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Akhlaq Choudhury QC
Areas of Practice
Joseph Barrett and Akhlaq Choudhury QC defeat Transport for London (“TfL”) ‘Ghost Station’ procurement challengeRead More
Two-tier criminal legal aid contracting abandonedRead More
Local Authority Conference 2016 - Public Sector Exit and Employment UpdateRead More
Spotlight on International Arbitration as a Means of Settling Disputes Arising from Climate ChangeRead More
11KBW listed in Labour & Employment and Public Procurement in this year’s Who’s Who LegalRead More
Jonathan Swift QC, Karen Steyn QC and Akhlaq Choudhury QC Appointed as Deputy High Court JudgesRead More
State surveillance - Is the legal system fit for purpose? (11KBW Information Law Conference 2015)Read More
Akhlaq Choudhury QC
Akhlaq is a specialist in commercial, employment, procurement, information and public law. He took silk in 2015 and is ranked as a leading barrister across many of his areas of practice. Before taking silk he was a member of the Attorney General’s A-Panel for civil litigation. He was appointed a Recorder on the SE Circuit in 2009 and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2016.
What others say about Akhlaq
Legal 500 (2016) – Ranked in Employment, Public, Data Protection and Procurement
"An all-round excellent barrister; he is thorough in his approach and hugely knowledgeable, and finds solutions"
"Undoubtedly one of the best advocates at the Bar"
“He knows his stuff and gets results”
Chambers UK (2015) – Ranked in Employment and Data Protection
“He's very easy to work with and always an integral part of the team. He will go out of his way to help."
"A very good advocate who gets good results for clients, and is very sensitive to clients' needs."
"He picks things up really quickly, provides straightforward, clear advice and is very calm."
Other directory comments:
"His advocacy is outstanding."; "Akhlaq is gifted. He was helpful and made himself available when we needed him."; "Clients love Akhlaq Choudhury’s approachability, and his calm and unassuming style. He is totally unflappable and very solution-focused."; "Effortlessly combines his technical and commercial acumen with great interpersonal skills."; "Really client friendly and inspires confidence with his excellent legal analysis and persuasive advocacy."; "An approachable lawyer with a brilliant mind", he "gets results where others wouldn’t due to his ability to keep a cool head in heated situations."; "He is "a choice advocate for public authority work" with the "ability to translate complex issues into layman’s terms".
COMMERCIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION
"Effortlessly combines his technical and commercial acumen with great interpersonal skills." Akhlaq has a broad-based commercial practice that includes contractual claims (particularly those between public and private entities), partnership, LLP and shareholder disputes, conflict of laws, arbitration and breach of confidence. He is a specialist in obtaining and resisting injunctions and interim relief (including search and freezing orders) and in High Court trial work. Clients include banks, insurance companies, private equity houses, interdealer brokers, MNCs, overseas companies (including CIS-based entities), public authorities, overseas governments and HNW individuals. Recent work in 2014 and 2015 has included successfully defending a leading private equity house against a claim for damages on a loss of chance basis under a shareholders’ agreement; obtaining damages in a bonus claim arising out of one of the largest ($US50bn) mergers in corporate history; and resisting claims for breach of fiduciary duties and breach of confidence arising from the setting up of a rival company in the green/recycling sector. His science background - Akhlaq has a degree in physics - means that he is often sought after for cases requiring a good understanding of highly complex technology or engineering. Recent work of this nature has included acting for an American online service provider seeking to protect its proprietary software and secret data collection algorithms against disclosure in breach of confidence.
Employment and Business Protection
Akhlaq is consistently recommended as a leading employment barrister. He acts for banks, interdealer brokers, insurance and other financial institutions, law firms, local and health authorities, government departments, corporations, trade unions and police authorities as well as individuals. A specialist in injunctions and an excellent trial lawyer, he is known for his presentation skills and tactical experience in achieving the best result for clients whether it is a bonus or team move case in QB or a lengthy discrimination or whistleblowing case in the Tribunal. Recent cases have included Elliston v Glencore Services  EWHC 3431, a bonus claim arising out of one of the largest mergers in corporate history, and Reuse v Sendall  IRLR 226 a case determining that restrictive covenants introduced mid-employment need to be supported by consideration. Equally adept at appellate work, his recent cases include Timothy James Consulting v Wilton  IRLR 368 , the leading authority on the taxation of injury to feelings awards, and Esparon v Slavikovska  IRLR 598, which dealt with minimum wage entitlements for night workers in care homes.
Akhlaq is a procurement law specialist and has quickly established himself in this developing field. Clients range from Government Departments and other public authorities through to some of the biggest firms and contractors in the UK. He has particular experience of automatic suspension and injunction applications in relation to procurement exercises and acted for the successful contractor in the first Court of Appeal case to consider the automatic suspension (DWF v Insolvency Service  EWCA Civ 900). Large scale procurements and framework agreements (e.g B2Net v HM Treasury (t/a Buying Solutions)  Eu.L.R. 471 – framework valued at several billion pounds) are another feature of his practice as are cases raising potential state aid issues. Akhlaq is currently representing several law firms in ongoing challenges to the procurement of Duty Crime Contracts by the Legal Aid Agency.
