Landmark Chambers International

Charles Banner

Year of call: 2004

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Practice Summary

Charles Banner is Deputy Head of Landmark International. He was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2004 and also has rights of audience in Northern Ireland (called 2010), the Dubai International Finance Centre Courts (Part II Registered since 2015) and the Singapore International Commercial Court (Full​ Registered Foreign Lawyer since 2017).​ He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (by whom he has been awarded an Advanced Certificate in International Arbitration), an Associate Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators and an ADR Group Accredited Mediator. He is based in London but practices internationally.

Charles has a broad practice covering a wide range of areas of law, falling principally within the following sectors:

  1. Urban development, infrastructure and energy – including the planning/development consent process and all aspects of planning law, environmental and other regulation, contracts & procurement, commercial litigation & arbitration and compulsory acquisition.

  2. Government and regulation – including all aspects of public sector and state activity, administrative and constitutional law, EU law, human rights, economic sanctions, environmental law, public procurement, regulatory law and public international law (including investor-state arbitration).​

Described in Chambers & Partners UK 2016 as “a QC in all but name already”, in Legal 500 UK 2017 as “a match for any silk”, and in Planning Magazine’s Planning Law Survey 2017 as “one of the best court advocates I’ve seen”, Charles regularly acts as sole or lead counsel in complex and demanding litigation, arbitration and public inquiries, often in cases where the other parties have instructed QCs. He acts for commercial and private clients as well as NGOs and public authorities. He is a member of the UK Attorney General's A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown, in which capacity he represents the UK Government in some of its most challenging and high profile cases in the domestic courts and internationally. He regularly works with experts in other professional fields and was recently appointed an Independent Non-Executive Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' UK and Ireland Regulatory Sub-Board (effective April 2018). 

Recognition includes:

  • Top ranked junior in the planning sector (including infrastructure) in both Legal 500 UK Bar 2017 and Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2018.
  • Ranked as a leading junior by Legal 500 UK Bar 2017 and/or Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2018 in 7 other areas: administrative & public law, civil liberties & human rights, energy, environment, European law, local government and public procurement.
  • Winner of 'Environment and Planning Junior of the Year', Chambers UK Bar Awards 2017.
  • Shortlisted for ‘Real Estate, Environment and Planning Junior of the Year’, Legal 500 UK Bar Awards 2017.
  • Voted No. 1 London-based planning junior in Planning Magazine’s Planning Law Survey 2017, based on a poll of over 300 development & infrastructure industry professionals (previously voted No. 1 planning junior aged under 35 for three consecutive years, 2013-2015).​

Experience includes:

  • 90+ public inquiries and examinations into major development/infrastructure projects.
  • 100+ reported court cases.
  • 15 appeals in the UK Supreme Court / House of Lords, including 2 as sole or lead counsel.
  • 9 cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union, including 7 as sole counsel for the United Kingdom.
  • 7 cases before the UNECE Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, including 5 as sole or lead counsel.
  • 3 cases before the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Appearances before UK Parliament Select Committee Hearings on major infrastructure proposals.

His international work covers the following areas (please see the sub-headings below for more details):

  • International arbitration
  • Economic sanctions
  • Public international law and appearing in international tribunals
  • Litigation and advisory work in overseas (i.e. non-UK) jurisdictions
  • Privy Council appeals
  • Consultancy

International arbitration

Charles is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (by whom he has been awarded an Advanced Certificate in International Arbitration), an Associate Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators and an ADR Group Accredited Mediator. He is based in London but practices internationally.

He has a particular interest in arbitration of disputes involving infrastructure, energy projects, urban development and/or real estate (the sectors which are the primary focus of his award-winning UK practice), as well as investor-state arbitration (in which his expertise in disputes between the private sector and the state is of particular relevance).

In 2015 Charles was one of the speakers at a conference on Hong Kong’s new land premium arbitration scheme. He was a speaker at Landmark International’s Investment Treaty Arbitration and Real Estate conference in Hong Kong in June 2016.

Recent experience includes:

  • Arbitration proceedings concerning the interpretation of a contract concerning the maintenance and repair of the tidal defence gates at a major UK harbour (2017-ongoing).
  • Manchester Ship Canal Company v. Environment Agency [217] EWHC 1340 (QB) – concerning the interpretation of an arbitration clause in the context of a £13m contractual dispute relating to flood damage caused to the Manchester Ship Canal during the high profile, extreme Boxing Day Floods of 2015.
  • A £multi-million dispute over the interpretation of a contract for the provision of healthcare services (2017-ongoing).
  • International arbitration proceedings arising out of a high value contract for minerals exploitation in China (2016-ongoing).
  • Rent review arbitrations relating to commercial premises in Hong Kong.

Economic sanctions

Charles has a growing practice in the law relating to economic sanctions imposed by the UN, the EU and domestic law. His expertise in EU lawhuman rights and international law makes him well placed to handle the overlaps between these areas which sanctions cases regularly involve. 

He is the co-author of an influential article on the implications for the relationship between EU law and ECHR law of the litigation relating to the impoundment of an aircraft in Ireland pursuant to the EU sanctions against the former Yugoslav regime: Human rights review of State acts performed in compliance with EC law: Bosphorus Airways v. Ireland (2005) EHRLR 649.

