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Colleen Hanley

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

Colleen 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, charterparty construction, cargo claims and jurisdictional issues. She regularly advises and acts for shipowners' defence clubs and is happy to accept direct instructions. She has also acted for some of the world's largest commodity traders in sale of goods disputes. She also has experience advising in superyacht disputes. She has been recommended in the Legal 500 and in 2007 she was named by The Times online as one of 10 "Future Stars of the Bar" in the areas of competition, commercial and shipping law. She was called to the Bar of Ireland in 2017.

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 appointed as a Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel) in 2010. She has since advised several government bodies including the OFT, the Competition Commission (both now the CMA) and OFGEM.

Colleen is a member of the LCIA and Arbitration Ireland and has accepted several appointments as an arbitrator. She is also a Supporting Member of the LMAA.


  • Commercial law and arbitration law
  • Shipping
  • EU and UK competition law


Commercial Law and Arbitration

In her most recent appearances before the Commercial Court Colleen has successfully obtained several anti-suit injunctions and has acted in a 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 (most recently the LMAA and the LCIA) and has also 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 major 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 dispute.

She acted as the main Legal Adviser to the Sportech/Vernons Football Pools merger inquiry referred to the Competition Commission (Final Report published 11 October 2007). Colleen acted on behalf of Visa in 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 shipping related international arbitration listed for two weeks in Hong Kong (recently settled). 

At present advising one of the world's largest shipowners on a major ship-building/refitting dispute and separately on a substantial charterparty dispute.

At present advising a global cargo damage recovery firm in several on-going disputes.

At present advising several international commodity traders in on-going sale disputes.

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.

Atos Consulting Ltd v Avis Plc Queen's Bench Division (Technology & Construction Court) [2007] EWHC 323 (TCC);

[2008] Bus. L.R. D20;

The "Mariana" [2005] 1 Lloyd's Rep 640

Instructed in the mv Probo Koala toxic waste incident in the Côte d'Ivoire.

Competition and European Law

February - December 2008: Colleen advised the OFT in the Scottish Milk Article 81 investigation (case closed October 2008) and in the separate on-going Dairy Milk Price Initiative Article 81 investigation;

Inntrepreneur Pub Company and others v Crehan [2006] UKHL 38, overturning Court of Appeal decision [2004]

EWCA Civ 637. Colleen acted as junior counsel for Visa International Services Association in an intervening application before the House of Lords.

May - October 2007: Colleen acted as the main Legal Adviser to the Sportech/Vernons Football Pools merger inquiry referred to the Competition Commission (Final Report published 11 October 2007).

Mastercard International Inc and Mastercard Europe SPRL v The Office of Fair Trading. Colleen 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 Law

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)

During 2004-2005 Colleen was seconded to work in-house with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Geneva, 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).


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. In addition Colleen worked as a 'Visiting Fellow' on Capitol Hill where she was seconded to the staff teams of a prominent senator and a well-known congressman. She observed at first-hand the work of several Senate and House Committees and retains a strong interest in US politics. 


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 Hanley.... is 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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