Natalie Connor

Natalie is instructed across the spectrum of Chambers’ core practice areas, in particular in commercial, employment, public, and data protection/freedom of information matters. She brings her previous commercial experience as a tenant at 7KBW to bear on her growing practice in these areas, and also maintains a niche practice in shipping and insurance law (including in arbitration).

Her recent substantive work includes the following:

  • Various Claimants v Tesco. Instructed on behalf of the Claimants in this latest and potentially largest supermarket equal pay dispute in the ET, estimated to be worth up to £4bn (led by Sean Jones QC and Andrew Blake).
  • The National Executive Committee of the Labour Party v Marc Wadsworth.  Successfully represented the NEC in this high profile, three-day disciplinary case in which Mr Wadsworth was accused of directing anti-Semitic comments towards Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of Shami Chakrabarti’s report into anti-Semitism and other forms of racism within the Labour Party.  Mr Wadsworth was permanently expelled from the Party at the conclusion of the hearing, in which Natalie appeared against senior Counsel from Doughty St Chambers.
  • Coombs v The Information Commissioner (EA/2017/0166). Represented the Information Commissioner in the General Regulatory Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal in an appeal from her decision upholding the application of the section 43(2) Freedom of Information Act 2000 ‘commercial interests exemption’ to information held by one of the UK’s two main providers of the 11+ test (sole Counsel). The appeal against the Commissioner’s decision was dismissed.

Natalie also has an excellent track record on both sides of interlocutory disputes and applications for urgent interim relief in the High Court.  She usually appears against much more senior Counsel in these respects.   Recent examples include:

  • Rashid v Oil Companies International Marine Forum [2018] EWHC 659 (QB). Successfully defeated an application by the Claimant for an interim mandatory injunction (sole Counsel);
  • Bangura v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Loughborough University & Ors [2018] EWHC 154 (QB). Successfully obtained an Extended Civil Restraint Order against the Claimant on behalf of Loughborough University (sole Counsel);
  • Augusta Due SRL v Urkmez. Successfully obtained an order for committal of the Defendant to prison in respect of his company’s breach of an anti-suit injunction (led by Jawdat Khurshid).

Natalie has spent time on secondment to several top-tier London and international law firms, including Reed Smith LLP and Weightmans LLP.  Natalie takes a very personal approach to her practice and welcomes opportunities to spend time in-house with clients.

Specialisms

Commercial

Natalie regularly advises on and acts in a wide range of commercial disputes. She has recently acted in cases in the Commercial Court, the QBD, the Chancery Division and Central London County Court.

Her recent work includes:

  • Representing Zurich in British Gymnastics v Zurich Insurance Plc & Ors, a multi-party liability insurance coverage dispute, recently settled (led by Peter Macdonald-Eggers QC).
  • Successfully representing FedEx in a claim for compensation by a commercial customer which sought to challenge FedEx’s Ts and Cs.
  • Representing Caretech Plc in a range of commercial disputes, including a planning permission insurance coverage dispute, an assignment dispute and a breach of covenant claim in the QBD against a former employee.
  • An application for a worldwide freezing order in the High Court following a fraud on a bank account (sole counsel).

Company and Partnership

Examples of Natalie’s work in the Company & Partnership field include the following:

  • AA Com Ltd (in liquidation) v HMRC. Natalie successfully represented the Claimant company and its sole director in an application to stay the company’s winding up by the Official Receiver pending an appeal of the majority of the underlying petition debt (made up of huge liabilities for VAT) to the First Tier Tax Tribunal.
  • Led by Julian Wilson, Natalie represents the majority shareholders in an unfair prejudice petition brought by minority shareholders and related Part 8 partnership dissolution proceedings.
  • Natalie has advised on various matters arising out of the insolvency of OW Bunkers.
  • Natalie regularly appearing in the Companies Court on winding up petitions and applications for late registration of charges.

Mediation and Arbitration

At 7KBW, Natalie carved out a particular specialism in shipping law. Her recent arbitral work in that context (largely under the LMAA rules) and others (including under the LCIA, ICC and GAFTA rules) includes:

  • Successfully representing respondent ship managers in a complex negligence claim and counterclaim for breach of contract. The case involved significant expert forensic accountancy evidence (sole counsel).
  • Successfully representing charterers in a chain in respect of appeals brought under ss. 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Representing Respondent Charterers in a claim by Owners in respect of damage caused by fire in a cargo of direct reduced iron (DRI). The case concerned apportionment of liability under the Inter-Club Agreement (led by Charles Priday).
  • Acting (as sole counsel) in one of the first safe port disputes concerning the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Procurement & State Aid

Natalie’s recent procurement experience is as follows:

  • She has advised local councils on compliance with The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 during large procurement processes, as well as on issues arising out of Memoranda of Understanding with other public entities as part of these processes.
  • Natalie has also recently advised the successful tenderer for transport services at a London airport on the potential private law remedies available in circumstances where the displaced former service-provider had been allowed to continue providing transport services to the airport pending the conclusion of a competition claim (alleging breach of dominant position) brought against the airport.