His recent work in this field includes:

  • Acting for the United Kingdom in Case T-715/14 Rosneft & others v. European Council (EU General Court, December 2017), in which the applicants seek the annulment of various provisions of Council Decisions 2014/512/CFSP, as amended by Council Decision 2014/659/CFSP, and of Council Regulation (EU) 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the in Ukraine.
  • Acting for Her Majesty’s Treasury in R (Ezz) v. HM Treasury [2016] EWHC 1470 (Admin), relating to Council Regulation (EU) 270/2011 concerning restrictive measures directed at certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Egypt. The case related to the provision in Article 4(1)(b), which is common to all EU sanctions regulations, that funds may be released where it is determined that they are “intended exclusively for reasonable professional fees associated with the provision of legal services”.
  • Advising the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (part of HM Treasury) on issues relating to the sanctions imposed on the former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanokovych, and on other general matters of interpretation of the EU sanctions regime.

Public international law & international tribunals 

Charles has acted in numerous cases relating to the interpretation of international treaties and principles of public international law, particularly in the fields of environmental law, human rights and economic sanctions. These include:

  • Regularly acting before the UNECE Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee in Geneva (click here for a full list). He has appeared in this forum for individuals bringing communications against States Parties, for the UK Government responding to communications, and for interested parties affected by communications. Highlights include ACCC/C/2009/40 (United Kingdom) on the circumstances in which the Convention applies to the acts of private parties and ACCC/C/2014/101 (European Union) on the division of responsibility between the EU and its Member States for implementing the Convention. He is the Editor of The Aarhus Convention – A Guide for UK Lawyers (Hart Publishing, 2015), the first book to be published concerning the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the UK.
  • App. 71412/01 Behrami v France (2007) B.H.R.C. 477, on whether the European Court of Human Rights has jurisdiction to consider acts of peacekeeping forces established pursuant to a UN Security Council resolution.
  • App. 39174/15 Austin v. United Kingdom (5th October 2017), on whether communications to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee amount to an equivalent “procedure of international investigation or settlement” within the meaning of Article 35(2) ECHR, with the effect that the European Court of Human Rights does not have jurisdiction over the same subject matter.
  • R (E) v HM Treasury [2016] EWHC 1470 (Admin) on the interpretation of the international sanctions regime relating to members of the former Mubarak Government in Egypt
  • R (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence [2008] 1 A.C. 153 (HL) on the extent to which, applying principles of public international law on the responsibility of states for acts outside their physical territory, the acts of the UK occupying forces in Basra during the aftermath of the Iraq war were within the UK’s “jurisdiction” for the purposes of Article 1 ECHR.

  • R (Atamewan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] 1 W.L.R. 1959, a test case relating to the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings.

  • R (Shaheen) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2009] EWCA Civ 276 on the interpretation of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

Litigation and advisory work in overseas jurisdictions 

Charles is familiar with the legal systems in many common law jurisdictions beyond England & Wales. These include (but are not limited to):

  • The Dubai International Finance Centre Courts, where he has rights of audience as a Part II Registered Practitioner with the Dubai Academy of Law.
  • The Singapore International Commercial Court, where he has rights of audience as a Full Registered Foreign Lawyer.
  • The Eastern Caribbean states, having worked on numerous Privy Council appeals from the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal whilst on secondment as a Judicial Assistant to the Law Lords in 2005-06. He drew on this experience when subsequently undertaking consultancy work for the British Virgin Islands Government on the establishment of the BVI Commercial Court (a division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court), which opened in 2009.
  • Hong Kong, where he was based on secondment at Mayer Brown JSM in summer 2008 working on property, construction, environmental and planning litigation in the Hong Kong courts. He also spent a month working as a Judicial Assistant in the Hong Kong Court of Appeal (with Stock JA) and Court of Final Appeal (with Litton NPJ). He has given several lectures on legal issues in Hong Kong and has written for the Hong Kong Law Journal. He has recently advised a major Hong Kong landowner on environmental law issues. He is a Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators and welcomes instructions arbitrations based in or arising out of Hong Kong.
  • Northern Ireland, where he has been permanently called to the Bar since 2010. He regularly appears in the High Court of Northern Ireland and before the Northern Ireland Planning Appeals Commission. His cases often involve sensitive cross-border issues relating to the Republic of Ireland. Recent work includes acting for the Department of Environment in relation to a proposed 400kV electricity line connecting the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and Newry Chamber of Commerce v Department of Environment [2015] NIQB 65 which concerned (inter alia) the circumstances in which the Belfast Agreement requires controversial administrative decisions to be referred to the Northern Ireland Executive.

Charles welcomes instructions for advisory work, arbitration and litigation in these and other common law jurisdictions. Where ad hoc call to the local bar is required, he is happy to undertake the administrative work relating to this on a no cost basis. 

Privy Council appeals

Charles worked on numerous Privy Council appeals from the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal and other common law jurisdictions whilst on secondment as a Judicial Assistant to the Law Lords in 2005-06. These ranged from commercial and property litigation to death penalty cases raising fundamental constitutional issues. He is highly experienced in dealing with second appeals of this nature, having appeared in 15 cases before the UK Supreme Court and House of Lords Appellate Committee (click here for full details)

Consultancy

Prior to becoming a barrister Charles worked in strategy consultancy at SMT Consulting (now part of the Cello Group) and as a Research Fellow at the think tank Policy Exchange, experiences which he is now able to draw upon when undertaking legal consultancy work both alone and in conjunction with consultancy firms, particularly in relation to constitutional and regulatory reforms where specialist legal expertise can add a useful perspective which mainstream consultancies may be unable to provide on their own. 

His experience in this field includes: 

  • Acting as part of a multi-disciplinary team of experts that advised the British Virgin Islands Government on the establishment of the BVI Commercial Court (a division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court) which opened in 2009.
  • Acting as an external consultant for the European Union Delegation in Cambodia in spring 2011, conducting an investigation on issues relating to the new system of land titling in Cambodia, which is partially funded by the EU.