A well-established information law specialist, Akhlaq has already appeared in several landmark decisions including the ‘MPs’ Expenses’ case (House of Commons v Information Commissioner  3 All E.R. 403), the first Environmental Information Regulations 2004 case to reach the Supreme Court (OFCOM v Information Commissioner  UKSC 3) and the "Climategate" case on when information is held by an authority (Keiller v University of East Anglia  1 Info L.R. 128). He is regularly instructed by Government Departments, other public authorities, individuals and UK and overseas companies on FOIA, EIR, DPA and RIPA matters. Recent work includes upholding the use of the vexatious request exemption under FOIA (Collins v ICO & HM Treasury EA/2014/0002), an UT appeal on the boundary between EIR and FOIA, litigation under DPA arising out of the ‘Google Spain’ decision, and advising local authorities on their data sharing and monitoring obligations in the context of historic child abuse allegations. He has also advised UK and US entities on their obligations under ‘safe harbour’ arrangements.
Public Law and Local Authority Governance
Akhlaq is consistently recommended as a leading public law barrister in the Legal 500 and has a broad-based public law practice ranging from human rights based challenges through to regulatory, environmental and governance issues. He is currently involved in several matters involving challenges to the government’s tariff scheme in respect of renewable energy. Technically complex work features in all of Akhlaq’s practice areas given his science background. Recent public law work has involved acting for a London Borough in resisting an injunction aimed at diverting the democratic process, acting for a major Political Party in a challenge to its governance of an affiliated political grouping (Jeffers v Labour Party), and acting for a local authority in a planning judicial review involving allegations of bias and examining the proper approach to screening reports (Kelton v Wiltshire County Council  EWHC 2853 (Admin)).
INTERNATIONAL AND ARBITRATION
International: Akhlaq has acted for the Governments of Australia, Malaysia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Falkland Islands as well as local firms in Hong Kong in matters involving issues of State Immunity, public international law, cross-border employment disputes and the interpretation of local legislation. He has particular expertise in the sensitive areas of disclosure likely to prejudice international relations (See e.g. Campaign Against Arms Trade v Ministry of Defence and Information Commissioner  Info LR 78 concerning Memoranda of Understanding issued to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and the legality of the UK’s international development policy and activities in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is regularly asked to advise on and represent parties in disputes concerning international employment arrangements and has recently advised on the validity of doctors’ qualifications across the EU Internal Market.
Arbitration and ADR: Akhlaq is well-versed in arbitration, mediation and other non-court proceedings. He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and acted for the UK Government in a recent matter involving potential anti-suit injunction applications across various European jurisdictions. He has extensive experience of conducting internal disciplinary investigations and determining grievances and disciplinary hearings within public and private sector entities at the highest level, and is recognised for his excellence in managing these often highly-charged, sensitive and difficult processes. Other: Akhlaq has extensive experience in energy-related disputes having acted for the UK Government, Universities, the UK Information Commissioner and energy companies in matters concerning renewable energy, climate change, export trade licences and regulatory requirements. Akhlaq also has recent experience of planning disputes focusing on environmental, conservation and habitat issues.
Other Information / Appointments
In 2013, Akhlaq was appointed to the Attorney General’s A Panel of Treasury Counsel. Since taking Silk, he continues to represent various Government Departments in some of their most complex and sensitive cases.
Akhlaq is a contributor to Tolley’s Employment Handbook and to the Information Law Reports.
In 2009, he was appointed a Recorder on the SE Circuit.
In 2016, he was appointed to be a Deputy High Court Judge.
Nicolson v Grant Thornton UK LLP and London Borough of Haringey
 EWHC 710 (Admin)
Public / Judicial Review: The appointed auditor to a local authority had correctly concluded that the authority’s charges for courts costs arising out of enforcement proceedings in respect of unpaid council tax were lawful. Akhlaq represented the successful auditor.
Foxtons Ltd v Clarke
 EWHC 429 (QB)
Employment / Restrictive Covenants / Injunctions: There was a serious issue to be tried as to whether an area covenant in the context of a London estate agency was enforceable. This was notwithstanding the fact that competing activity could readily be carried on from anywhere in the world.
R (ota Frimpong) v Lord Chancellor and Crown Prosecution Service
 EWCA Crim 1933
Public / Judicial Review: Akhlaq represented the Lord Chancellor, who intervened, in this challenge to the controversial (and soon to be scrapped) Criminal Court Charge.
Department of Energy and Climate Change v Information Commissioner and Henney
 UKUT 0671 (AAC)
Information: Akhlaq represented DECC in this successful appeal dealing with whether information was “environmental” and therefore subject to the provisions of the EIR 2004.
