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Colleen Hanley

BA Jurisprudence (Hons) (Oxon), LLM (EUI), Certificate in German Law (LMU)

Colleen is recommended as a leading junior for both shipping and commodities disputes.

She specialises in commercial law with a particular focus on dry shipping, commodities and international arbitration. Colleen appears regularly before the Commercial Court and arbitration tribunals in disputes involving the international sale of goods, charterparty construction, cargo claims, energy claims and jurisdictional issues. She regularly advises and acts for shipowners' defence clubs and is happy to accept direct instructions. Colleen has acted for some of the world's largest commodity traders in sale of goods disputes and has particular expertise in oil and gas sale disputes. She has also advised in superyacht disputes. 

Colleen has worked in-house at the Nordisk Shipowners' Defence Club in Oslo, where she gained a unique understanding of the day-to-day legal issues affecting shipowners. During 2007 she worked in-house in the anti-trust department of the Washington DC office of Morgan Lewis Bockius LLP assisting in part with the marine hose dispute. Colleen also worked as a Visiting Fellow on Capitol Hill assisting the staff teams of a prominent senator and a well-known congressman.

She has considerable expertise in UK and European competition law. From 2008 to 2009 she was the Principal Legal Adviser at Ofgem with responsibility for all competition law matters, as well as advising on public and regulatory law issues. She has since advised several government bodies.

Colleen also sits regularly as an arbitrator. She is a member of the LCIA, a supporting member of the LMAA and a member of Arbitration Ireland.

She was called to the Bar of Ireland (with full rights of audience) in 2017.



Commodities and international trade
EU and competition


Commercial Law and Arbitration

In a recent appearance before the Commercial Court, Colleen successfully obtained judgment against a large West African oil company on behalf of a Swiss based trader. She has also successfully applied for several anti-suit injunctions and has recently acted in separate applications involving s. 67/68 of the Arbitration Act, freezing orders and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. She frequently appears before a range of arbitration tribunals and has acted in a number of arbitration related applications in the High Court as well as security claims. Colleen has directly advised and acted for a number of P & I Clubs. During 2005 Colleen worked as an in-house adviser at the Nordisk Shipowners' Defence Club in Oslo where she gained a unique understanding of the day to day legal issues affecting shipowners. At present she is advising and acting for one of the world's largest shipowners in a substantial on-going arbitration dispute. 

Competition and European Law

From January-September 2009 Colleen was appointed Principal Legal Adviser OFGEM (The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) with responsibility for all competition law matters as well as advising on public and regulatory law issues. During 2007 Colleen worked in-house in the anti-trust department of the Washington DC office of Morgan Lewis Bockius LLP assisting in part with the Marine Hose cartel dispute. Colleen acted on behalf of Visa in the major competition decisions Mastercard International Inc and Mastercard Europe SPRL v The Office of Fair Trading and in Inntrepreneur Pub Company and others v Crehan [2006] UKHL 38 before the House of Lords.

Principal Cases: 

Commercial Law and Arbitration

  • Currently acting in a high value charterparty chain dispute.

  • Acted in a very high value shipping related international arbitration listed for two weeks in Hong Kong. 

  • Advising one of the world's largest shipowners on a major shipbuilding/refitting dispute and separately on a substantial charterparty dispute.

  • Advising a global cargo damage recovery firm in several ongoing disputes.

  • Advising several international commodity traders in ongoing sale disputes.

  • Acted for a Singapore based energy trader in a large SIAC dispute against a Chinese based entity.

  • Acted in a major ship-pool LMAA arbitration hearing concerning assets worth over $500 million.

  • Acted in a major ship-building arbitration dispute concerning assets worth over $200 million.

Competition and European Law

  • Advised in the Scottish Milk cartel investigation and in the separate Dairy Milk Price Initiative cartel investigation.

  • Inntrepreneur Pub Company and others v Crehan [2006] UKHL 38  (acted as junior counsel for Visa International Services Association in an intervening application before the House of Lords).

  • Acted as the main Legal Adviser to the Sportech/Vernons Football Pools merger inquiry referred to the (then) Competition Commission (Final Report published 11 October 2007).

  • Acted as junior counsel for Visa International Services Association in the OFT's Competition Act investigation of Mastercard's interchange arrangements before the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal.

  • Morgan Stanley v Visa International Service Association - Junior counsel advising Visa.

Human Rights and Pro Bono work

  • Acted for the Commonwealth Lawyers Association in A and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Secretary [2005] UKHL 71 (overturning Court of Appeal decision of Laws LLJ and Pill LLJ).

  • Seconded to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Geneva for several weeks assisting the Secretariat to the Basel Convention.

Education and Career: 

University of Oxford, Somerville College: BA in Jurisprudence (Law with German Law), First Class (Proxime accesit to Martin Wronker Prize as second place in Oxford law year and appointed a Mary Somerville Scholar).

University of Munich: Zertifikat in German law, "Eins" (highest possible grade).

European University Institute Florence, Italy: LLM (Masters in laws) in European, International and Comparative Law.


Colleen has been appointed by LexisNexis as one of its regular contributing case note authors.

‘Book Review: Damages Claims for the Infringement of EU Competition Law by Ioannis Lianos, Peter Davis and Paolisa Nebbia’ (2017) 54(1) Common Market Law Review 304.

‘Book Review: The "Right to Damages" under EU Competition Law. From Courage v Crehan to the White Paper and Beyond by Veljko Milutinovic’ (2013) 50(2) Common Market Law Review 659.

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Founder member of the London Irish Lawyers Association (LILA)

Appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel) 2010

Arbitration Ireland

Supporting Member of LMAA

Lectures and Teaching: 

Appointed to a Lectureship in Roman Law by Oxford University, The Queens' College (2002-2003).

In 2007 Colleen was awarded a Pegasus Scholarship by the Inner Temple during which she was seconded to US law firm Morgan Lewis Bockius in Washington DC. She thereafter worked as a 'Visiting Fellow' on Capitol Hill where she was seconded to the staff teams of both Senator Kohl and Congressman Dave Obey of Wisconsin.


“Popular with commodity and energy traders for her experience in international trade disputes.” The Legal 500 2018
“She gives very direct advice.” The Legal 500 UK Bar 2018
"She is extremely efficient, hands-on, sharp and always a pleasure to work with." The Legal 500 UK Bar 2017
"She combines her expertise in EU and competition law with strength in commercial litigation." The Legal 500 UK Bar 2014

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