Daniel Isenberg

Daniel’s practice spans Chambers’ core areas of work, with a particular focus on commercial, business protection and public (including public international) law matters.

His recent cases include Stobart Group Ltd v Tinkler [2019] EWHC 258 (Comm), concerning the prominent boardroom dispute at the FTSE 500 company; Abramovich v Hoffmann (High Court, Ch. D), a high-profile, high-value breach of duties and tax restitution claim; and he is currently acting in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury regarding the legality of financial sanctions placed on the Iranian bank.

Daniel was previously the Judicial Assistant to Lord Sumption and Lord Carnwath at the Supreme Court, assisting the Justices on a number of the leading and high-profile cases across Chambers’ areas of practice. Before coming to the Bar he was a fast-streamer at the Ministry of Defence.

Specialisms

Public & Human Rights

Daniel acted for the successful defendants in R (EU Lotto Ltd and others) v Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport [2019] 1 CMLR 41, an EU law challenge to the ban on betting on non-UK Euromillions lotteries; and R (MP) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2018] EWHC [3392] (Admin), consultation- and PSED-based challenges to reforms to the regime for charging ‘overseas visitors’ for NHS services.

With his background at the Ministry of Defence, Daniel has particular experience and expertise in defence and national security matters. He was the Deputy Executive Editor (Print) of the Harvard National Security Journal and has acted as a researcher for the then-Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC.

In the national security field, Daniel is currently acting for the Government in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury concerning the bank’s original damages claim, as well as its challenge to subsequent sanctions orders.  He has been involved in L1 v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1410, concerning whether the exercise of the power to deport and exclude an individual while he was out of the country was an abuse of power (as a pupil, assisting Martin Chamberlain QC); and Belhaj v Straw [2017] UKSC 3, regarding the application of the ‘foreign act of state’ doctrine (as a judicial assistant).

Daniel has also developed significant experience in relation to historical claims in the defence and national security context, including:

  • Sophocleous v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2018] EWHC 19 (QB), raising conflict of laws and limitation issues in respect of events in Cyprus in the 1950s (as a pupil, assisting Martin Chamberlain QC).
  • Kenya Emergency Group Litigation, instructed through the GLD’s ‘junior junior’ scheme.
  • Advising the UK Government on issues relating to detention in Northern Ireland during the Troubles (as a pupil, assisting Julian Blake).

During his time as a judicial assistant, Daniel worked on the leading constitutional cases before the Supreme Court, including R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5, regarding the Government’s ability to notify the EU of the UK’s withdrawal under Article 50 TFEU without Parliamentary approval.

He regularly acts on behalf of local authorities, and has a particular specialism on issues arising out of local government reorganisation.

Daniel is also familiar with a range of aspects of data and information law. He has been instructed on matters in relation to the subject access regime under the Data Protection Act, and regularly acts for the Information Commissioner on FOIA appeals.

Public International Law

Daniel is experienced in a wide range of complex issues of public international law, with a particular expertise and interest in questions of immunities and privileges (especially under the VCDR). He is currently instructed as sole counsel on behalf of a foreign state in relation to issues of state immunity.

He has been involved in most of the leading recent cases on questions of immunity, including:

  • Reyes v Al-Malki [2017] UKSC 61, concerning the application of the ‘commercial activity’ exception under Article 31(1)(c) of the VCDR to allegations of trafficking (as a judicial assistant).
  • R (Bancoult No. 3) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2018] UKSC 3, about the admissibility of a ‘Wikileaks’ cable under the VCDR (as a judicial assistant).
  • Al-Juffali v Estrada [2016] EWCA Civ 176, concerning the immunity of a permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation and whether the court can ‘look behind’ his status (as a pupil, assisting Martin Chamberlain QC).
  • Benkharbouche v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2017] UKSC 62, regarding the compatibility of provisions of the State Immunity Act 1978 with the ECHR and EU Charter, and their basis in customary international law (as a judicial assistant).
  • R (Freedom and Justice Party) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs[2018] (CA, judgment pending), concerning the existence of ‘special missions immunity’ under customary international law (as a pupil, assisting Karen Steyn QC).

Daniel has worked on further PIL matters, including Al-Waheed v Ministry of Defence [2017] UKSC 2 on the power under international law to detain in a non-international armed conflict (as a judicial assistant); as well as during his time as a ‘Foreign Law Clerk’ at the Supreme Court of Israel.

Commercial

Daniel accepts instructions (both led and unled) in all areas of commercial dispute resolution. He has particular experience in claims relating to breach of directors’/fiduciary duties and boardroom disputes.

Recent High Court instructions include Stobart Group Ltd v Tinkler [2019] EWHC 258 (Comm), concerning an executive director’s breach of his fiduciary and contractual duties; as well as Abramovich v Hoffmann, a high-profile claim for breaches of fiduciary and contractual duties, and for restitution of tax liability paid to HMRC.

He advises on claims with an international element, including in relation to applicable law and jurisdiction.

Daniel’s significant experience of heavyweight commercial litigation spans a range of industries and further includes:

  • Libyan Investment Authority v Goldman Sachs International [2016] EWHC 2530 (Ch), a $1.2bn undue influence and unconscionable bargain claim – one of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016 (as a pupil, assisting Roger Masefield QC).
  • Lowick Rose LLP v Swynson Ltd [2017] UKSC 32, a £16m claim raising issues of subrogation/unjust enrichment, transferred loss, and the doctrine of res inter alios acta (as a pupil, assisting Mark Howard QC).
  • Lehman Brothers Waterfall Litigation [2017] UKSC 38, proceedings to determine claims in relation to the estimated £8 billion surplus arising in the estate of Lehman Brothers International (as a judicial assistant).
  • Hinduja Automotives v BMW, a multi-million pound claim for a breach of a contractual indemnity (as a pupil, assisting Gerard Rothschild).
  • Advising on the enforceability of restrictive covenants and injunctive relief (as a pupil, assisting Julian Wilson).

