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Colleen Hanley

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

Colleen has been a tenant barrister at 20 Essex St since 2003 and is well known for her practice across a broad range of commercial law including shipping, commodities and international arbitration. She appears regularly before the Commercial Court and arbitration tribunals in disputes involving the international sale of goods, charter party construction, cargo claims and jurisdictional issues. She often advises and acts for shipowners' defence clubs and is happy to accept direct instructions. She has acted for some of the world's largest commodity traders in sale of goods disputes and has specific experience in oil and gas disputes. Colleen is a recommended junior in the Legal 500 and in 2007 she was named by The Times online as one of 10 "Future Stars of the Bar".

In addition to her commercial law practice, Colleen also has considerable expertise in both UK and European Competition law. In 2008-2009 Colleen was the Principal Legal Adviser at OFGEM (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) with responsibility for all competition law matters as well as general public and regulatory law issues.

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

Colleen is a member of the LCIA and Arbitration Ireland. Since 2016 she has accepted regular LCIA appointments as an arbitrator (on a panel, several as sole and recently as chair). She is also a Supporting Member of the LMAA.


  • Commercial law
  • International Arbitration
  • Shipping
  • EU and UK competition law


Commercial Law and Arbitration

In her most 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

  • Acted in a very high value seaworthiness SIAC claim listed for two weeks in Hong Kong (recently settled). 
  • Successfully obtained judgment in an LCIA arbitration hearing for a major Swiss based commodities trading company against a South African mining entity.
  • Successfully obtained judgment in the Commercial Court on all issues for a large Swiss commodities trader against a West African based oil company.
  • At present advising one of the world's largest shipowners on a substantial charterparty dispute.
  • At present acting 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: 

BA Jurisprudence (Law with German law) (1st Class) Oxford University, Somerville College (double first). Achieved the second highest first in the Oxford law year and appointed proxime accesit to the Martin Wronker Prize. Awarded the Mary Somerville prize and appointed a Coombs Scholar by Somerville College.

LLM (Masters in laws) in European, International and Comparative law awarded by European University Institute Florence, Italy.

Zertifikat in German law awarded by University of Munich ("Eins" the highest possible grade).


Regular author of case notes and updates for Lexis Nexis online.

Common Market Law Review (2017) A Review of Ioannis Lianos, Peter Davis, and Paolisa Nebbia, 'Damages Claims for the Infringement of EU Competition Law' CML Rev 2017 Vol.54 Issue 1.

'The "Right to Damages" under EU Competition Law. From Courage v Crehan to the White Paper and Beyond by Veljko Milutinovic. A review' (2013) 50 Common Market Law Review, Issue 2, pp. 659-660

'House of Lords, judgment of 19 July 2006, Inntrepreneur Pub Co (CPC) and others v Crehan, [2006] UKHL 38; the abandonment of deference' (2007) Common Market Law Review 44(3), 817-836

'The Relationship between European Community Law and National Law: The Cases Volume 2, by Andrew Oppenheimer; A review' (2004) Yearbook of European Law 23(1) 440

'Avoiding the issue: the Commission and human rights conditionality in public procurement' (2002) European Law Review, 27(6), 714-735

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.


Legal 500 2017: "She is extremely efficient, hands-on, sharp and always a pleasure to work with."

Legal 500 2014: "She combines her expertise in EU and competition law with strength in commercial litigation."

Legal 500 2012: "Recommended juniors include...Colleen Hanley."

Legal 500 2011: "Colleen a leading junior".

Legal 500 2010: "Of the juniors, Colleen Hanley is the pick of the bunch, having appeared in the credit card interchange fee case before the CAT."

Chambers and Partners 2009: "The 'young and talented' Colleen Hanley is receiving growing respect...for her grasp of EU and competition law, especially in the private enforcement sector. She acted as the legal adviser to the Sportech/Vernons Football Pools merger inquiry referred to the Competition Commission."

Chambers and Partners 2008: "Clients consider that 'very able young junior' Colleen Hanley is establishing a real presence, particularly in private enforcement work. She recently supported Stephen Morris QC in acting for Visa before the House of Lords."

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