 36 – on fraudulent preferences through share redemption payments and remedies under common law unjust enrichment and Cayman Islands insolvency legislation.
  • Egon Zehnder Ltd v Tillman [2019] UKSC 32 – the leading case on restraint of trade and the doctrine of severance of unenforceable covenants in employment contracts.

While at 11KBW, Philippe also worked on a range of commercial employment (misuse of confidential information, bonus and commission), shareholder and LLP/partnership disputes under the supervision of Jane McCafferty QC.

Philippe also has an academic background in English commercial law and conflict of laws (private international law), having specialised in these areas at Master’s level while reading for the BCL at the University of Oxford. He has also recently submitted an article for publication in the Edinburgh Law Review on negotiating damages in misuse of confidential information cases following One Step (Support) Ltd v Morris-Garner [2018] UKSC 20.

Public & Regulatory


As a pupil at Chambers, Philippe was supervised by Colin Thomann and Andrew Tabachnik QC in public law and regulatory matters in the asylum, immigration, EU sanctions and environmental regulation context. He gained experience preparing several written advices and research notes and drafting a jurisdiction challenge and statements in opposition on appeal, at all levels.

While at the Supreme Court, Philippe assisted on notable appeals including:

  • R (Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal [2019] UKSC 22 – a landmark appeal raising constitutional law issues as to the legality of a potential ouster of judicial review clause in section 67(8) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
  • R (Association of Independent Meat Suppliers) v Food Standards Agency [2019] UKSC 36 – an important regulatory law appeal concerning the existence of a right of challenge and (if so) procedure for challenge against the Official Veterinarian. The Supreme Court referred two questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

As a pupil at 11KBW, Philippe completed a wide range of written opinions, skeleton arguments, pleadings and research notes across the full spectrum of public law (under the supervision of Joanne Clement). Notable work included:

  • Research assistance on quantum in the Bank Mellat A1P1 ECHR damages litigation in the Commercial Court arising out of asset freezing orders against an Iranian bank.
  • Advising on EU Charter equality rights in relation to adjustments for disabled individuals in the aviation context and pension rights of surviving partners in same-sex relationships.
  • Assisting in written advice on novel information disclosure rights under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 respectively.
  • Helping to advise commercial entities and research bodies on anonymisation regimes for data protection purposes under the GDPR and new Data Protection Act 2018.
  • Assisting in written advice to multiple professional regulators about the scope of their investigatory and enforcement powers, including extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Philippe also has a sustained academic interest in public and human rights law. He specialised in public and commercial law at Master’s level while reading for the BCL at the University of Oxford. He has written a number of published articles in this field:

  •  “Reforming the Approach to Racial and Religious Hate Speech Under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights” (OUP Human Rights Law Review, Volume 19, Issue 1, February 2019).
  • “The Rebirth of the Common Law: Common Law Constitutional Rights and Legality” (Gray’s Inn Student Law Journal, Volume 8, 2017).
  • “Rules and Discretion: Elevating the Status of Soft Law in the United Kingdom” (Washington Undergraduate Law Review, Volume VIII, Issue I, 2015).

Philippe is a member of the Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA).

Civil Liability


Philippe regularly appears as sole counsel in personal injury and mixed civil Fast Track and Small Claims matters in the County Court. Hearings range from trials to interim applications, case management, quantum disposal and infant approval hearings. His main areas of practice are Highways Act claims, occupiers’ liability and road traffic accidents.

As a pupil in Chambers, Philippe was supervised by Emily Formby and Judith Ayling. He gained experience in a range of written advices, pleadings and research notes in clinical negligence and personal injury matters with a focus on medical causation, expert evidence, duty of care issues and pre-trial settlement negotiations, acting for NHS Trusts, local authorities and insurers. He also regularly appeared as sole counsel in personal injury County Court matters.

Philippe has a particular interest in conflict of laws (private international law) issues in the personal injury context, including direct claims brought against insurers in the English courts for injuries sustained in accidents abroad. As a pupil, he gained experience preparing a written advice on the procedural regime for personal injury claims heard in England but governed by foreign law, including the role of foreign law experts. While at the Supreme Court, he assisted in the important appeal of Vedanta Resources PLC v Lungowe [2019] UKSC 20 which resolved complex jurisdiction issues in a mass tort claim brought by Zambian nationals against the UK-domiciled parent company of a mining corporation.

Philippe is a member of the Personal Injuries Bar Association (PIBA).

Employment


As a pupil at 11KBW and judicial assistant at the Supreme Court, Philippe has broad experience of the full range of statutory and commercial employment matters.

While at the Supreme Court, Philippe assisted on significant appeals including:

  • Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake (pending) – on national minimum wage entitlements of home workers who are required to remain at home in their shift and of sleep-in residential care workers.
  • Egon Zehnder Ltd v Tillman [2019] UKSC 32 – the leading case on restraint of trade and the doctrine of severance of unenforceable covenants in employment contracts.
  • Williams v The Trustees of Swansea University Pension & Assurance Scheme [2018] UKSC 65 – on the meaning of “unfavourable treatment” under section 15 of the Equality Act 2010 in the context of pension entitlements for a disabled employee.

As a pupil at 11KBW, Philippe was supervised by Jane McCafferty QC and Simon Forshaw in employment matters and assisted a wide range of members of chambers. He gained experience in the following main areas:

  • Commercial employment: post-termination restraints, misuse of confidential information, bonus claw-back provisions, commission entitlements, shareholder covenants, LLP rights and conflicts of laws.
  • Statutory employment: discrimination, whistleblowing, victimisation, TUPE transfers, unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and worker status.

Notable cases as a pupil include International Petroleum Limited v Osipov [2019] IRLR 52 (CA), which is now the leading case on individual whistleblowing iability under section 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Philippe is a member of the Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA).

Environmental & Planning


Philippe has a growing interest in environmental and planning matters, in particular where they overlap with regulatory issues.

As a pupil in Chambers, relevant work included assisting Andrew Tabachnik QC in advising on the contaminated land regime under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Philippe also assisted on a number of planning, environmental and land use appeals while a judicial assistant at the Supreme Court, including:

  • London Borough of Southwark v Transport for London [2018] UKSC 63 – an important appeal on the vesting of land rights in highway authorities in highly dense urban areas.
  • R (Wright) v Resilient Energy Severndale Ltd and Forest of Dean District Council [2019] UKSC 53 – on whether community fund donations constitute a “material consideration” for the purposes of section 70(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Philippe's Practice Areas


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