Professional Discipline & Regulatory Law

Natalie currently represents the Oil Companies International Marine Forum in a test case in the QBD regarding the fairness of its disciplinary procedures applicable to accredited ship inspectors on its SIRE programme. She successfully defeated an application by the Claimant for an interim mandatory injunction restoring his accreditation pending trial.

Natalie also sits on the interview panel for appointments to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountant’s Professional Conduct Committees.

Public

Much of Natalie’s work contains a public law (and sometimes human rights) element. She acts for and against public bodies in a variety of Judicial Review proceedings.

Natalie also recently advised in relation to various public bodies’ obligations regarding the implementation of hostile vehicle mitigation measures (HVMs) on London bridges following the recent terror attacks in Westminster and London Bridge.

Employment

Natalie spends roughly half her time engaged on employment law matters, at both Tribunal and High Court level. She regularly appears in the ET as sole counsel on unfair dismissal, discrimination, victimisation and harassment claims, as well as in matters involving slightly more niche areas of employment law, including whistleblowing, associative disability discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments.

Her recent cases include:

  • Kidd v Wates Living Space 2302180/2017: Successfully represented the Respondent in a 3-day hearing of a claim for race discrimination, age and race-related harassment and victimisation.
  • Courtnell v London and South Eastern Railway Limited 2302444/2017: Successfully represented the Respondent in a claim for unfair and wrongful dismissal.
  • Walton-Evans v Marks & Spencer Plc 2401657/2017: Successfully represented the Claimant in a hearing to establish that she was disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.

Natalie is also instructed as junior counsel on a number of employment-related High Court matters, including breach of covenant cases and unfair dismissal / breach of contract claims brought by senior commercial directors and managers in the banking, insurance and utilities sectors.

Natalie is currently instructed for the Claimants in the latest (and potentially largest) supermarket equal pay dispute against Tesco (led by Sean Jones QC and Andrew Blake).

Media and Data Privacy

Natalie is currently representing the Information Commissioner in the First Tier Tribunal on a number of challenges to her decisions under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

She also represents the Labour Party on data protection issues. She recently succeeded in defeating an application against the Party for disclosure of confidential third party data in Greenstein v Iain McNicol.

Natalie advises a range of commercial clients on their obligations under the new GDPR regime.

Most recently, Natalie represented Loughborough University in Bangura v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Loughborough University & ors [2018] EWHC 154 (QB) in its successful defence of an application by the Claimant for permission to appeal against a decision of HHJ Hampton dismissing his claims for breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and wrongful arrest in connection with a series of sexual assaults which took place on the University’s campus in 2010.  She also obtained an Extended Civil Restraint Order in the Defendants’ favour.

Tax Litigation

Natalie is instructed by taxpayers on a range of matters, including appeals of WOWGR license revocations, AWRS registration scheme refusals and VAT assessments. She also advises in connection with VAT de-registrations arising out of these issues.

Natalie currently represents a number of claimants in condemnation proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court in relation to goods unlawfully seized by Border Force.

Local Government

Natalie acts for Councils on a range of matters, including most recently:

  • Sotello v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Natalie is defending a claim for malicious prosecution in connection with the Council’s elective home education policy.
  • Natalie represents Newham Council on claims for unpaid care home fees.
  • Natalie recently advised a different London Borough Council on its commercial obligations under a contract concerning public art installations.

Education

2012: BA in Law, University of Nottingham (First Class, top of year)

2014: BPTC, College of Law, Bloomsbury (Outstanding, top student in call)

Awards

Lincoln’s Inn Buchanan Prize (2014)

The University of Law Platinum Award (2013)

Lincoln’s Inn Lord Denning Scholarship and Hardwicke Entrance Award (2013)

The University of Nottingham Prize in Law (2012)

The University of Nottingham Law Graduate’s Association Prize for the best graduating student (2012)

The Elizabeth and JD Marsden Prize (2012)

The Sultan Azlan Shah Prize (2012)

Highest mark ever awarded in Corporate Insolvency Law (2012)

TargetJobs Law Undergraduate of the Year Award, finalist (2012)

The Nottingham Advantage Award (2011)

The JC Smith Prize in Criminal Law (2011)

The Shoosmiths Prize (2011)

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Regulatory Information

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Professional title: Barrister

Full name (as registered with Bar Standards Board of England and Wales): Natalie Connor

VAT Number: GB 218864187

Legal Status: Sole Practitioner

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