He is currently instructed as sole counsel in various commercial claims, in both the High Court and County Court.

Employment

Daniel has built up experience on a range of employment matters, including claims under the Equality Act, unfair dismissal, minimum wage, working time and redundancy-related claims. He regularly appears as sole counsel before the Employment Tribunal, including in multi-day trials.

As a judicial assistant, Daniel drafted submissions to the Privy Council in place of the absent Respondent in University of Technology, Jamaica v Industrial Disputes Tribunal [2017] UKPC 22 (see para 2), about whether the Industrial Disputes Tribunal was entitled to take into account matters of which the employer was unaware at the time of the dismissal.

Daniel is well-grounded in equality and discrimination law following his involvement in:

  • Essop v Home Office, Naeem v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] UKSC 27, concerning whether in an indirect discrimination claim there is a need to establish why a provision, criterion or practice causes individuals with a protected characteristic particular disadvantage (as a judicial assistant).
  • X v Y LLP, on the territorial jurisdiction of the Equality Act 2010, as it applies to overseas members of UK solicitors’ firms (as a pupil, assisting Daniel Stilitz QC).
  • R (Harvey) v London Borough of Hackney, a discrimination claim under Article 14 ECHR in respect of survivor benefits for non-married cohabitees under the Local Government Pension Scheme (as a pupil, assisting Patrick Halliday).

Beyond Harvey, Daniel has gained experience in further pension-related matters, including Barrow v Attorney General of St Lucia [2016] UKPC 38, concerning judges’ pensions in St Lucia (as a judicial assistant).

His employment law experience also includes Hallett v Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWHC 796 (QB), a widely-publicised case of national importance on the construction of junior doctors’ contracts and the method of calculating compliance with natural break requirements (as a pupil, assisting Richard Leiper QC and Joseph Barrett).

European/Competition

Daniel has broad-ranging experience with questions of EU and competition law, including acting for the successful Secretary of State in R (EU Lotto Ltd and others) v Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport [2019] 1 CMLR 41, (a claim brought under Article 56 TFEU). He has also advised on the compatibility of draft primary legislation with EU fundamental freedoms.

As a judicial assistant he was involved in R (HC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2017] UKSC 73, regarding the right of Zambrano carers and their children to social security benefits.  As a pupil, he has advised in relation to the European Basic Safety Standards Regulation (assisting Martin Chamberlain QC); and was involved in Accord Healthcare Ltd v Astellas Pharma GmbH [2015] EWHC 3676 (Ch), concerning marketing authorisations for medicinal products under Directive 2001/83/EC (assisting Gerard Rothschild).

During pupillage he was also involved in a range of competition law matters:

  • Société Coopérative de Production SeaFrance SA v Competition and Markets Authority [2015] UKSC 75, concerning the application of the merger control provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 to dormant/insolvent companies (assisting Gerard Rothschild).
  • R (Speed Medical Examination Services Ltd) v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 3585 (Admin), a competition law challenge to reforms to the commission of medical reports in soft tissue whiplash claims (assisting Gerard Rothschild).
  • Claims against banks concerning manipulation of the foreign exchange market (assisting Gerard Rothschild).

Education

BA History, University of Cambridge, Pembroke College – Double First Class

Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), City University, London – Distinction (top of year)

Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), City University, London – Outstanding

LL.M., Harvard Law School (Frank Knox Memorial Fellow)

Awards

Scholarships and fellowships:

  • Phoenicia Scholarship (Bar European Group), 2016
  • Wyndham Deedes Memorial Scholarship for Clerkship at the Supreme Court of Israel, 2015
  • Student Fellowship at the Project on the Foundations of Private Law (Harvard Law School), 2014-15
  • Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship (Harvard University), 2014-15
  • Conference Scholarship (ALBA), 2013
  • Excellence Award Scholarship for BPTC (City University, London), 2013
  • Queen Mother’s Scholarships for GDL and BPTC (Middle Temple), 2012, 2013
  • Foundation Scholarship (Pembroke College, Cambridge), 2009, 2010

Other awards and prizes: 

  • Certificate of Honour for BPTC results (Middle Temple), 2014
  • HRLA Judicial Review Competition – 2nd Place, 2014
  • 3 Verulam Buildings Prize for Best GDL Performance (City University, London), 2013
  • Excellence Prize for Highest Mark for an Intending Barrister (City University, London), 2013
  • City GDL Mooting Competition – Winner, 2013
  • UK Supreme Court Blog Essay Competition – Winner, 2013
  • Certificate in Intelligence Studies (King’s College, London), 2012
  • Brian Riley Declamation Prize (Pembroke College, Cambridge), 2009
  • Various College Prizes (Pembroke College, Cambridge), 2008-10

Other

Prior to becoming a barrister Daniel spent two years as a desk officer in the fast-stream at the Ministry of Defence. He worked on various national and international security matters, including the defence effort for the London 2012 Olympics.

Daniel has also previously spent time as a ‘Foreign Law Clerk’ to Justice Hanan Melcer at the Supreme Court of Israel; volunteered as a student attorney at the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project; and regularly contributed to the UK Human Rights Blog.

When he can, Daniel enjoys competitive ballroom and Latin dancing; he (less frequently) brews his own cider; and (even less frequently) officiates at rugby matches as an RFU-certified referee. He is also a listening volunteer at the Samaritans.

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Professional title: Barrister

Full name (as registered with Bar Standards Board of England and Wales): Daniel Isenberg

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