Stewart v Barnwood Construction Ltd
UKEAT/0425/14, 11 Nov 2015
Employment: Akhlaq successfully resisted this appeal concerning a discrimination claim made in the context of offensive text messages.
Kelton v Wiltshire County Council
 EWHC 2853 (Admin)
Public / Planning / Environmental: Judicial review application involving allegations of bias and challenges to the Council’s approach to environmental impact screening reports.
Timothy James Consulting Ltd v Wilton
 ICR 764,  IRLR 368
Damages / Employment: Akhlaq represented the successful employer in what is now the leading authority on the taxation of awards for injury to feelings.
RD v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
 UKUT 235 (AAC)
Public / Social Security: Akhlaq acted for the SSWP in this appeal dealing with the validity of decisions as to capability for work where the decision-maker relied upon reports prepared by contractors.
DWF LLP v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills
 EWCA Civ 900
Procurement: Akhlaq successfully represented this major law firm (leading Joseph Barrett) in the first Court of Appeal decision to consider the automatic stay provisions.
Re-use Collections Ltd v Sendall
 EWHC 3852 (QB);  IRLR 226
Fiduciary Duties / Post-termination Restraints: Consideration necessary for post-termination restraints introduced during employment.
Elliston v Glencore Services (UK) Ltd
 EWHC 3431 (QB)
Bonuses / Variation of Terms of Employment: Akhlaq successfully represented the Claimant in seeking to recover a contractual termination payment following one of the largest mergers in corporate history.
Esparon (t/a Middle West Residential Care Home ) v Slavikovska
 ICR 1037;  IRLR 598
Employment / National Minimum Wage: Whether workers sleeping-in overnight at a care home were entitled to be paid NMW.
Allan v Wandsworth London Borough Council
 Eq LR 30
Disability discrimination -- failure to appoint to an office could not amount to detriment.
Collins v Information Commissioner & HM Treasury
EA/2014/0002, 26 November 2014
Information: Akhlaq successfully defended HM Treasury’s decision to refuse to disclose to the Margaret Thatcher Foundation the Private Office Files of Lord Howe dating from 1981 on the grounds that the request was so burdensome as to be vexatious within the meaning of s.14(1) of FOIA.
BUQ v HRE
 EWHC 774 (QB);  IRLR 653
Human Rights / Business Protection / Employment – Akhlaq successfully represented the Defendant in securing the right to bring Tribunal proceedings notwithstanding the fact that the factual basis for the proposed claim was subject to a privacy injunction.
Keiller v University of East Anglia
 1 Info LR 128
Information / Environmental: An important FTT decision on the question of when emails stored on a back-up server will be deemed to be held by the authority for FOIA purposes.
Jeffers v Labour Party
 EWHC 529 QB
Public Law: Akhlaq successfully acted for the Labour Party in this claim brought by an affiliated grouping alleging breach of constitutional rules.
Clear Edge UK Ltd v Elliot and others
 EWHC 3376 QB
Business Protection / Employment: Team move case involving issues across three European jurisdictions. Akhlaq was junior counsel in this successful application for injunctive relief brought by a major US multinational.
Galloway v Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust
 EWCA Civ 1368
Employment Law: Court of Appeal judgment in which Akhlaq successfully represented an NHS trust in resisting an appeal on the grounds of bias and procedural failures.
Humphreys v Norilsk Nickel International (UK) Ltd
 EWHC 1867 (QB);  I.R.L.R. 976
Business Protection / Employment; A high-value High Court bonus action where Akhlaq successfully represented the Russian employer.
Rudd v Eagle Place Services Ltd
 I.R.L.R. 486
Employment: One of two appeals to the EAT in this disability discrimination complaint where questions of the proper application of Malcolm v Lewisham BC and the use of Ogden tables were considered
B2Net Ltd v HM Treasury
 EWHC 51 (QB);  Eu. L.R. 471
Public Procurement: Application for an injunction to prevent conclusion of a framework agreement valued at £6bn pending determination of the legality of the contracting authority’s Pre-Qualification Questionnaire.
OFCOM v Information Commissioner
 UKSC 3;  Env. L.R. 20
A landmark decision concerning the disclosure of information relating to mobile phone mast locations and the application of the public interest test under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Akhlaq represented the Information Commissioner before the Tribunal, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme, where he was led by Clive Lewis QC (now Lewis J). The matter was referred to the CJEU (C-71/10).
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection v Home Office and Information Commissioner
 1 All ER 44
This is a significant case concerning the disclosure of licence applications made by those engaged in work involving animal experimentation, and was only the second appeal from a decision of the Commissioner (here represented by Akhlaq) to reach the Court of Appeal.
Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner and others (‘MPs’ Expenses’ case)
 EWHC 1084 (Admin);  3 All E.R. 403;  A.C.D. 71 (2008) ACD 71
Akhlaq (led by James Goudie QC) acted for the Information Commissioner in this landmark case concerning the disclosure of information relating to payments made to MPs under the parliamentary Additional Costs Allowance Scheme.
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